Cyril Smith

Cyril Smith : Cyril Smith plays Dohnanyi Variations on a nursery theme Op. 25 (1/2)

a funny parody of famous musicians (Wagner, R. Strauss, Brahms, Debussy, Saint - Saens etc...), played by a wonderful pianist ...

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

Liverpool Philarmonic Orchestra
Dr. Malcolm Sargent

recorded in 1944

Cyril Smith (born Middlesbrough, England, August 11, 1909; died London, August 2, 1974) studied with Herbert Fryer from 1926 to 1930 at the Royal College of Music, winning medals and prizes including the Daily Express piano contest in 1928 and made his concert début in Birmingham in 1929. Cyril Smith performed as an off-screen piano accompanist in several of the 30-line Baird system television broadcasts of 1935 and joined the BBC when they took over. It was at the BBC's early television studios that he met his second-wife-to-be pianist Phyllis Sellick. In 1934 Cyril left the BBC to take up an appointment as professor of pianoforte at the Royal College of Music. Cyril and Phyllis married in 1937 pursuing solo careers. During the second world war Cyril performed concerts for ENSA but in 1941 he and his wife began performing together as a piano duo at the Henry Wood Promenade Concerts making many international concert tours for ENSA and the British Council touring the Far East in 1945 where the hazards to contend with included small animals lodged in pianos and out-of-tune instruments.

Cyril's work was largely from the Rachmaninoff, Chopin, Schubert, Balakirev, and Albéniz repertoire. Malcolm Arnold, Sir Arthur Bliss, Gordon Jacob and Vaughan Williams also wrote music for the duo. Among Cyril Smith's many performances were appearances at The Barn Theatre, Oxted in the 1930s and at the Proms in 1930, 1937, 1941, 1944, 1946, 1953 and 1969.

In 1956 while at Kharkov at the start of a concert tour of Russia (then the Soviet Union) he suffered a thrombosis and stroke which paralysed his left arm, however with music arranged by themselves, or written or arranged by composer friends Cyril and Phyllis were able to continue to perform three-handed music concerts as a piano duo.Notable among the works composed for them was Malcolm Arnold's Concerto for Two Pianos (3 hands), opus 104 dedicated to Cyril Smith and Phyllis Sellick who premiered it at the Proms in 1969 and recorded it in 1970.