and pianist, Cyril Scott is best described as an individualist. His
musical talent was recognised from the tender age of 12 when he was
sent to the Hoch Conservatorium in Frankfurt am Main. He studied piano
under Lazarro Uzielli and theory with Engelbert Humperdinck, and some
years later with Iwan Knorr, who in 1907 was to describe his pupil as
"brilliant and revolutionary". During his student years in
Frankfurt, Cyril Scott began establishing his career in composition,
later becoming known as a member of the 'Frankfurt Group' with fellow
composers Percy Grainger, Balfour Gardiner, Roger Quilter and Norman
Cyril Scott's return to England around the turn of the century marked
the beginning of a long and fruitful career as a composer at the forefront
of English modernism. During the first decades of the twentieth century
his compositions were considered "daring and very un-English",
with "surprisingly modern harmonies". His works were compared
to those of Stravinksy and Schoenberg, and he later attracted the label
"the English Debussy" for his determination to create a continuous
flow in his music by avoiding cadence.
In 1921 Cyril Scott married the English novelist Rose Allatini, whose
radical work Despised and Rejected had been banned upon its release
in 1918. They shared an interest in the occult and had two children
together before amicably dissolving their marriage at the outbreak of
World War 2. In 1943 Scott met Marjorie Hartston who was to remain his
partner until death.
Cyril Scott's extraordinarily diverse range of interests were reflected
in his writings. He published widely on both musical and non-musical
subjects, including homeopathy, philosophy, occultism and theology.
He also published numerous volumes of poetry and even tried his hand
at playwriting, literary translations and painting, and penned two autobiographies;
My Years of Indiscretion in 1924, and Bone of Contention: Life Story
and Confessions in 1969.
Percy Grainger and Cyril Scott remained close lifelong friends and maintained
a lively correspondence reflecting their diverse and at time conflicting
creative ideals. The Grainger Museum contains the most substantial collection
of Scott's letters (over 400 items) as collected by Grainger. However
the Museum's collection extends beyond Cyril Scott's association with
Grainger and also contains a number of his manuscript scores, published
compositions, interviews, articles, writings and even some of his personal
Like many composers of his era, Scott suffered the double bind of satisfying
publishers and audiences' demand for short vocal and piano works and
he became known for these works at the expense of acquiring recognition
for his more substantial and exploratory works. Scott's 1904 publishing
agreement with Elkin & Co resulted in widespread recognition for
many of these smaller works, and made Scott an internationally known
Cyril Scott's creative outpouring, both musical and otherwise, received
mixed responses during his lifetime. He was considered by conservatives
to be an enfant terrible and by others to be the "savior"
of English music, however today his contributions have received little
scholarly attention and his repertoire remains largely unheard.
1879 • Cyril Scott is youngest of three children born to Henry
and Mary (née Griffiths) Scott on September 27 in Oxton, a village
in the North of England near Liverpool.
• Father a businessman in shipping and a Greek scholar.
• Shows early talent for music, picking out tunes on piano almost
1891 • Enrolls in the Frankfurt Conservatoire to study piano
1893 • Returns to England.
• Continues piano studies
1895 • Interested in composition, returns to Frankfurt to study
with Ivan Knorr.
• Meets Norman O’Neill, Roger Quilter, Balfour Gardiner
and Percy Grainger (The Frankfurt Group).
• Also meets the German poet Stefan George and his illustrator
Melchior Lechter, both of whom have profound influence on his life.
1898/1899 • Leaves Frankfurt and returns to England.
• Settles in Liverpool.
• Meets Charles Bonnier who inspires him to write poetry.
• Composes a number of works including:
o Symphony No 1, a Piano Trio,
o several songs and small piano pieces,
o G minor String Quartet
o Sänge eines fahrenden Spielmanns to verses by Stefan George
• almost all of these he later withdraws as immature.
1900 • First Symphony performed in Darmstadt,
o thanks to Stefan George introducing him to conductor Willem de Haan.
o Later withdraws symphony as immature.
• Overture to Pelleas & Melisande performed in Frankfurt.
o Also withdrawn later.
• Around this time begins writing poetry.
1901 • Heroic Suite performed in Liverpool by the Hallé
Orchestra under Hans Richter.
o Later withdraws it as immature.
