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03 October 2023
Arnold Cooke: Chamber Music for Flute, Clarinet, Cello and Piano

The Pleyel Ensemble

This is the latest release in MPR’s critically acclaimed series of largely unrecorded chamber music by the unjustly neglected British composer Arnold Cooke and features music for flute, clarinet, cello and piano played by the Pleyel Ensemble. This CD contains the Trio for Clarinet, Cello and Piano (1965), the Quartet for Flute, Clarinet, Cello and Piano (1965) with works for solo clarinet and flute plus Cooke’s fine Sonatina for Alto Flute and Piano. It’s a labour of love for Producer and MPR label owner Mike Purton as Arnold Cooke lived at the other end of the road where MPR are based in the village of Five Oak Green in the beautiful English county of Kent, known as The Garden of England, surrounded by fruit trees and hop fields. Although Cooke studied with Hindemith, his music sounds very English but with roots in the contrapuntal music of J.S. Bach. Listeners may also detect the influence of Brahms and Shostakovitch, but Cooke’s music definitely highlights the composer’s own individual and very pleasing voice.


Arnold Cooke: Trio for Clarinet, Cello and Piano, D98

I. Allegro non troppo

II. Vivace

III. Lento ma poco con moto

IV. Allegro assai

Arnold Cooke: Quartet for Flute, Clarinet, Cello and PiaNo. , D93

I. Allegro

II. Andante

III. Presto

Arnold Cooke: Sonatina for Alto Flute and Piano, D156

I. Allegro moderato

II. Andante

III. Allegro

Arnold Cooke: Pavane for Flute and Piano, D112

Arnold Cooke: Prelude and Dance for Clarinet and Piano, D142

I. Prelude: Moderato

II. Dance: Vivace

Arnold Cooke: Alla Marcia for Clarinet and Piano, D38

Recorded in The Carole Nash Room, Royal Northern College of Music, Manchester on 28th August 2017
Design: Hannah Whale, Fruition Creative Concepts
Recording Engineer: David Coyle
Recording Producer: Mike Purton
Total Time: 75.48
Release Date: May 2020

The Pleyel Ensemble brings together some of the UK’s most experienced chamber musicians, many of whom work at the Royal Northern College of Music. The group comprises strings, wind and piano so offers a comprehensive overview of the chamber music repertoire. Formed in Manchester in January 2011 and directed by Harvey Davies and Heather Bills, the ensemble has now given over 250 concerts together and has an enormous and varied repertoire of chamber music. They are Making Music Recommended Artists for the 2019/20 season having been chosen for the second time in three years and have appeared at Music Societies and Festivals all over the UK.

The ensemble is named for the Classical composer Ignaz Pleyel (1757TRUE831), a brilliant musician and businessman, who, in addition to writing a large body of accessible chamber music, helped increase the popularity of this wonderful kind of music-making amongst amateurs and professionals as both music publisher and piano manufacturer in the early nineteenth century. To reflect this, their repertoire includes music by lesser-known 18th and 19th century composers. They are also particularly committed to performing British chamber music and have an active programme of commissioning works as well as championing composers who deserve yet better recognition such as Cooke, Berkeley and Alwyn.

The Ensemble runs its own concert series in Didsbury and Chapel-en-le-Frith presenting exciting projects such as the complete Haydn piano trios and Mozart’s complete works for violin and piano.

MPR109     View Booklet

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