CYRIL SCOTT: Lotus Land – Complete Piano Music, Vol. Five [TrackList below] – Leslie De’Ath, piano/with Anya Alexeyev, piano – Dutton Epoch

by | Apr 12, 2009 | Classical CD Reviews | 0 comments

CYRIL SCOTT: Lotus Land – Complete Piano Music, Vol. Five  [TrackList below] – Leslie De’Ath, piano/with Anya Alexeyev, piano – Dutton Epoch CDLX 7224 (2 CDs for price of 1), 2:32:58 [Distr. by Harmonia mundi] *****:

This bargain set might be the best-selling of the five albums which have now gone thru the huge piano opera of the 20th century British composer who lived until 1970, due to it opening with the original solo piano version of Scott’s lush signature tune Lotus Land, and closing out the second CD with his later two-piano arrangement of the same. It also contains many of the composer’s very short works for piano, rounding out the complete survey.

Scott shared with many French composers of the time a predilection for using a poem or poem excerpt to introduce a piece; many of the poems here are the composer’s own. Some of the pieces are deceptively simple while others are full of subtle technical challenges. Percy Grainger and Scott championed each others’ music, and Scott’s poetic and innovative music has also been compared to that of Chopin. The great originality of many of his piano pieces also invites comparison with Debussy.  

Several of the pieces demonstrate a fascination with bell sounds, and there are birdcall effects in some of the works. Other animals are portrayed in some pieces, and Miss Remington is a humorous number – written 16 years before Leroy Anderson’s The Typewriter – but covering about the same ground.  Scott joined countless other composers in his transcriptions of two Bach melodies – a favorite soprano aria and a rare violin concerto movement. Altogether nine CDs of the composer’s piano music have now been released by Dutton, comprising 191 tracks, 125 of which are first recordings.

CD 1 =

Lotus Land Op.47/1 (1905) [W183]
Two Ebert Pieces Op.35 (1904) [W253]:
Ebert triste
Ebert cgi
Solitude Op.40/1 (1904) [W326]
Danse nègre Op.58/5 (1908) [W89]
Two Etudes Op.64 (1908) [W111]:
Allegro con brio
Mazurka Op.67/1 (1909) [W197]
Water-wagtail (Bergeronnette) op.71/3 (1910) [W414]
Barcarolle (1912) [W41]
Pierrette (1912) [W250]
Poems (1912) [W255]:
The Garden of Soul-sympathy
The Twilight of the Year
Prelude solennel (1913) [W260]
Rainbow Trout (1916) [W283]
First Bagatelle (1919) [W31]
Caprice chinois (1919) [W56]
Arabesque (1923) [W15]
Valse sentimentale (1929) [W397]
Tarantula (1935) [W371]
Impromptu (A Mountain Brook)† revised version (1904/1929?) [W152]

CD 2 =
An English Waltz original version (1903) [W109]
Two Piano Pieces Op.37 (1904) [W249]:
At Dawn
British Melodies (1912):
All Through the Night [W7]
The Wild Hills of Clare [W419]
Summer is Acumen In [W357]
Britain’s War March (1914) [W52]
Carillon (1913) [W57]
Cavatina (1914) [W58]
Diatonic Study (1914) [W94]
Sea-Marge: Meditation (1914) [W312]
Ode héroïque (1915) [W224]
Russian Dance† (1915) [W301]
Ballad (Variations on a Troubadour Air) (1920) [W32]
Moods (1922) [W209]:
Miss Remington (1934) [W206]
Pastoral Ode (1961) [W238]
My Heart Ever Faithful
transcription for solo piano by Cyril Scott of J.S. Bach, ‘Mein gläubiges Herze’, aria from Cantata no.68 (1931) [W424]
Concerto in C AA
transcription for two pianos by Cyril Scott of J.S. Bach, BWV 595 (itself a transcription for solo keyboard of a violin concerto by Prinz Ernst von Saxe-Weimar) (c.1935)
Danse nègre op.58/5 AA transcription for two pianos by Cyril Scott (1935) [W90]
Lotus Land op.47/1 AA transcription for two pianos by Cyril Scott (1948) [W184]

 – John Sunier

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