The Strad Issue: January 2010
Musicians: Gould Piano Trio, Mia Cooper (violin) David Adams (viola) Robert Plane (clarinet)
The fact that Cyril Scott (1879–1970) was musically educated in Germany from the age of twelve, and there enjoyed his first success as a major composer, did much to overshadow his later image as a composer of English music.
The present disc starts in 1920 with the First Piano Trio, written at a time when his style was moving towards a mixture of French and English influences. It is a score of intense beauty whose final Rondo giocoso smoulders with a passion that eventually erupts in an outpouring of amorous rapture. I hope that Scott would have wanted the yearning quality the players of the Gould Piano Trio bring to the slow third movement, for their whole performance is couched in gorgeous sonorities. The short Cornish Boat Song for piano trio is equally charming, and you can download an extra track of their account of the Little Folk-Dance from the Chandos website.
The one-movement Second Piano Trio came much later in 1951 and, while not atonal, Scott’s music had hardened in mood and he was experimenting, if not always successfully. The same year brought the Clarinet Quintet, followed four years later by the Clarinet Trio, both worthy of our attention in such well-prepared accounts, though they struggle to find memorable thematic material. Four premiere recordings in vividly realistic sound.