Ivor Gurney and Marion Scott

Ivor Gurney and Marion Scott

Song of Pain and Beauty

Pamela Blevins


Currently out of stock

Personal eBook

Boydell Press



Insightful account of the life and works of two of the most important figures in twentieth-century British cultural life.
This dual biography of Ivor Gurney and Marion Scott tells the dramatic story of two geniuses who met at the Royal College of Music in 1911 and formed an unlikely partnership that illuminated and enriched the musical and literary worlds in which they moved. Gurney's poetry and songs have taken their place as part of the inheritance of England. Scott, Gurney's strongest advocate, emerges from his shadow for the first time. Her own remarkable achievements as a pioneering music critic, musicologist, advocate of contemporary music and women musicians place her among the most influential and respected women of her generation.

Based on original research, this is the first biography of Gurney since 1978 and the only biography of Scott. It offers new, in-depth perspectives on Gurney's attempts to create music and poetry while struggling to overcome the bipolar illness that eventually derailed his genius, and restores Marion Scott's rightful place in music history.

Pamela Blevins is a former journalist and managing editor of Signature, a magazine about women in classical music. She has published widely on British composers and poets.

Naxos Ivor Gurney CD


60 black and white illustrations
382 pages
24.4x17.2 cm
Hardback, 9781843834212, November 2008
Personal eBook, 9781782042532, November 2008
Boydell Press
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Table of Contents

London, 1911
A Clash of Wills
An Island of Serenity
Friendship and Poetry
The Gurney Family
Golden Days
A Lad's Love
The First Breakdown
The Lost Year
The Experiment
A Partnership
The Dirty Business of War
'Love has come to bind me fast'
'You would rather know me dead...'
An Uncertain Course
A New Mastery
The Tide of Darkness
'There is dreadful hell within me...'
Asylum -- 'the soul halts here'
The Last Chance
'A fantastic mix-up'
Bitter Troubles and Suffering
'In time to come'


In the cruelly brief space allotted to him, Gurney achieved something lapidary and touching: he reigns as the supreme miniaturist of twentieth century British music. MUSIC & LETTERS

(A) fine biography. (...) This biography should go some way toward bringing Ivor Gurney back into our ken. That it suggest we ought to know more about Marion Scott is also useful. FANFARE MAGAZINE
A remarkable new biography (...) that fans of Ivor Gurney will certainly appreciate. Blevins has spared no detailed, which makes the book riveting from cover to cover. SUITE101
This new biography...comes as near as we're likely to get to the whole story. For Pamela Blevins has not only researched, sifted and assessed every available source with enormous diligence, but she has brought to the foreground the hitherto under-exposed figure of writer and musicologist Marion Scott, and has thus both widened the lens and concentrated the focus of Gurney studies...both Gurney and Scott (are restored) to their rightful place in musical history. BBC MUSIC MAGAZINE
The material about Scott is...invaluable...and the book as a whole, with its superb photographs, will prove a vital source for future researchers. TIMES LITERARY SUPPLEMENT
Draw(s) extensively on the published letters as well as on a good deal of fresh research including an informative investigation of Gurney's bipolar condition...Blevins brings a journalistic zeal to the interaction of these two lives.GRAMOPHONE
A striking account of two lives bound inextricably together...beautifully produced and lavishly illustrated. FRIENDS OF THE DYMOCK POETS NEWSLETTER
This remarkable volume is a penetrating reassessment of Ivor Gurney...but more than that, a searching consideration of the life and achievements of Marion Scott. CHORAL JOURNAL