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A Greville Cooke Catalogue

A Preliminary Overview

'Cormorant Crag' is one of a number of works that have been a personal desideratum for the last 35 years. I remember sorting through a great pile of music in a second-hand bookshop in Llandudno. I had been looking inside an album of vocal music by a composer now escaped my mind. However it was published by Joseph Williams and on the back cover there was a partial catalogue. My eyes fell on the poetic title – ‘Cormorant Crag.’ There was just something so evocative about this work that I wanted to hear it. I looked carefully through the rest of the music just in case it was there. I was not lucky. It was not until many years later that I came across a British Music Society Journal review of Georgian piano music. There, printed in extremely small scale was the complete piece. Of course I tried to play it, but it is well beyond me. Although just 'sight' reading it in my head made me convinced that I had been right to be curious about this piece back in my boyhood. Everything about the ‘look’ of the music suggested John Ireland or perhaps Frank Bridge (whose own piano works are relatively unknown). This was a true ‘undiscovered country.’

It was not until a few years ago that I discovered some other evocative pieces by Cooke. Who could resist a piece called Reef's End or Haldon Hills? Yet the scores have always remained elusive. Of course I could nip up to the British Library or the Royal Academy of Music and inspect them any time I choose. But I suppose I hope that they will turn up in some second hand music shop before I am much older –then I can have my own copies on the music desk.

It would be a truly ideal world if some worthy pianist such as Eric Parkin, Leslie De’ath or Alan Cuckston would take up some of the best of these pieces for a new CD!

The raison d’etre of this catalogue is to discover more about Greville Cooke and his music. I write it as a seeker rather than a self styled expert! Any comments, corrections and anecdotes will always be welcome.

It is quite hard to piece together Greville Cooke’s career. There is no reference in Grove and web-searches do not disclose much information. What few notes I have about Cooke were given to me by Rob Barnett or found in Philip Scowcroft’s Light Music Garlands.

Greville Cooke was born in 1894 and soon displayed an interest in music. However he was to multi-task for most of his life. His musical activities were conducted alongside his career as a clergyman in the Church of England. He was eventually to rise to become a Canon of Peterborough. Of course, there was a considerable crossover of interests. He was to compose a number of anthems and hymns for church use. Strangely no organ solos seem to have been written.

He had good education at Hamilton House, Ealing before going up to the Royal Academy of Music. After study here he went to Christ’s College, Cambridge as an organ scholar. After a succession of qualifications he was ordained to the Anglican Priesthood in 1918. There seems to be no record of any war service. In fact he seems to have been studying during the entire war. He received his BA and B. Mus. in 1916.

After ordination he served livings in Tavistock, Ealing, St Paul’s’ Cransley and Buxted. His final appointment was as a non- residential canon of Peterborough Cathedral in 1955. However his incumbencies could not have been too stressful: he was a professor at the Royal Academy from 1925 to 1959. He was also in considerable demand as an adjudicator at local music festivals.

Greville Cooke died in 1992 at a very convincing 98 years old.



Bach Prelude No. 9 from Das Wohltemperirte Clavier "God is our help and Strength"

Arranged by Greville Cooke
Joseph Williams, London 1929
St. Cecilia Series 19 No. 17

Bread of the World – Eucharistic Anthem
Words by Bishop Heber
Joseph Williams, London 1955
Church Music No.120

Claribel – part song for S.A.T.B
Words by Lord Tennyson
Hawkes & Son, London 1928

Cobwebs - A Quiet Carol for eight voices
Words by Lucy Bickersteth
Joseph Williams, London 1956

Deep River – Negro Spiritual arranged for men’s voices
J Curwen & Sons, London 1926
The Apollo Club, No.636

Drop, slow tears – Anthem
Words by P. Fletcher
J. Curwen & Sons, London 1933

Here Beauty Dwells – Hymn (Unison or harmony)
Words by Greville Cooke
Joseph Williams, London 1943

Here Beauty Dwells – Anthem for S.A.T.B (Unaccompanied)
Words by Greville Cooke
Joseph Williams, London 1958

How can I help England? Home thoughts from the sea.