1902 • Princess Maleine Overture premiered in London by the Queen’s
Hall Orchestra under Sir Henry Wood.
• G minor String Quartet performed in Liverpool with Fritz Kreisler
and Scott, which when performed later in London brings him wide public
1903 • Second Symphony performed by the Queen’s Hall Orchestra
at a Promenade concert conducted by Sir Henry Wood.
o Later withdraws it.
o String Quartet
o Piano Sextet
o and many songs and piano pieces including Pierrot Triste and Pierrot
• While in London attends lecture by Annie Besant and becomes
interested in Theosophy.
1903/4 • Visits Paris. Meets Fauré, Ravel and Debussy.
• On return to England becomes interested in Raja Yoga and then
• Lyric Suite for Orchestra dedicated to Melchior Lechter performed
by the Bournemouth Municipal Orchestra conducted by Scott.
• Signs contract with music publisher Elkin to produce a number
of songs and piano pieces each year which proves a mixed blessing as
it “deflected attention from my more serious works.”
1904/5 • Moves to London.
• Composes two of his best known pieces, the song Don’t
Come in Sir, Please! and Lotus Land.
• Around this time publishes first volume of poetry: The Shadows
of Silence and the Songs of Yesterday
1906 • Composes Aubade for Orchestra, Violin Sonata No 1 and Blackbird’s
• Aubade performed in Birmingham.
• Christmas Overture premiered by the London Symphony Orchestra
under Sir Landon Ronald.
1907 • Publishes second volume of poetry: The Grave of Eros and
The Book of Mournful Melodies, with Dreams from the East published in
Liverpool by the Lyceum Press.
• Revises Symphony No 2 into Three Symphonic Dances.
1908 • Composes Danse Nègre and Lullaby, two Etudes, a
Prelude, a Nocturne and a Serenade.
• Violin Sonata No l in C performed in London at the Bechstein
Hall with Scott and Barnes.
1909 • Revises early Piano Sonata in D as Handelian Rhapsody,
o dedicated to and edited by Percy Grainger.
• Writes new Piano Sonata (op.66). Performs it in London at the
• Translations of Baudelaire’s The Flowers of Evil published
by E. Mathews.
1910 • Composes:
o Tallahassee Suite for violin and piano,
o Deuxième Suite for piano dedicated to Debussy,
o Valse Triste and Water Wagtail
o and a number of other songs and piano pieces.
• Second volume of poetry The Voice of the Ancient published by
J.M. Watkins, London.
• Translations of poems by Stefan George, Selections from His
Works, published by E. Mathews
1911/12 • Revised Aubades performed in Berlin at the Blüther-Haus
conducted by Siegmund von Hausegger.
• Composes many songs and piano pieces including Poems, a Suite
of five pieces for which he also wrote verses.
• Orchestral version of two of the Poems premiered by Sir Henry
Wood and the Queen's Hall Orchestra at a Promenade concert in London.
• Deuxième Suite premiered by Scott in London at the Bechstein
Hall and the following year in Paris at the Societé Musicale
• Third volume of poetry, The Vales of Unity published by D.Nutt,
1913 • On invitation from Mahler's widow visits Vienna. Scores
• Cyril Scott evenings given in Frankfurt and Cologne as well
as in Vienna.
o Piano Concerto No 1;
o Ballet Suite for Orchestra,
o Pastoral Suite for piano.
1914 • Two Passacaglias on Irish Themes premiered by Sir Thomas
Beecham with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra at the Queen's Hall in
• European tour of Piano Concerto cancelled due to outbreak of
• Performance of Nativity Hymn for solo voices, chorus and Orchestra
planned for Vienna also cancelled.
• Revises Piano Sextet (1903) into Quintet.
• La belle dame sans merci for vocal duet and piano premiered
in London at the Bechstein Hall.
1915/16 • Piano Concerto No 1 performed by the Royal Philharmonic
Orchestra at the Queen's Hall, London.
• Fifth volume of poetry The Celestial Aftermath: A Springtime
of the Heart and Far-Away Songs published by Chatto & Windus, London.
• Composes Russian Dance for Benno Moiseiwitsch.
• Continues to write many piano pieces including the Little Russian
Suite and Rainbow-Trout.
• Revises La Belle Dame for solo, chorus and orchestra.
