Coke’s intriguing Piano Concertos are our Collectors’ Choice

The Romantic Piano Concerto 73 – Coke

Simon Callaghan (piano), BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, Martyn Brabbins (conductor).

Roger Sacheverell Coke was an English composer and pianist who lived between 1912 and 1972. He is a largely. and on this evidence unjustly, forgotten composer. He does merit a small entry in the 1955 edition of The Grove Dictionary and prior to a  couple of recent releases there were few mentions of him online although there was some discussion of him in 2010 on unsungcomposers.com. Apparently upon his death his music papers were given to Derbyshire County Records Office. At that time the County Council was housed in Alfreton Hall. That was sold some years ago and, at that time, the Coke Archive was moved to Chesterfield Library where it languished uncatalogued, because the money was not available to employ anyone to carry out the work.

More recently there has been some interest in his works and prior to this release there were recordings of his Preludes, Op. 33 & 34 and a compilation CD on EM records that contains Coke’s Violin Sonata in D minor. On this release we have Coke’s Piano Concertos No. 3 & 4 toger with a movement from a fifth concerto played by Simon Callaghan with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra conducted by Martyn Brabbins. We are indebted to Hyperion and their much praised Romantic Piano Concerto Series for taking a large number of lesser known works to the recording studio. These premiere recordings of the piano concertos of Roger Coke are no exception. Simon Callaghan is a fine advocate for these works and under Martyn Brabbins skilful direction the orchestra accompany him very well. All of this is recorded in fine sound. It is not a mainstream release but it is an essential purchase for those seeking to broaden their collection of romantic piano concertos. We unhesitatingly make it our Collectors’ Choice for December.

iClassical rating: 

As Hyperion Records have a policy of not releasing any of their albums to streaming platforms we have provided a YouTube video about the making of the recording.

Download from Hyperion Records or buy from Presto Classical.