Three World Premier Sonatas by Arnold Cooke

Arnold Cooke came to prominence in the 1930’s, along with Michael Tippett and Benjamin Britten. This disc presents three string sonatas written at various points in his career. The earliest work on the album is his Viola Sonata from 1937. Although the work features warm, elegiac passages, it’s a far cry from the viola music of Ralph Vaughan Williams, written around the same time. Cooke’s harmonies are sparer, and each movement is tightly constructed to present his ideas as efficiently as possible.

The Violin Sonata No. 2 of 1951 shows little of the post-war modernist tendencies of the era. Cooke’s work is tonally centered, even though both the violin and piano wander far from the source. The writing is even less “English” in sound than the viola sonata, though still quite melodious in its own way.

Cooke wrote his Cello Sonata No. 2 in 1980, towards the end of his life. To my ears, there’s a nostalgic quality to the music. The harmonies are more settled, and the cello positively sings in some of the passages. Cooke wasn’t afraid to write beautiful music, fashionable or not. And that’s the best description I have for this work — beautiful.

Three world premier recordings that are well worth the time spent listening to them. What else could one want from a release?

Arnold Cooke: Violin Sonata No. 2; Viola Sonata; Cello Sonata No. 2
Susanne Stanzeleit, violin; Morgan Goff, viola; Raphael Wallfisch, cello; Raphael Terroni, piano

More Recent Posts

  • Mark & Raianne go track by track through Road May Rise, May 20

    Tags: , , , , , , ,

    Mark Mandeville & Raianne Richards will stop by WTJU May 20, during Folk & Beyond to go track by track through their latest album, Road May Rise, out now on vinyl.  Folk & Beyond is heard Thursday afternoon from 4-7 (edt) at 91.1 FM, streaming at, or by asking your smart speaker to “Play […]

  • Host Profile: Brian Keena

    Name: Brian Keena Show: The Jazz Messenger, Friday, 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. What’s your day job? Licensed Massage Therapist How long have you been a host at WTJU? 15 years Why did you become a WTJU host? I’ve always enjoyed good radio. Hosts that care about the music. Or hosts that have a story […]

  • #ClassicsaDay #APAHM Week 2

    Tags: , , , , , , , ,

    May is designated Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month. The Classics a Day team adopted that theme as well. For the month of May, the challenge is to post examples of classical music composed or performed by artists who share that heritage. I limited myself to just posting Asian-American composers. And discovered a seemingly limitless number of […]

  • Marking COVID Remembrance Day on May 25

    This year, radio stations around the country are marking May 25 as COVID Remembrance Day. Several WTJU hosts will mark the occasion by airing the music of some artists who have passed away. We’ve all gone through a very difficult year. And while it’s not over, here at WTJU, we want to take a moment […]

  • WTJU 91.1 FM to Receive $20,000 Grant from the National Endowment for the Arts

    WTJU 91.1 FM has been approved for a $20,000 Arts Education grant to support the development of an online jazz history curriculum. Adapted from WTJU’s Jazz at 100 radio series, this project will creatively engage students around the unique story and passion of jazz music. WTJU’s project is among the more than 1,100 projects across […]