Roger Sacheverell Coke
English composer and pianist Roger Sacheverell Coke (pronounced like the meal preparer, not the soft drink) explored late Romantic idioms in unique, eclectic ways; long mostly forgotten, his music has been periodically revived in the 21st century. Born October 20, 1912, in Alfreton in England's Derbyshire region, Coke was a member of an aristocratic family, a descendant of the Plantagenet kings. He inherited the family estate called Brookhill after his father was killed at the Battle of Ypres in World War I, and that estate became central to his musical life; he had a top-notch musical education but lived far from cosmopolitan influences and developed a style shaped more by the late Russian Romantics and at times by Jean Sibelius than by contemporary Continental or even English developments. Coke even formed and conducted his own Brookhill Symphony Orchestra. A formidable pianist, he was taught by Mabel Lander, whose other students included Elizabeth II; Rachmaninov admired him, was a guest at Brookhill, and invited Coke to his own Swiss estate. Though troubled by physical and mental health problems arising from a five-pack-a-day cigarette habit and by the official repression of his homosexuality that prevailed at the time, Coke was prolific, although he sometimes discarded finished works. He wrote six piano concertos (only a slow movement survives of the dark fifth), more than 100 songs, three symphonies, four symphonic poems, solo piano music including a set of 24 preludes recorded in 2015 by Simon Callaghan, various pieces of chamber music, and an opera, The Cenci, based on a play by Percy Bysshe Shelley with a libretto by Coke himself. The opera was mounted at Coke's expense in 1959, with Eugene Goossens (another Coke admirer) conducting the London Symphony Orchestra; it failed completely, plunging the composer into a period of depression. In the 1930s and 1940s, however, his music was performed by various major British ensembles and sometimes broadcast on the BBC, and the dissolution of modernist restrictions has led to new recordings of his work. Coke died on October 23, 1972.
© James Manheim /TiVo
© James Manheim /TiVo
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Solo Piano - Released March 25, 2016 | SOMM Recordings
Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 4 étoiles Classica