Olivier Charlier / Martyn Brabbins

Cyril Scott: Violin Concerto; Festival Overture; Aubade; Three Symphonic Dances

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AllMusic Review by James Leonard

Compared with the uncounted tragedies of the First World War, the eclipsing of the career of English composer Cyril Scott may seem less than momentous. Yet he was a highly original fin de siècle English composer whose music was nevertheless suffused with the ardent yearning, passionate sensuality, and philosophical idealism of its time and whose career flourished during the pre-war years both in England and on the Continent, particularly in Germany and Austria. But the cataclysm of the war separated Scott from his publisher and his German-speaking audience, and the rise of postwar composers like Schoenberg and Stravinsky separated Scott from the musical avant-garde. Indeed, except by the most dedicated fans of English composers, Scott's music is now all but forgotten.

This disc of four orchestral works by Scott with Martyn Brabbins leading the BBC Philharmonic may or may not change that. Certainly, the BBC plays beautifully with a real feel for Scott's opulent orchestral writing with its lush strings, warm winds, and heroic brass. Surely, Brabbins conducts sympathetically with a true understanding of Scott's extravagantly expressive, fervently sincere, and always optimistic music. Absolutely, violinist Olivier Charlier plays the Violin Concerto magnificently with a strong tone, a supple technique, and a manifest commitment to the music. Whether it works depends on the listener. Matching the music, Chandos' digital sound is big, colorful, and vivid.

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