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Scott - String Quartets 1, 2 & 4

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Scott - String Quartets 1, 2 & 4 + Scott: Chamber Works (Piano Trios Nos.172/ Clarinet Quintet & Trio/ Cornish Boat Song)
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Product details

  • Composer: Cyril Scott
  • Audio CD (13 July 2004)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Epoch
  • ASIN: B0001RBFJW
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 117,293 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Dr. Richard M. Price on 30 Mar 2004
In the decade before the First World War Cyril Scott was the first English composer since Dunstable in the fifteenth century to gain a reputation on the continent for being at the forefront of musical progress. The trouble with this is that what appears bold and original to one generation sounds old hat to the next, particularly in a century of such rapidly changing fashions as the one just ended. As early as the 1930s Scott, with his revelling in impressionist harmony, was written off as a back number, and attempts since then to revive interest in his music have been spasmodic and ineffective. The present recording deserves, however, some measure of success. In the quality and representativeness of the works chosen, and in assurance of performance, this is the most important Scott recording since the Lyrita LPs of his piano concertos with John Ogdon and the LPO back in the 1970s. It also complements nicely the earlier Dutton CD of his chamber music, which included the Piano Quartet of 1899 and the Piano Quintet of 1911/2: the three quartets on this new disc date to 1918, 1948-51, and 1965.
The First Quartet, written at the height of Scott's fame, shows an advance over the Quintet in coherence of form, lightness of touch, and variety of harmony. The delightful Scherzo is a straight imitation of Grainger, while in the other movements the dominant influence is Ravel; the harmony, however, remains distinctive in its exotic preciosity. The writing often makes unreasonable demands on the players (more so than in the later quartets); the Archaeus Quartet cope with impressive bravura, and one can scarcely blame them for not quite achieving in the coda of the final movement the serenity that Scott intended.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Camberwick Green is Puppets on 7 Nov 2009
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Cyril Scott is one of those composers from the English Musical Renaissance who many would call 'unjustly neglected'. His music owes more to French than German forebears, but it's a more complex soundworld than pastiche Debussy. Scott was still as interested in British folk music as Vaughan Williams, say (listen to the third movement of the first quartet here, and the great piano and orchestra rhapsody on 'Early One Morning'), and he was also interested in the move away from tonality which had been pioneered by Schoenberg et al in fin de siecle Vienna. So - the early first quartet apart, most of this music is pleasantly non-tonal, the four strings sliding around in a perfumed garden of warmly played and recorded sound which lacks the bite of Schoenberg's soundworld, but never quite relaxes into tonal certainty. It's not undiscovered greatness exactly, but it's a very good listen.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 1 review
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Cyril Scott at his best 12 April 2005
By Dr. Richard M. Price - Published on Amazon.com
The last few years have seen the appearance of numerous CDs of Cyril Scott's orchestral and piano music. Scott was, however, at his best in his chamber music, and of the three CDs of this that Dutton have issued to date (February 2008) this is the most desirable, since it contains, in the First and Second Quartets, two of Scott's very finest works, which here receive persuasive performances. The First Quartet has obvious debts to Ravel and Grainger; in fact the central movement is a hugly delectable imitation of a Grainger folk music arrangement. The outer movements present something rather rare in Scott -- a tight musical argument, with counterpoint being just as important as harmony; the cyclical form is more convincingly handled than in any other work of Scott's that I know. The Second Quartet is much later (composed c. 1950), and is an impressive example of Scott's late style, with its altogether more astringent and personal harmony; the work has an intensity and poignancy that remind one of John Ireland. The first three movements in particular have a clear and coherent shape, and contrast most effectively with each other, the con legno Scherzo being particularly striking. The Fourth Quartet, in contrast, is a weak work, and one must regret that it was chosen in preference to the much superior Third.
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