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20 June 2024
Arnold Cooke: The Complete Violin Sonatas

The Pleyel Ensemble

Arnold Cooke (1906 - 2005) was born in Yorkshire and eventually moved to Kent, living a stone’s throw from the home of MPR, amongst Kentish oast houses, hop gardens and apple orchards. Cooke studied firstly at Cambridge University with EJ Dent (Professor of Music, Cambridge University) moving to Berlin to study with Hindemith. He went on to teach at the Royal Manchester College of Music and moved to London, shortly after which came wartime service in the Royal Navy after which he took a post at Trinity College of Music in London. His music is always attractive but carefully crafted and displays a fascinating mixture between English and German styles. The Sonata no. 2 for Violin and Piano is the only work here to have been recorded previously (only once). The CD was recorded in the excellent acoustic of the Carole Nash Room at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester and features superb musical performances, the first of four CDs already recorded.


Arnold Cooke: Sonata No.1 in G major for Violin and Piano I. Allegro moderato II. Lento ma non troppo - Vivace - Lento ma non troppo - Vivace III. Allegro ma non troppo

Arnold Cooke: Sonata for Solo Violin I. Andante II. Allegro vivace III. Lento IV. Molto allegro

Arnold Cooke: Duo for Violin and Viola I. Introduction: Lento espressivo II. Allegro non troppo III. Andante IV. Molto allegro

Arnold Cooke: Sonata No.2 in A major for Violin and Piano I. Allegro con brio II. Andante con moto III. Allegro vivace

Recorded in The Carole Nash Room, Royal Northern College of Music, Manchester on 14th July 2016 (Tracks 1-3) & 28th-29th August 2017 (Tracks 4TRUE4)
Design: Hannah Whale, Fruition Creative Concepts
Recording Engineer: David Coyle
Recording Producer: Mike Purton & Heather Bills
Total Time: 71.13
Release Date: November 2018

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.

MPR103     View Booklet

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