This is an important work, containing a mass of otherwise unavailable information on one of the more intriguing of the minor English composers of the twentieth century. It provides lists of Cyril Scott's published writings (on musical and non-musical subjects) and of writings about him, with useful summaries of content, and a full list of his compositions, including the numerous unpublished works. The list of compositions gives titles, forces employed, details of first performance (which add greatly to our knowledge of Scott premières), publication details (if any), and (in the case of unpublished works) dates of composition. A biographical chapter is added which, though brief, contains important information hitherto unpublished.
This book is a mine of information for everyone interested in Scott, and has already established itself as the essential reference work for people writing notes on works of Scott for concerts or recordings. It is therefore worth specifying its limitations. In the case of the musical works almost no details are provided beyond the bare data listed above. This leads in some cases to failure to recognize when a later work is simply a reappearance of an earlier one: for example, Sampsel lists separately a piano quintet performed in 1914 and a piano quintet allegedly premiered in 1920 (without dates of composition), although it is clear from Eaglefield Hull's book on Scott (scarcely a recondite source) that the two works are one and the same, composed in 1911-12. The reader must also be warned that composition dates are sometimes incomplete or misleading (where there is a complex history of revision), and that in cases where only a publication or performance date is provided there is no presumption that this corresponds to the date of composition; some of Scott's works lay in a drawer for a long time before seeing the light. It is also to be regretted that we are not told which unpublished works survive and which do not (either because Scott himself destroyed the MS, as he did with several early works, or because the MS was accidentally lost or destroyed when in other hands). Finally, the listing of all the works in a single list in alphabetical order means that the short piano pieces and songs (many of them mere potboilers to keep a publisher happy) are visually dominant; it would surely have been preferable to arrange the works according to genre (as on the Cyril Scott website). Despite these limitations this is an invaluable work that deserves the gratitude of everyone interested in Scott.