Highlights in the Life of Cyril Scott: 1879-1970

by Desmond Scott



  • 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.


  • Enrolls in the Frankfurt Conservatoire to study piano


  • Returns to England.
  • Continues piano studies


  • 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.


  • Leaves Frankfurt and returns to England.

  • Settles in Liverpool.
  • Meets Charles Bonnier who inspires him to write poetry.
  • Composes a number of works including:
    • Symphony No 1,
    • Piano Trio,
    • several songs and small piano pieces,
    • G minor String Quartet
    • Sänge eines fahrenden Spielmanns to verses by Stefan George
    • almost all of these he later withdraws as immature.


  • First Symphony performed in Darmstadt,
  • thanks to Stefan George introducing him to conductor Willem de Haan.
  • Later withdraws symphony as immature.
  • Overture to Pelleas & Melisande performed in Frankfurt.
  • Also withdrawn later.
  • Around this time begins writing poetry.


  • Heroic Suite performed in Liverpool by the Hallé Orchestra under Hans Richter.
  • Later withdraws it as immature.


  • 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.


  • Second Symphony performed by the Queen’s Hall Orchestra at a Promenade concert conducted by Sir Henry Wood.
  • Later withdraws it.
  • Composes:
    • String Quartet
    • Piano Sextet
    • 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.


  • 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.”


  • 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


  • Composes Aubade for OrchestraViolin Sonata No 1 and Blackbird’s Song.
  • Aubade performed in Birmingham.
  • Christmas Overture premiered by the London Symphony Orchestra under Sir Landon Ronald.


  • 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.


  • 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.


  • Revises early Piano Sonata in D as Handelian Rhapsody,
  • 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.


  • Composes:
    • Tallahassee Suite for violin and piano,
    • Deuxième Suite for piano dedicated to Debussy,
    • Valse Triste and Water Wagtail
    • 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 GeorgeSelections from His Works, published by E. Mathews


  • 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.


  • 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:
    • Piano Concerto No 1
    • Ballet Suite for Orchestra
    • Egypt
    • Pastoral Suite for piano.


  • 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.


  • 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.


  • 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.
  • 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.


  • 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.


  • 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.


  • Marries Rose Allatini (novelist Eunice Buckley) in London.
  • First English performance of Aubades conducted by Sir Eugene Goossens at the Queen's Hall, London.


  • 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 RipeComin' thro' the Rye and By Yon Bonny Banks.


  • Daughter born: Vivien Mary Scott.
  • Composes Orchestral Ballet The Incompetent Apothecary


  • 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.


  • Composes one act Opera The Shrine, incidental music for Smetse Smee, from a story based on an old Flemish legend.


  • Composes Concerto for Violin, Cello and Orchestra for May and Beatrice Harrison.
  • 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


  • Composes Sonatina for Guitar for Andrés Segovia and Rima’s Call to the Birds for Soprano and String Quartet.
  • Dedicated to Gertrude Johnson
  • 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.


  • Composes Concerto for Violin and Orchestra.
  • 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.
  • Premiered the same year by the Bournemouth Municipal Orchestra conducted by Sir Dan Godfrey.
  • Writes anonymously The Art of Making a Perfect Husband,
  • published in London by N. Douglas


  • 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.
  • 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,
  • 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,
  • premiered by Scott and Fisher with the Bournemouth Municipal Orchestra under Sir Dan Godfrey December 16.
  • Composes Concerto for Two Violins and Orchestra.
  • Whereabouts of score not known.
  • Composes:
    • Early One Morning, a Poem for Piano and Orchestra;
    • Noel,
    • Orchestral Overture with optional Choral ending, intended to precede Nativity Hymn.
    • String Trio No 1
    • First Suite for Strings


  • Writes introduction to Through the Eyes of the Masters by David Anrias,
  • published in London by Routledge.
  • Writes the Initiate in the Dark Cycle, the third volume in the Initiate series.
  • 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.


  • Composes Theme & Variations for Two Pianos dedicated to Esther Fisher.
  • Premiered by Fisher & Scott in Glasgow, May 26.
  • Composes Disaster at Sea, Poem for Orchestra.
  • 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.
  • Published in London by Routledge


  • Writes An Outline of Modern Occultism published in London by Routledge.
  • Composes:
    • 2nd Piano Sonata dedicated to Walter Gieseking;
    • Summerland for Mixed Voices and Orchestra, text by Scott;
    • four short pi eces, BenedicteBenedictusMagnificat and Nunc Dimittis for Mixed Chorus and Organ


  • Composes Ode to Great Men (Let Us Now Praise famous Men) for Solo Tenor, Women’s chorus and Orchestra.
  • 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.


  • 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.


  • Composes Sonata for Viola and Piano, premiered by Helga White and Scott at the Wigmore Hall, London.
  • Composes major symphony The Muses.
  • 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.


  • Writes The Christian Paradox: What Is, As Against What Should Have Been published in London by Rider & Co.


  • Meets Marjorie Hartston.


  • 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.


  • 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.


  • 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.


  • 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
  • published in London by True Health Publishing.
  • Composes:
    • Trio for Strings No 2;
    • Sonata for Violin & Piano No 2;
    • Sonata for Cello & Piano.
    • 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.


  • 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.


  • Composes:
  • Aubade for Piano and Recorder;
  • Trio for Clarinet, Cello and Piano;
  • 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.
  • 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:
    • Sinfonietta for Organ, Harp and Strings;
    • Sonata No. 3 for Violin and Piano;
    • Sonata No. 3 for Piano.
  • Writes Sleeplessness: Its Prevention and Cure published by Athene Press in London.
  • Composes:
    • Neapolitan Rhapsody for Orchestra;
    • Sonata No. 4 for Violin and Piano.
  • Writes Constipation and Commonsense published by Athene Press in London.


  • 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.


  • Composes Trio Pastorale for Flute, Cello and Piano
  • premiered at the Wigmore Hall, London, 1961.
  • Composes Pastoral Ode for Piano
  • dedicated to Esther Fisher and premiered by her at Wigmore Hall, 1961.
  • Composes:
    • Sonata for Flute and Piano
    • Sonata for 2 Violins and Piano
    • String Quartet No 4
  • Writes Cancer Prevention: Fallacies and Some Reassuring Facts
  • published by Athene Publishing in London.


  • Completes second autobiography Bone of Contention
  • published by The Aquarian Press in London, September 1969.
  • Travels to London for 90th birthday celebrations.
  • Moura Lympany performs Piano Concerto No 1


  • Composes final work Dance Song for Piano.