Cyril Scott
Copyright Michael D. Robbins 2005


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Cyril Scott—Composer, Poet, Author and Occultist

September 27, 1879, Oxton England. (Source: AstroDataBank citing report by Ralph Kraum who cites Scott’s book “Doctors, Disease and Health”) Died, December 31, 1970, Eastbourn, England.

(Proposed Ascendant, Virgo; MC, Gemini with Mars and Pluto conjunct in Taurus conjuncted to the MC; Sun in Libra; Moon in Aquarius; Mercury, Vesta and Venus (retrograde) closely conjuncted in late Virgo, all three conjunct the Libra Sun; Uranus also is in Virgo conjuncting proposed Ascendant from H12; Jupiter in Pisces; Saturn in Aries; Neptune in Taurus conjunct Chiron, also in Taurus)


From far away I heard the strains of an organ with which was mingled the sound of voices so pure and ethereal as to suggest the chanting of a celestial choir, wafted on a peaceful evening breeze. The music was unlike any music I had heard before; it was subtle, yet melodious, sweet, yet devoid of all sentimental lusciousness; at one moment powerful and awe-awakening, at another soft and tender as the caress of an angel's hand.

'My Brother Koot Hoomi playing on His organ ... and the voices you hear are those of the Gandharvas ... Listen well, and remember, for one day you shall give forth such music to the world ...'

It was Sir Thomas who had spoken, and his words were addressed to Lyall. The music continued for a while, then gradually faded away, and there was another silence.

(Neptune in Taurus conjunct Chiron)

What are the world's foolish toys, and death 's ephemeral sorrows,
Seeming endless, yet by the Endless, fleeter than lightning's flashes.

That from the Occult viewpoint the basic truths of all the great religions are the same, differing only in their outer manifestations.

That there is no such thing as the supernatural, but only the supernormal;

That Spirit is Matter in its rarest aspect and Matter is Spirit in its varying degrees grossest form.

That Occultism embraces Karma (the law of cause and effect) and Reincarnation.

That there is a Heirarchy of those who, after many incarnations have evolved more than the great majority of humanity.

These Initiates, Sages, or Masters seek to further the spiritual evolution of all humanity by inspiring the best in philosophical, religious, scientific, ideological and artistic trends. But as Man has a measure of free will they always seek to guide and never to coerce.
(Uranus in 12th house conjunct Ascendant)

All sins...are nothing but a searching for happiness in the wrong direction, and all sinners are but children who will eventually grow up. Tolerance is the recognition of this fact. pp. 77-8

Real love forgives its object always--even before there would seem something to forgive--and all true friends love each other better, the one for having some fault to pardon, and the other for being pardoned respecting that fault. 7
(Venus conjunct Sun)

A thing is tedious or pleasant according to what one brings to it oneself. p.211

Nothing in itself contains Beauty or Happiness, but only serves to draw out a particle of that infinite Beauty and Happiness latent in the mind, or better said in the soul. pp. 268-9

He who thinks least of his own character benefits it the most. p.311

Cyril Scott, The Initiate


CYRIL SCOTT (1879-1970)

English composer 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 O'Neill.
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 clothing.
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 name.
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 before talking.
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 attention.
1903 • Second Symphony performed by the Queen’s Hall Orchestra at a Promenade concert conducted by Sir Henry Wood.
o Later withdraws it.
• Composes:
o String Quartet
o Piano Sextet
o and many songs and piano pieces including Pierrot Triste and Pierrot Gai.
• 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 in Occultism.
• 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 Song.
• 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 Bechstein Hall.
• 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 Indépendante.
• Third volume of poetry, The Vales of Unity published by D.Nutt, London.
1913 • On invitation from Mahler's widow visits Vienna. Scores great success.
• Cyril Scott evenings given in Frankfurt and Cologne as well as in Vienna.
• Composes:
o Piano Concerto No 1;
o Ballet Suite for Orchestra,
o Egypt
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 London.
• European tour of Piano Concerto cancelled due to outbreak of WW1.
• 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 Alchemist.
• 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, London.
• 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 Mountains.
• 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' 100th birthday.
• 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 Orchestra.
• 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 Hall, London.
• 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 elaborates.
• 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.
• Composes:
o Early One Morning, a Poem for Piano and Orchestra;
o Noel,
o Orchestral Overture with optional Choral ending, intended to precede Nativity Hymn.
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 Initiate series.
o Published in London by Routledge.
• Composes and writes libretto for Mirabelle, a Secular Cantata; and
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 by Routledge.
• Composes:
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 in Norwich.
• 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 in London.
• 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 Bay, Sussex.
• 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 Health Publishing.
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 Leon Goossens.
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.
• Composes:
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 known.
• Arranged Russian Fair for two pianos, Score from Novello & Co.
• 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 in London.
• Writes Simpler and Safer Remedies for Grievous Ills, published by Athene Press in London.
• Composes:
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.
• Composes:
o Neapolitan Rhapsody for Orchestra;
o Sonata No. 4 for Violin and Piano.
• Writes Constipation and Commonsense published by Athene Press in London.
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, 1958.
• 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.
• Composes:
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.


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