While still in his twenties, Cyril Scott was perceived as one of the pre-eminent avant-garde musicians of his
generation. He was championed by such luminaries as Henry Wood and Thomas Beecham and his advocacy of the latest techniques briefly gave him a wide acquaintance with some of the leading musicians of the day, including Ravel and Debussy. He became known as one of the ‘Frankfurt Gang’, that group of young composers who studied at the Hoch’sche Konservatorium and included such contemporaries as Roger Quilter, Norman O’Neill and Percy Grainger. After the First World War, however, he found himself increasingly at odds with the prevailing idioms of the day and became persona non grata with the musical establishment, which contributed to his lack of recognition as a serious composer in subsequent decades.
Scott wrote more than two dozen substantial chamber works and although some of his early chamber music has been revived from time to time, with the exception of the Clarinet Quintet this selection receives its premiere recording.
The earliest work on the programme is Piano Trio No. 1 of 1920, but the disc significantly celebrates the chamber music composed after the Second World War, exemplifying Scott’s late style. The second Piano Trio dates from 1951 as does the one-movement Clarinet Quintet, inspired by the playing of Gervase de Payer who gave its first performance. The largest work, the Trio for Clarinet, Cello and Piano, is in three movements including a beautiful Intermezzo labelled Adagio espressivo.
The Gould Piano Trio is joined by Mia Cooper and David Adams, and by the clarinettist Robert Plane, recognized for his ‘outstanding musicianship’ (The Musical Times).