1917/18 • Writes the libretto and composes opera in one act, The
• Composes Rondeau de Concert for Benno Moiseiwitsch.
• Becomes friends with G.B. Shaw.
• Meets George Moore, Henry James, H.G. Wells and Arnold Bennett.
• The Autobiography of a Child: Written from the Psycho-Sexual-Analytical
Standpoint for Doctors, Teachers and Psychologists published in London
by Paul, Trench & Trubner.
o Written anonymously the book is banned and the entire edition burnt!
• Writes The Philosophy of Modernism: Its Connection with Music
published in London by the Waverley Music Lovers' Library.
• Biography of Scott by A. Eaglefield Hull published by Paul,
Trench & Trubner.
1919 • Composes Quintet for Two Violins, Viola and Two Cellos
and String Quartet both premiered in London at the Wigmore (formerly
Bechstein) Hall by the Philharmonic String Quartet.
• Idyllic Fantasy for Voice, Oboe and Cello (words by Scott) performed
by Astra Desmond at the Wigmore Hall, London.
1920 • Tours the United States and Canada.
• Makes his New York debut at the Carnegie Hall playing his Piano
Concerto with the Philadelphia Orchestra under Leopold Stowkowski.
• Also conducts the Two Passacaglias.
• The Adept of Galilee: a Story and an Argument published by Routledge.Written
anonymously as is The Initiate: Some Impressions of a Great Soul, the
first book of a trilogy.
• Composes Piano Quintet No 1 dedicated to and performed by Evlyn
Howard-Jones, piano, with the London String Quartet at the Aeolian Hall,
• Piano Trio No 1, premiered in London with Beatrice and May Harrison
and Scott at the Wigmore Hall, London.
• Meets Nelsa Chaplin, a clairvoyant healer who has a great influence
on his life.
1921 • Marries Rose Allatini (novelist Eunice Buckley) in London.
• First English performance of Aubades conducted by Sir Eugene
Goossens at the Queen's Hall, London.
1922 • Visits Vienna with Rose (She was born there) for performances
of the Piano Concerto.
• Meets Darius Milhaud.
• Composes Indian Suite for piano, Extatic Shepherd for solo flute.
• Sets a number of folk tunes to music including Cherry Ripe,
Comin' thro' the Rye and By Yon Bonny Banks.
1923 • Daughter born: Vivien Mary Scott.
• Composes Orchestral Ballet The Incompetent Apothecary
1924 • Composes and writes libretto for 1 act Opera Saint of the
• Composes orchestrral ballet Karma Suite for André Charlot.
• Premiered same year in Charlot's Revue.
• Writes first autobiography My Years of Indiscretion published
in London by Mills & Boon.
1925 • Composes one act Opera The Shrine, incidental music for
Smetse Smee, from a story based on an old Flemish legend.
1926 • Composes Concerto for Violin, Cello and Orchestra for May
and Beatrice Harrison.
o Whereabouts of score not known.
• Composes Quintet for Flute, Harp, Violin, Viola, Violoncello;
dedicated to René Le Roy.
• Celtic Fantasy for solo harp dedicated to Sidonie Goossens.
• First performance not given until 1999 on the occasion of Goossens'
• Son born,: Desmond Cyril Scott
1927 • Composes Sonatina for Guitar for Andrés Segovia
and Rima’s Call to the Birds for Soprano and String Quartet.
o Dedicated to Gertrude Johnson
o performed by her and the Brosa Quartet at the Wigmore Hall in London.
• Also arranges Rima’s Call to the Birds for Soprano and
• Writes second volume of the Initiate Trilogy, The Initiate in
the New World. Published in New York by E.P. Dutton.
1928 • Composes Concerto for Violin and Orchestra.
o Premiered the same year by the Birmingham City Orchestra conducted
by Sir Adrian Boult, soloist May Harrison in Birmingham.
• Composes Suite fantastique for chamber orchestra.
o Premiered the same year by the Bournemouth Municipal Orchestra conducted
by Sir Dan Godfrey.
• Writes anonymously The Art of Making a Perfect Husband,
o published in London by N. Douglas
1929-30 • Revises Princess Maleine as Festival Overture, which
in 1934 wins Daily Telegraph prize.
