Derek B. Scott: Orchestral Music Vol. 2 Entertains

This is the second volume of Derek B. Scott’s music from Toccata Classics. Volume one provided a good introduction to Scott with a collection of short works. Volume two presents some of his extended compositions. And, I think, it’s a stronger release.

Scott is an established authority on British music hall, operetta, and musical theater. As a composer, he uses that knowledge to create appealing, well-crafted compositions. 

His first symphony begins with a user-friendly theme that borrows early Brit-pop modality. But there’s nothing trite about it. Scott explores his ideas in interesting and deceptively complex ways. 

Symphony No. 2 was composed in 1997, two years after the first. This work shows Scott’s development as a symphonist. The themes are still clearly defined and easy to follow. But the overall composition seems to owe less to popular music forms. 

To be clear, neither symphony goes for Mahler’s All-Encompassing Pronouncements on Life’s Meaning. But they weren’t meant to. Like Scott’s genre of study, his music is designed to entertain. But also to enlighten. 

Accessibility doesn’t have to mean hackwork. Scott has carefully constructed these pieces and shown great imagination in doing so. They’re accessible, yet lead the listener in unexpected directions. 

I thoroughly enjoyed them, and found they rewarded repeated listening. 

The Liepāja Symphony Orchestra direct by Paul Mann deliver some fine performances. This music isn’t deathly serious. Mann and the orchestra get it, and their interpretation help us get it, too.  

Derek B. Scott: Orchestral Music, Volume Two
Symphony No. 1 in A flat major, Op. 23; Symphony No. 2 in G minor, Op. 26
The Silver Sword: Tone Poem, Op. 39
Liepāja Symphony Orchestra; Paul Mann, conductor
Toccata Classics TOCC 0646

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