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Arnold COOKE (1906-2005)
Concerto in D for string orchestra (1948) [16:07]
Symphony No. 1 (1947) [36:40]
Jabez and the Devil - Suite (1959) [18:02]
London Philharmonic Orchestra/Nicholas Braithwaite
rec. 1970, 1979, 1977. ADD
LYRITA SRCD.203 [70:53]


 


In every month’s tranche of Lyritas we get a mix of recordings first issued on LP as well as others never previously released in any format. The symphony and concerto here are completely new to the catalogue. They have been sitting on the shelf since the early 1990s. The suite was a filler on the Lyrita Recorded Edition LP SRCS 78 alongside Cooke’s Symphony No. 3 in D which now seems beached and high and dry in the absence of a suitable coupling. Lyrita may yet surprise us.

The limber Hindemithian Concerto in D for strings is athletically sprung and in the finale has surely drunk deep of the dazzle and effervescence of Tippett’s Concerto for Double String Orchestra. You must hear this especially under Braithwaite’s powerfully winged direction. The solo voices in the first movement recalled Hindemith’s Schwanendreher viola concerto.

From just the year before comes the four movement First Symphony. In its first movement it is Tippett again who is recalled while in the second it alternates between Cooke’s maitre, the scherzo of the Walton First Symphony and the Rawsthorne Symphonic Studies. The Lento slowly echoes with that Rawsthorne reference but the reminiscence is lent a most magical majesty. This occasionally looks in a most unaccustomed direction – towards those grand wheeling Handelian gestures in Finzi’s Grand Toccata and Fugue and in the Cello Concerto.

The finale is gripping and teeming with rhythmic bubbles. It is not without poetry either as you will hear from the pp horns at 6:33. This is to be contrasted with the barked out majesty of the grand finale.

From the Jabez and the Devil music we hear a suite of eight very varied movements crackling with Stravinskian invention and engagement.

It’s all most brilliantly recorded and performed and well annotated.

Rob Barnett

see also review by John France

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