Cyril Scott: Complete Piano Music, Vol. 4: 1898-1963

Cyril Scott: Complete Piano Music, Vol. 4: 1898-1963

by Leslie De'Ath
     
 

Composer Cyril Scott went to his grave believing his propensity in creating characteristic miniatures was his "undoing." Pianist Leslie De'Ath's retrospective of such short pieces, Cyril Scott: Complete Piano Music, Vol. 4 -- Piano Works 1898-1963 demonstrates that if such was the case, that it wasn't anything stemming from the quality of the music --…  See more details below

Overview

Composer Cyril Scott went to his grave believing his propensity in creating characteristic miniatures was his "undoing." Pianist Leslie De'Ath's retrospective of such short pieces, Cyril Scott: Complete Piano Music, Vol. 4 -- Piano Works 1898-1963 demonstrates that if such was the case, that it wasn't anything stemming from the quality of the music -- throughout it is charming, engaging, and highly revelatory of Scott's place in the scheme of early twentieth century music. Often hidden behind "frivolous" titles are pieces that paradoxically contradict, transcend, and yet belong to the expected piano milieu of the first decade of the twentieth century -- in a way it depends if you use MacDowell or Debussy as the yardstick by which you measure such things. Debussy obviously had a strong impact on Scott's musical thinking -- no surprise for someone who knows even a little of his music -- but by 1904's "Chinese Serenade" Scott had already fully assimilated Debussy's sound and was pushing into another direction. What Scott would have had in common with MacDowell was his German conservatory training and interest in pictorialism, which, like MacDowell's, went beyond the merely quaint into an area of music making that is analogous to great sketch art or watercolor painting. Scott's use of harmony is unique and can be deceptively elliptical in effect; check out the odd modal substitutions and subtle use of secundal chords in "Twilight Bells." While some of Scott's pieces here hearken back to period parlour piano music, most don't -- they demonstrate a master tinkerer at work, a composer who took his interest in the occult and created an arcane, eldritch musical language to go along with it. Some titles do hint at this -- "Summerland" is a place in occult lore where one goes to sum up one's life before moving onto the next. What could have Scott been thinking with a title like "Danse élégiaque"; "a dance in the form of an elegy, namely a funeral song"? Even in pieces where Scott's harmonic language is more conservative, he never dissolves into purely mawkish sentimentalism, and the later compositions on the second disc demonstrate a deepening mastery of the pictorial, for example in his "Impressions from the Jungle Book" (1912). It's not like Scott got rich writing such things -- most were published as sheet music and disappeared nearly as quickly as published. Many of these pieces resemble jazz improvisations in their harmonic choices and musical gestures; they're just not as syncopated and don't "swing." However, sometimes they almost do, as in the "Guttersnipes' Dance" or the "Dance of the Elephants" from the Jungle Book set. Most of these things are new to recordings, and De'Ath performs them all with a sense of urgency in livelier selections and deep sensitivity in the slower ones. It is hard to imagine anyone who loves the piano not liking Cyril Scott: Complete Piano Music, Vol. 4 -- Piano Works 1898-1963 as it has so much to offer in terms of pianistic color, fresh ideas, and imagination; most should find it highly, highly enjoyable.

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Product Details

Release Date:
07/10/2007
Label:
Dutton Labs Uk
UPC:
0765387718329
catalogNumber:
7183
Rank:
308091

Tracks

  1. Chinese Serenade, for piano, Op. 39/2 (W 64)  - Cyril Scott  - Michael J. Dutton  - Leslie De'Ath
  2. Dagobah, for piano, Op. 39/1 (W 83)  - Cyril Scott  - Michael J. Dutton  - Leslie De'Ath
  3. Summerland, for piano,Op. 54 (W 361)  - Cyril Scott  - Michael J. Dutton  - Leslie De'Ath
  4. Asphodel, for piano, Op. 50/2 (W 19)  - Cyril Scott  - Michael J. Dutton  - Leslie De'Ath
  5. Serenata, for piano, Op. 67/2 (W 316)  - Cyril Scott  - Michael J. Dutton  - Leslie De'Ath
  6. Intermezzo, for piano, Op. 67/3 (W 161)  - Cyril Scott  - Michael J. Dutton  - Leslie De'Ath
  7. Frivolous Pieces (3) for piano (W124)  - Cyril Scott  - Michael J. Dutton  - Leslie De'Ath
  8. Pieces (6) for piano, Op. 4 (W 248)  - Cyril Scott  - Michael J. Dutton  - Leslie De'Ath
  9. Sketches (2) for piano, Op. 57/4-5 (W 322)  - Cyril Scott  - Michael J. Dutton  - Leslie De'Ath
  10. Suite for piano ("In the Old Style"), Op. 71/1 (W 354)  - Cyril Scott  - Michael J. Dutton  - Leslie De'Ath
  11. Danses Tristes (3) for piano, Op. 74 (W 92)  - Cyril Scott  - Michael J. Dutton  - Leslie De'Ath
  12. Scherzo, for piano, Op. 25 (W308)  - Cyril Scott  - Michael J. Dutton  - Leslie De'Ath
  13. Rondeau de concert, for piano, W 298  - Cyril Scott  - Michael J. Dutton  - Leslie De'Ath
  14. Consolation, for piano, W 80  - Cyril Scott  - Michael J. Dutton  - Leslie De'Ath
  15. Irish Reel, for piano, W 163  - Cyril Scott  - Michael J. Dutton  - Leslie De'Ath
  16. Chansonette, for piano, Op. 74/8 (W 59)  - Cyril Scott  - Michael J. Dutton  - Leslie De'Ath
  17. Impressions from The Jungle Book, for piano (W 149)  - Cyril Scott  - Michael J. Dutton  - Leslie De'Ath
  18. Over the Prairie, for piano W 233  - Cyril Scott  - Michael J. Dutton  - Leslie De'Ath
  19. Pictoral Sketch, for piano, W 247  - Cyril Scott  - Michael J. Dutton  - Leslie De'Ath
  20. Butterfly Waltz, for piano, W 54  - Cyril Scott  - Michael J. Dutton  - Leslie De'Ath
  21. Danse romantique, for piano, W 91  - Cyril Scott  - Michael J. Dutton  - Leslie De'Ath
  22. A Little Russian Suite, for piano, W 176  - Cyril Scott  - Michael J. Dutton  - Leslie De'Ath
  23. Old China (Vieux chine), suite for piano, W 403  - Cyril Scott  - Michael J. Dutton  - Leslie De'Ath
  24. Spanish dance, for piano, W 347  - Cyril Scott  - Michael J. Dutton  - Leslie De'Ath
  25. Berceuse, for piano, W 47  - Cyril Scott  - Michael J. Dutton  - Leslie De'Ath
  26. Badinage, for piano, W 30  - Cyril Scott  - Michael J. Dutton  - Leslie De'Ath
  27. Guttersnipes' Dance, for piano, W 133  - Cyril Scott  - Michael J. Dutton  - Leslie De'Ath
  28. Gavotte, for piano, W 128  - Cyril Scott  - Michael J. Dutton  - Leslie De'Ath
  29. Victorian Waltz, for piano, W 402  - Cyril Scott  - Michael J. Dutton  - Leslie De'Ath

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