Part Song for S.A.T.B
Words by Robert Browning
Hawkes & Son, London 1928

Jesus Christ, my Heart’s true Captain – Hymn (unison or harmony)
Words by Greville Cooke
Joseph Williams, London 1933

Jillian of Berry –part song for men’s voices
Words by John Fletcher
Bosworth & Co. London 1945

Let us with a Gladsome Mind – Thanksgiving Anthem
Words by John Milton
J. Curwen & Sons, London 1933

Lo! God is here! – Festival Anthem, written for 1300 year anniversary of Peterborough Cathedral
Words by G. Tersteegen, translated by John Wesley
Joseph Williams, London 1955

Nobody knows – for male voice chorus. Negro Spiritual
Words Traditional
J Curwen & Sons, London 1926
The Apollo Club No.635

O Jesus I have promised…Confirmation Hymn
Words by J.E. Bode
Novello & Co. London 1923

Oh! Hush thee my Baby. Seal Lullaby (for mixed voices)
Words by Rudyard Kipling
Hawkes & Son, London 1928

Oh, to be in England…Home Thoughts from Abroad – part song for S.A.T.B
Words by Robert Browning
Hawkes & Son, London 1928

Seven Lace Tells of Bedfordshire, Buckingham & Northamptonshire for two part treble voices
Words by Greville Cooke
Joseph Williams, London 1953

Shepherd Boy’s Song – Unison song
Words by John Bunyan
Banks & Son, York 1936
York Series No.1232

Sing, my soul – Processional Hymn
Words – not known
Publisher – unknown

This Joyful Eastertide –anthem for Easter (based on Old Dutch Melody)
Words by Dr G.R Woodward
Joseph Williams, London 1936
St Cecilia Series 2 No.15

Weep no more, sad fountains – Unison Song
Words by John Dowland
Joseph Williams, London 1936

Incidental Music

For all Eternity (1935) for the Strand Theatre.
Details not known.


High Marley Rest – Melody for Violin & Piano
Joseph Williams, London 1935

Sea-Croon for Violoncello & Piano
Joseph Williams, London 1929


Prelude for Strings

Joseph Williams, London 1940
String Orchestra Series


Bargain Basement: A suite of seven pieces for piano
Joseph Williams, London 1936

Cormorant Crag, for pianoforte
Joseph Williams, London 1934

Gothic Prelude for Piano
Joseph Williams, London 1952

Haldon Hills (Devon) – for pianoforte
Joseph Williams, London 1929

High Marley Rest – Melody for Pianoforte
Joseph Williams, London 1933

In the Cathedral – for piano
Joseph Williams, London 1929

La Petite - A Period Piece for Pianoforte
Bosworth & Co. London 1946

Meadowsweet – for pianoforte
Joseph Williams, London 1929

Over the Hills – A Suite of Three Short Pieces for the Piano
Joseph Williams, London 1934

Reef’s End – for Pianoforte
Joseph Williams, London 1934

Song Prelude – for Piano
Joseph Williams, London 1955

Sundown – for piano
Joseph Williams, London 1953

Time-Keepers – a suite for 4 hands on one or two pianos
Joseph Williams, London 1935

Whispering Willows – for Piano
Joseph Williams, London 1936


The Bells of Heaven - song
Words by Ralph Hodgson
Joseph Williams, London 1936

But Yesterday – song
Words by George Barlow
Joseph Williams, London 1929

Eileen Aroon "When, like the early rose"

Words by Gerald Griffin
Joseph Williams, London 1929

My Heaven – "They say that on the streets of gold"

Words by Greville Cooke
Joseph Williams, London c1930

The Shepherdess

Words by Alice Meynell
Stainer & Bell, London 1921

Also the following:-

Pet’s Corner for piano; Up the Ladder for piano; A Day at the Sea for piano;
Daydreams – song; Your Gentle Care – song; Bereft – song

No details of these works are available.

John France: August 2005

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