• Composes The Melodist & the Nightingales for Violoncello
and Orchestra for Beatrice Harrison.
o Premiered by Sir Thomas Beecham with Harrison soloist at the Queen’s
• Composes orchestral ballet based on Poe’s story Masque
of the Red Death,
o performed in André Charlot’s Revue in London.
• Karma Suite performed in Dortmund.
• Orchestral version of Rima’s Call to the Birds premiered
in Harrogate with Johnson, soloist and Basil Cameron conducting.
• Writes Childishness: A Study in Adult Conduct published in London
by J. Bale, Sons & Danielsson.
1931 • Meets New Zealand born pianist Esther Fisher and they begin
two piano recitals.
• Arranges a number of works by J.S. Bach for two pianos including
the Invention in F and the Gigue in G, both of which he extends and
• Composes Concertino for Two Pianos & Orchestra,
o premiered by Scott and Fisher with the Bournemouth Municipal Orchestra
under Sir Dan Godfrey December 16.
• Composes Concerto for Two Violins and Orchestra.
o Whereabouts of score not known.
o Early One Morning, a Poem for Piano and Orchestra;
o Orchestral Overture with optional Choral ending, intended to precede
o String Trio No 1
o First Suite for Strings
1932 • Writes introduction to Through the Eyes of the Masters
by David Anrias,
o published in London by Routledge.
• Writes the Initiate in the Dark Cycle, the third volume in the
o Published in London by Routledge.
• Composes and writes libretto for Mirabelle, a Secular Cantata;
Mystic Ode for Mens’ or Mixed Chorus & Chamber Orchestra with
words by Scott using pseudonym Arkwright Lundy.
• Writes Music: Its Secret Influence throughout the Ages published
in London by Rider & Co.
1933 • Composes Theme & Variations for Two Pianos dedicated
to Esther Fisher.
o Premiered by Fisher & Scott in Glasgow, May 26.
• Composes Disaster at Sea, Poem for Orchestra.
o Premiered by London Philharmonic Orchestra under Albert Coates at
the Queen’s Hall, October 19.
• Later revised (1935?) as Neptune, Poem of the Sea.
• Writes The Vision of the Nazarene anonymously.
o Published in London by Routledge
1935 • Writes An Outline of Modern Occultism published in London
o 2nd Piano Sonata dedicated to Walter Gieseking;
o Summerland for Mixed Voices and Orchestra, text by Scott;
o four short pieces, Benedicte, Benedictus, Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis
for Mixed Chorus and Organ
1936 • Composes Ode to Great Men (Let Us Now Praise famous Men)
for Solo Tenor, Women’s chorus and Orchestra.
o Premiered with Basil Maine, soloist at the Norwich Musical Festival
• Writes The Greater Awareness published in London by Routledge.
1937 • Composes Concerto for Harpsichord and Orchestra. Premiered
1938 by the Grande Chamber Orchestra under Angel Grande and Lucille
Wallace, soloist at the Wigmore Hall, London.
• Composes Concerto for Cello and Orchestra.
1938 • Composes Serenade for Mouth Organ and Piano for Larry Adler.
• Writes Doctors, Disease and Health: A Critical Survey of Therapeutics,
Modern and Ancient. Published in London by Methuen & Co.
1939 • Composes Sonata for Viola and Piano, premiered by Helga
White and Scott at the Wigmore Hall, London.
• Composes major symphony The Muses.
o Not performed until 2003 by the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra under Martyn
Brabbins in Manchester.
• Writes The Ghost of a Smile, a book on humour, published in
London by Andrew Dakers.
• Writes Man is My Theme published in London by Andrew Dakers.
• Writes Victory over Cancer without Radium or Surgery published
in London by Methuen & Co.
• War declared September 3.
• Scott leaves London.
1940 • Composes no music during War years except possibly Ode
Descantique for string orchestra (1940?).
• Writes Health, Diet and Commonsense published by Andrew Dakers
• Writes a number of plays including adaptations of Wilkie Collins’
The Moonstone and Anthony Trollope’s Barchester Towers.
1942 • Writes The Christian Paradox: What Is, As Against What
Should Have Been published in London by Rider & Co.
1943 • Meets Marjorie Hartston.
1945 • Accept Percy Grainger’s offer of house in Pevensey
• Moves there with Marjorie Hartston.
• Finishes libretto for three act Opera Maureen O’Mara.
