Arnold Cooke - Symphonies 4 & 5 | Lyrita REAM1123

Arnold Cooke - Symphonies 4 & 5


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Label: Lyrita

Cat No: REAM1123

Format: CD

Number of Discs: 1

Genre: Orchestral

Release Date: 12th February 2016



BBC Symphony Orchestra
BBC Northern Symphony Orchestra


John Pritchard
Bernard Keefe


Cooke, Arnold

Symphony no.4 in E flat
Symphony no.5 in G


BBC Symphony Orchestra
BBC Northern Symphony Orchestra


John Pritchard
Bernard Keefe


‘My music is mainly based on traditional procedures and principles … I do not have any particular theories of composition, just a natural inclination for it.’

These clear and precise observations by Arnold Cooke (1906-2005 ) are indicative of a practical approach to his craft. During a long creative life he abstained discreetly from a battery of stylistic trends, including serialism, aleatoricism, minimalism, musique concrète and electronic music, and established single-mindedly a substantial canon notable for its unfaltering cogency and integrity.

In his review of the BBC broadcast of Cooke’s Symphony no.4, Meirion Bowen commented that, ‘The format is entirely that of the traditional four-movement symphony – crystal clear to follow, perfectly proportioned in the best academic traditions.’ The score has a certain Brucknerian grandeur and it is a tribute to the closely-argued intensity of Cooke’s writing that he achieves this feeling of thematic opulence in a work which is roughly half the time span of an average Bruckner symphony.


In 1952 Richard Itter, the founder of Lyrita, began to make domestic recordings of BBC transmissions using state-of-the-art disc and tape recorders. He documented his collection but rarely listened to it, thus preserving a pristine archive. The Lyrita Recorded Edition Trust began a transfer programme in 2014 with the intention to release the best and rarest of these recordings to the public.

Symphony no.4 (1974):
BBC broadcast, 15 January 1975. First performance (live from the Royal Festival Hall)

Symphony no.5 (1979):

BBC broadcast, 17 July 1981

Total playing time: 59.44

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