Pleyel Ensemble on BBC Radio 3’s ‘In Tune’

We are delighted to have been invited on to Radio 3’s ‘In Tune’ programme on October 8th 2019 (next week!). You can hear us playing live after 6pm. 

They are making a feature of us to highlight our forthcoming Residency at the Two Moors Festival in Devon. The Festival runs from 11th to the 20th October in a variety of venues in Devon (Exmoor and Dartmoor, hence Two Moors.)

We will be giving three concerts: horn trios on 13th October at 7.30 pm in St. Andrew’s Church, Ashburton, piano trios on the 14th October at 11 am at Blundell’s School, Tiverton and a programme of piano quartets on 17th October at 2.30 pm in Okehampton College, Okehampton. More details HERE .

NEW CD REVIEW from the British Music Society’s Newsletter.

All three works on this CD are World Première recordings, quite surprising regarding the exceptional quality of the music. Arnold Cooke is a master of contrapuntal chamber composition.

Pianist Harvey Davies of the Pleyel ensemble has written a comprehensive and lucid programme note picking out all the details of the history and construction of the music that it is important to know.

He highlights composers who were inspirational for Arnold Cooke, his teacher Hindemith, Shostakovich and finally Brahms. His inspiration is most discernable in the Quartet. The influence of Alun Hoddinott who commissioned the work is evident only in the Quintet.

In the Trio the music is terse and highly concentrated with great clarity of structure. Thematic content is passed skilfully from one instrument to another in the first movement. The second, more overtly melodic, is rather melancholy while the finale is lighter and often rather playful.

The Piano Quartet is instantly more broadly melodic and following the suggestion of Harvey Davies more Brahmsian. Piano and strings stand out from one another more in this work, each taking the lead in turns. ‘Scherzo’ in Italian means jest or joke, and with his playful interplay of piano and strings Cooke’s music delivers that idea splendidly.

Melody stands forth in the slow movement, Lento, especially in an attractive passage where the cello takes the lead. In the lively Rondo Allegro, imaginative use of variation is important and at the conclusion with his coda, Cooke gives us that bit extra for our money.

Having been composed some twenty years later, the Piano Quintet is more melodically angular reaching out towards the outer edges of tonality. The Scherzo is, as Harvey Davies suggests, very  reminiscent of Scherzos by Shostakovich in the way in which melody and rhythm are rousingly combined. As in his other slow movements, the Andante is melancholy but melodically attractive becoming almost impressionist towards the conclusion. The Quintet concludes in lively and animated spirit with Arnold Cooke’s most imaginative contrapuntal writing.