1946 • Finishes score for Maureen O’Mara.
• Writes Crude Black Molasses, the Natural Wonder Food published
in London by True Health Publishing which eventually sells in hundreds
of thousands all over the world.
• Writes Medicine, Rational and Irrational also published by True
1947 • Moves to Eastbourne with Marjorie Hartston.
• Separates from Rose.
• Composes score and libretto for Hymn of Unity for Solo Voices,
Chorus and Orchestra.
• Composes Concerto for Oboe and String Orchestra dedicated to
1948-1950 • Oboe Concerto premiered by the BBC Symphony Orchestra
under Stanford Robinson at an Albert Hall Promenade concert in London.
• Writes Cider Vinegar: Nature’s Great Health-Promoter and
Safest Cure of Obesity
o published in London by True Health Publishing.
o Trio for Strings No 2;
o Sonata for Violin & Piano No 2;
o Sonata for Cello & Piano.
o Hourglass Suite for Chamber Orchestra published by Keith Prowse, London.
Whereabouts of Score not known.
• Travels to Ireland for a concert of his works arranged by the
violinist François D’Albert.
1951-1952 • Composes Concertino for Flute, Bassoon and String
Orchestra for Archie Camden;
• Quintet for Clarinet and Strings premiered by Gervase de Peyer
at a Music Teachers’ Association Concert in London.
• Composes Quintet No. 2 for Piano and Strings.
• Composes Symphony No 4
• Composes Russian Fair for Orchestra. Whereabouts of Score not
• Arranged Russian Fair for two pianos, Score from Novello &
• Publishes (in German) The Tragedy of Stefan George published
Eltville am Rhein: L. Hempe, 1952.
1953-1956 • Composes:
o Aubade for Piano and Recorder;
o Trio for Clarinet, Cello and Piano;
o Quintet for 2 Violins, 2 Violas and Cello.
• Writes Introduction and Afterword to The Boy Who Saw True, the
diary of a young clairvoyant boy.
o Published by Neville Spearman, 1953 in London and then by C.W.Daniel.
• Writes Man the Unruly Child, published by the Aquarian Press
• Writes Simpler and Safer Remedies for Grievous Ills, published
by Athene Press in London.
o Sinfonietta for Organ, Harp and Strings;
o Sonata No. 3 for Violin and Piano;
o Sonata No. 3 for Piano.
• Writes Sleeplessness: Its Prevention and Cure published by Athene
Press in London.
o Neapolitan Rhapsody for Orchestra;
o Sonata No. 4 for Violin and Piano.
• Writes Constipation and Commonsense published by Athene Press
1957-1960 • Composes Trio No 3 for Piano and Strings.
• Composes Rondo Serioso for Viola d’Amore and Piano dedicated
to Montagu Cleeve. Premiered by Cleeve and Scott, Wigmore Hall, London,
• Composes String Quartet No 2, dedicated to Ella and Percy Grainger,
premiered by Alberni String Quartet at the Duke’s Hall, Royal
Academy of Music, London 1964.
• Writes Occultism: An Alternative to Scientific Humanism published
by L.N.Fowler in London.
• Composes String Quartet No. 3 premiered by the Aeolian Quartet
at the Wigmore Hall, London 1961.
Composes Piano Concerto No 2.
1961-1970 • Composes Trio Pastorale for Flute, Cello and Piano
o premiered at the Wigmore Hall, London, 1961.
• Composes Pastoral Ode for Piano
o dedicated to Esther Fisher and premiered by her at Wigmore Hall, 1961.
o Sonata for Flute and Piano
o Sonata for 2 Violins and Piano
o String Quartet No 4
• Writes Cancer Prevention: Fallacies and Some Reassuring Facts
o published by Athene Publishing in London.
1969 • Completes second autobiography Bone of Contention
o published by The Aquarian Press in London, September 1969.
• Travels to London for 90th birthday celebrations.
o Moura Lympany performs Piano Concerto No 1
1970 • Composes final work Dance Song for Piano.
Married to Rose
Allatini in 1921 with whom he had two children: Vivian Mary Scott (1923)
and Desmond Cyrill Scott (1926)
Second marriage to Marjorie Hartston in 1943.
He was considered
a great Occultist in his time and a true Philosopher. He was member
of different groups including the Theosophical Society.