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Foreword

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  14 September 2019

Martyn Brabbins
Affiliation:
international musical stage after winning the Leeds conducting competition in 1988.
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Summary

DURING the course of the past twenty-five years it has been my privilege and pleasure to play a part in bringing before the curious listening public the music of many previously neglected composers. This process has involved many live public performances and the recording of dozens of CDs. Composers explored include Havergal Brian, Cecil Coles, Sir Alexander Mackenzie, Frederic Lamond, York Bowen, William Wallace, Friedrich Kiel, Robert Fuchs, Sergei Bortkiewicz, Sigismund Stojowksi, da Motta, Coke, Alkan, Adolf von Henselt, Samuel Coleridge- Taylor, David, Goedicke, Hubay, Mortelmans, Edward MacDowell – well, the list could go on, but the idea is clear. There is so much fine music awaiting discovery and rediscovery, and deserving of an audience.

As a conductor with training as a composer, composers and their music are at the heart of my performing passion. I have a strong desire faithfully to serve the composers’ wishes, and, above and beyond that, to discover new music both by living composers and by those unfortunate composers whose music has undeservedly fallen out of fashion. Musical fashion being quite fickle, it has been very, very easy for a less well-known or an under-supported composer to fall by the wayside.

It was my good fortune in 2003 to be approached by Chandos Records about recording a number of Scott's orchestral works with the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra in Manchester. By focusing the remarkable sound of that ensemble on this revival – four CDs of orchestral recordings – we were able to showcase some dozen worthwhile scores which were very favourably received by the CD-reviewing journals and the public, reminding us that Eugene Goossens described Cyril Scott as the ‘father of modern British music’. A bold epithet indeed!

Scott was certainly a remarkably creative figure. A friend of Stravinsky, Richard Strauss and Percy Grainger, and a fine pianist, he was a composer with a large and varied output, ranging from works for solo guitar and harp through his vast output of solo piano music, chamber music, choral works, concerti (for piano, harpsichord, violin, cello and oboe), ballets, operas and symphonies. This in itself would be a quite impressive legacy, and worthy of celebration. But that is far from the whole story.

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Chapter
Information
The Cyril Scott Companion
Unity in Diversity
, pp. xix - xx
Publisher: Boydell & Brewer
Print publication year: 2018

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