Arnold Cooke: Complete String Quartets, Volume One

Catalogue No: TOCC0696
EAN/UPC: 5060113446961
Release Date: 2023-08-04
Composer: Arnold Cooke
Artists: The Bridge Quartet

The music of the Yorkshire-born Arnold Cooke (1906–2005) – solidly constructed, inventively contrapuntal, lyrical and energetic in turns – does not deserve the neglect it suffered even in its composer’s lifetime. This first album, of two presenting all five of Cooke’s string quartets, underlines his reputation for resourceful craftsmanship, presented in a style which sits downstream from Paul Hindemith, with whom he studied in Berlin, and from Béla Bartók.

The Bridge Quartet
Colin Twigg and Catherine Schofield, violins
Michael Schofield, viola
Lucy Wilding, cello

Listen To This Recording:

String Quartet No. 3 (1967) (21:46)

  1. I. Allegro energico (4:57)
  2. II. Andante (7:44)
  3. III. Scherzo: Molto allegro (3:16)
  4. IV. Allegro vivace (5:49)

String Quartet No. 5 (1978) (9:13)

  1. Moderato– (3:40)
  2. Allegro– (4:12)
  3. Presto (1:21)

String Quartet No. 1 (1933) (25:04)

  1. I. Fuga: Lento non troppo (8:04)
  2. II. Scherzo: Vivace (5:18)
  3. III. Intermezzo: Allegretto (5:27)
  4. IV. Finale: Presto (6:15)

All First Recordings

5 reviews for Arnold Cooke: Complete String Quartets, Volume One

  1. :

    ‘The Bridge Quartet play with immaculate technique and understanding. The fine recording and the informative notes add value to a release that does full justice to Cooke’s solid and strongly crafted music. Volume 2 is eagerly expected.’

    —Hubert Culot, MusicWeb International

  2. :

    ‘The Bridge Quartet play this music with commendable insight. The performing tradition of these quartets is exiguous. […]

    With fine booklet notes and a well-judged church acoustic that never congeals or spreads unhelpfully, this is a warmly welcomed disc for those who appreciate the single-minded art of a somewhat underappreciated composer.’

    —Jonathan Woolf, MusicWeb Internatioanl

  3. :

    ‘The performance is committed and enthusiastic. The Bridge Quartet has played these works at concert venues over the past few years, and are clearly powerful advocates of Cooke’s chamber music. The recording is ideal. […]

    Each Quartet is an accomplished piece of writing, technically involved and satisfying to all concerned. Even a cursory hearing will not detect any element that can be described as “improving” for either the performers or the audience.’

    —John France, MusicWeb International

  4. :

    ‘Toccata often arranges a disc in the order that the producer thinks will make for the best listening experience rather than in chronological order, and so these quartets are given in the order of Nos. 3, 5, and 1. […]

    Overall, these quartets are likely to appeal to listeners who are attracted to the music of Hindemith, Bartók, or Britten. Cooke is not a mere imitator, […] I can say that the three pieces on this disc, which constitute Vol. 1 of Cooke’s complete string quartets, serve as motivation to explore further. The performances by the Bridge Quartet sound completely committed, and Toccata’s recorded sound is well balanced and placed at just the right perspective to provide both warmth and clarity.’

    —Henry Fogel, Fanfare Magazine, Jan/Feb 2024

  5. :

    ‘Cooke’s music, as anti-emotional as early Hindemith but generally more subdued, works out its rigorous patterns with a clarity that is ultimately very satisfying. […]

    for a composer so meticulous over structure and contrapuntal energy, the string quartet is a natural home. […]

    For over 30 years, the Bridge Quartet has been promoting British music in their extensive touring programs around the world. They play Cooke’s quartets with robust energy and clarity. This is a fine release of chamber music that deserves at least the occasional outing, and augers well for the concluding volume in the series.’

    —Phillip Scott, Fanfare Magazine, February 2024

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