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We are saddened by the sudden death from cancer on 2 July 2020 of the pianist and musicologist Oliver Davies.


In 1970, as Music Librarian of the Royal College of Music, Davies was responsible for admitting O’Neill’s manuscripts to the College at a time when few institutions were interested in this era of English music. Later, as Curator of Portraits and Performance History, he negotiated the purchase for the College of the only known portrait of O’Neill by van Ruith.


Davies continued to support the cause of O’Neill’s music, organising an exhibition in the RCM entrance hall to mark his centenary in 1975, and where appropriate, including works by O’Neill in his recitals and concerts, especially those related to the Frankfurt Group of composers and their associates. In 1991, with the composer’s granddaughter, he gave a Delius Society lecture-recital on Norman O’Neill and his Friends. Davies privately recorded a number of O’Neill pieces including a performance with the distinguished pianist Esther Fisher, of O’Neill’s duet for two pianos, Variations on an Irish Theme.


Davies had an affinity with the music and history of O’Neill’s extended family which included the composer Dr William Horsley and his children (who were close friends of Mendelssohn) and of O’Neill’s great grandfather the composer and musicologist, Dr John Wall Callcott, his great uncle the artist Sir Augustus Wall Callcott, and his father, the artist G. B. O’Neill.

Katherine Jessel

A new CD 'Percy & Friends: The Music of Grainger and his Circle' will be released this month by Heritage. American pianist, Richard Masters explores the piano works of Percy Grainger and his circle – while a student at the Hoch Conservatory, Frankfurt, Grainger studied piano with James Kwast and composition with Ivan Knorr. Knorr provided a key connection to four other composition students who would eventually be known as the Frankfurt Group. The group was comprised of five English-speaking expatriates: Grainger, Norman O’Neill (1875-1934), Cyril Scott (1879-1970), Henry Balfour Gardiner (1877-1950), and Roger Quilter (1877-1953).


Roger Quilter: Summer Evening (from Three Pieces, Op. 16)

Henry Balfour Gardiner: Con brio (from Shenadoah and Other Pieces); Adagio (from Five Pieces); Gavotte (from Five Pieces)

Cyril Scott: Lento (from Two Pierrot Pieces, Op. 35); Pierrette; Cherry Ripe; Rainbow Trout

Norman O’NeillDeux Petites Pièces, Op. 27;

Frederick DeliusIn a Summer Garden (trans. Philip Heseltine)

Percy Grainger: Bridal Lullaby; Shepherd’s Hey; Colonial Song; Spoon River; The Nightingale and the Two Sisters; Scotch Strathspey and Reel


To purchase, or for more information, please visit Heritage website: https://www.heritage-records.com/shop/keyboard/heritage-keyboard/percy-friends-the-music-of-grainger-and-his-circle/


The Cyril Scott Companion: Unity in Diversity

Edited by Desmond Scott, Lewis Foreman and Leslie De’Ath

The Boydell Press

First published 2018

Front cover image: Cyril Scott by George Hall-Neale, oil on canvas. National Portrait Gallery, London.


Cyril Scott (1879-1970) was an English composer, writer and poet. Educated at the Hoch Conservatory, Frankfurt, and a member of the well-known ‘Frankfurt Gang,’ he was a close friend of Norman O’Neill and his wife Adine who performed many of his early piano pieces. A prolific composer and professional pianist he wrote some four hundred works including symphonies, concerti, songs and operas.  A true polymath –  his books on alternative medicine, occultism and theosophy being highly successful –  he was a controversial figure in his own day and despite his early success  ( he was admired by Stravinsky, Debussy, Strauss and Percy Grainger, a life-long friend )  he was all but forgotten in his own life-time.  This Companion reflects a reviving interest in his work:  consisting of a series of contributions from specialist musicologists and other authorities and the personal reminiscences of friends and his son Desmond, it has a broad scope and is of interest to the general reader and scholar alike in bringing into focus this remarkable artist and his times. In addition there is a Catalogue of Music, Discography and Bibliography.


The book is available for purchase here.


© 2018 Katherine Jessel, Estate of Norman O’Neill and Stephen Lloyd (biographical texts). All rights reserved.

 

Katherine Jessel and Stephen Lloyd explicitly agree to the free use of the texts on this website and the images from the PHOTOS page (not the the rest of the website) in concert programmes and publications in print and online, provided the website and the authors of the texts are acknowledged as the source.

Further information on O’Neill Copyright may be found under the IMPRESSUM section of this web site.