CD - The Songs of Cyril Scott

A composer who writes songs arguably allows us into a very personal side of his or her character. An instrumental composition gives us access to a composer's imagination and invention as far as the composer chooses to let us see, but a song shows a composer's highly personal response to a text.
We hear how the composer reacts to another facet of creativity. We are not confined to the composer's own thoughts, and the best songs take us into a composer's creative mind. Scott's compositional style reflected the colour and richness of his ideas. The songs on this CD cover a period from his early 20s to when he was about 40. A few of Scott's songs became extraordinarily popular: they undoubtedly overshadowed the rest of his work. In many of his songs, he explored and developed his harmonic language, and set the mood and character of the text, so that the best can be explored at many levels. Some of them seem simple, but hide, as Edmund Rubbra, a composer and a student of Scott, put it, 'a good de al of artifice'. Repeated listenings allow their richness of detail to sink in, and they become more and more rewarding.
A journey into a decidedly under-explored area of Scott’s repertoire.

Cyril Scott’s songs are a decidedly under-explored area of Scott’s repertoire. A single disc such as this, which presents 24 songs, is therefore likely to interest the acquisitive and inquisitive collector of the British muse.

Scott can make a little go a long way. He gets a lot of mileage out of the oscillating chords of The Watchman but even better is the dreamy impressionism of Water-Lillies, to Scott’s own words, a kind of Monet in music. Evoking the appropriate accompaniment, Autumn’s Lute is certainly not the only setting rather obviously to draw the ear to the textual crux of a poem.

Charlotte de Rothschild is an able soprano, attentive to the lyrics and managing to deal justly with the various Scotts to be heard here – from the folklorist manqué to the full-on advanced harmonist via some whimsical moments. Adrian Farmer is a fine pianist.

MusicWeb International - June 2018
01.Pierrot and the Moon Maiden
02.Daffodils, Op. 68, No. 1
03.Spring Song
04.Don't Come in Sir, Please!, Op. 43, No. 2
05.Willows, Op. 24, No. 2
06.In A Fairy Boat, Op. 61, No. 2
07.Lovely Kind And Kindly Loving, Op. 55, No. 1
08.Scotch Lullabye, Op. 57, No. 3
09.The Watchman
10.Water-Lilies
11.Voices of Vision, Op. 24, No. 1
12.Sundown
13.Autumn's Lute
14.A Valediction, Op. 36, No. 1
15.Lullaby, Op. 57, No. 2
16.The Unforeseen, Op. 74, No. 3
17.A Lost Lost, Op. 62, No. 1
18.Night Song
19.Sorrow, Op. 36, No. 2
20.Love's Aftermath
21.Looking Back
22.Meditation
23.An Old Song Ended
24.The Valley of Silence, Op. 72, No. 4

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The Songs of Cyril Scott

A composer who writes songs arguably allows us into a very personal side of his or her character. An instrumental composition gives us access to a composer's imagination and invention as far as the composer chooses to let us see, but a song shows a composer's highly personal response to a text.

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