The Strad Issue: January 2007
Musicians: Olivier Charlier (violin) BBC Philharmonic, Martyn Brabbins (conductor)
At the outset of the 20th century Cyril Scott was much admired by the music establishment as a progressive modernist, but his lack of stylistic development soon found him loosing touch with that era of rapid change. His Violin Concerto, dating from 1926, owes much to Delius and the shimmering colours of Debussy, while passages flying into the violin stratosphere recall the sumptuous eroticism of Szymanowski. It runs as a continuous movement but is in four discernible sections.
The piece dropped from the repertoire after its first performance in 1928 and this is its premiere recording. It could surely never want for more persuasive advocates: Olivier Charlier’s technical mastery makes light of the solo part’s many difficulties with pinpoint accuracy of intonation, while Martyn Brabbins obtains the most gorgeous backdrop from the BBC orchestra, whose woodwind revel in Scott’s mercurial writing. I fervently commend the concerto as a discovery of real quality; three highly enjoyable orchestral scores complete a disc of outstanding sound quality.