Saturday, April 23, 2011

Great Scott Mystery

Yesterday, after reading through the violin part of Cyril Scott's Violin Sonata (written in 1908, and dedicated to Ethel Barns), I grabbed my copy of Scott's Music: Its Secret Influence Throughout the Ages in search of some reference to Barns. I first read the book when I was at Juilliard after it was recommended to me by David Diamond. I found a first edition somewhere, and I read its rather "over the top" insides once in a while. I happened to notice the inscription inside the cover, which is clearly written in the hand of an older person. There is some reason to believe that it might be the hand of the 70-year-old Ethel Barns, considering the initials.

The "Hollywood" puzzles me. Barns could have been in Hollywood in 1944 (we know so little about her comings and goings). There's also the matter of the code below the inscription: Tol0 (I can't figure out how to type a zero with a slash through it).


Raining Acorns said...

Really loved this post. So many fascinating little bits of history embedded in it, and I enjoyed the link to your Diamond piece, too.

Elaine Fine said...

Thank you! The book is really worth a trip to the library to read. Be sure to take along a salt shaker. You'll need more than a grain.

Lisa Hirsch said...

Is it possible that the text is an inscription to Barns?

Elaine Fine said...

Hmm. I never thought of that. Inside there are words underlined in blue and red pencil, and then there are lead pencil markings in the margin here and there--in what looks like the same hand as the inscriber.

Lisa Hirsch said...

Ooooh, hmm! It sounds as though you have seen samples of Barns's handwriting, so indeed, maybe she's the annotator.

Anonymous said...

Ethel Barns did not have a middle intial H.
Although she separated from her husband in about 1914, she did not give him a divorce and so presumably would not have been giving herself a final initial "B" in the 1940s.
Her birth registration is:=

1874 MAR

Barns Ethel Islington 1b 321

[Although registered in the first quarter of 1874, she was actually born in December 1873 - a period of 6 weeks after birth was allowed for registration. Some authorities have incorrectly given her year of birth as 1880]

Her marriage registration is:-

1899 JUN

Barns Ethel Marylebone 1a 1193
Phillips John Charles H Marylebone 1a 1193

Her death registration is:-

DEC 1948

Phillips Ethel B 74 Maidenhead 6a 39

Her husband, professionally known as "Charles Phillips", was a baraitone. Overmany yeares they organised series of concerts together.

His death registration is:-

1936 SEP

Phillips John C H 72 Fulham 1a 257

In each death registration, the numbers [ie 74 and 72] given before the place are the age in years at death provided to the registrar.