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CYRIL SMITH
English pianist (1909 - 1974)



Cyril Smith was the son of a foundry bricklayer.  He studied at the Royal College of Music under Herbert Fryer who had been a pupil of Tobias Matthay and Ferruccio Busoni.  Actually, the words used in both cases were "had some some lessons with".  And yet this flower bloomed under what might have been called the most unlikely of circumstances.

He married the esteemed British pianist Phyllis Sellick, a brilliant pianist in her own right, with whom he performed four hand piano misic.  In 1956 he suffered a stoke that paralysed his leftt arm. Thereafter the couple continued to perform, arranging music for three hands.  On this page is a very lovely performance of the Schubert Fantasy in F minor for three hands they made shortly befire his death.

A number of important composers composed works especially for them including Sir Malcolm Arnold, Sir Arthur Bliss, Gordon Jacob, Lennox Berkeley and Ralph Vaughan Williams. Works for piano (three hands) and orchestra by Arnold and Jabob are included below.

Cyril Smith's Chopin Barcarolle is very beautiful, and the contrasting sections in the scherzo are really interesting if not my ideal approach to playing this music.  His Rachmaninoff is stunning.  And the performance of the Dohnanyi masterpiece, one of the greatest of musical parodies, is sensational.

And there is a Chopin Nocturne performed by Cyril Smith and three other pianists, Murdoch, Rubinstein and Cortot.  I must say that inspite of gems by Cortot and the Rubinstein of the 1930s when his most glorious recordings were made, I find Smith's performance irresistable.



Bach  "Ertöt uns durch dein Güte" from BWV 22




Mozart  Piano Concerto in C major, K 467
Sir Malcom Sargent conducting the London Symphony Orchestra

i Allegro maestoso
13:37ii Andante
21:59iii Allegro vivace assai

recorded in 1937




Chopin  Barcarolle in F major, Op 60

recorded in 1947




Chopin  Nocturne in F♯ major, Op 15~2

William Murdoch (rec. 1933)
03:18 ➢ Artur Rubinstein (rec. 1936)
07:17 ➢ Cyril Smith (rec. 1947)
11:02 ➢ Alfred Cortot (rec. 1948)




Chopin  Scherzo 1 in B minor, Op 20

recorded in 1947




Delibes-Dohnanyi  "Naïla" Waltz

recorded in 1944




Rachmaninoff  Preludes

recorded in 1946


in G minor, Op 23~5



in G major, Op 32~5
recorded in 1946




Rachmaninoff  Piano Concerto 2 in C minor, Op 18

i Moderato
ii Adagio sostenuto
iii Allegro scherzando

Sir Malcolm Sargent conducting an unidentified symphony orchestra




Dohnanyi  Variations on a nursery theme, Op 25
Sir Malcolm Sargent conducting the Liverpool Philarmonic Orchestra

recorded in 1944


Introduzione - Maestoso
Tema - Allegro
Variation 1 Poco più mosso
Variation 2 Risoluto
Variation 3
Variation 4 Molto meno mosso (Allegretto moderato)
Variation 5 Più mosso
Variation 6 Ancora più mosso (Allegro)
Variation 7 Walzer - Tempo giusto
Variation 8 Alla marcia - Allegro moderato
Variation 9 Presto. Andante rubato



Variation 10 Passacaglia - Adagio non troppo
Variation 11 Choral - Maestoso
Finale: Fugato - Allegro vivace




Schubert  Fantasie in F minor, D 940
[version for three hands by Smith and Sellick]
with Phyllis Sellick, piano

recorded in 1974




Gordon Jacob (1895-1984)  Rhapsody for Piano (three hands) and Brass Band
Per Ohlsson conducting the Solna Brass of Stockholm




Arnold  Concerto for two pianos (three hands) and orchestre (1969)

i Allegro moderato
05:43ii Andante con moto
11:05iii Allegro

Sir Malcolm Arnold conducting an unspecified symphony orchestra










For those of you who enjoy murder mysteries, here is my first with a strong musical polemic as background

Murder in the House of the Muse

which is also available as an audiobook.



And this is the more recently published second mystery in the series:

Murder Follows the Muse



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