The Chamber Music of Arnold Cooke


Arnold Cooke (1906 – 2005)

(bronze bust by Gloria Loring commissioned by the Mayhurst Music Society)

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The Pleyel Ensemble are delighted to announce a major project in partnership with MPR Records to record a selection of the chamber works of the English composer Arnold Cooke. The majority will be world première recordings including Cooke’s first Sonata for violin and piano (1939), the Sonata for solo violin (1969), Duo for violin and viola (1935), Sonata for two pianos (1936-37), Piano Trio (1944), Quartet for piano and strings (1949) and the Quintet for piano and strings (1969).

It is inconceivable that a composer as eminent and prominent during the twentieth century should be so quickly overlooked so this project aims to bring Cooke’s music to wider public attention. Having studied with Edward Dent at Cambridge University and Paul Hindemith in Berlin, Cooke worked as Professor of Composition and Harmony at the Royal Manchester College of Music during the 1930s and from 1947 until 1978 at Trinity College of Music in London. His 180 compositions span seven decades of creative activity during which time he produced music in all the main genres including six symphonies, concerti, a ballet, two operas, songs, choral music and a vast body of finely-wrought chamber music. His accessible music was frequently commissioned by prominent performers such as Dennis Brain, the Griller Quartet, Sophie Wyss, Lèon Goossens, Yfrah Neaman, Carl Dolmetsch and many times by the BBC.

With so much of Cooke’s music now neglected, we feel that this project is both timely and necessary. Cooke stands alongside other members of his extraordinary generation of British composers: William Walton, Lennox Berkeley, Elizabeth Lutyens and Michael Tippett to name but a few. Each had his or her unique voice which together have created a rich legacy of music documenting their experiences of a turbulent century.

Please contact Harvey Davies HERE for more details or if you would like to subscribe to our imminent CDs.