Sunday, 10 February 2008

Greville Cooke: High Marley Rest

Further to Saturday’s post showcasing a fine performance of Greville Cooke’s High Marley Rest by Philip Sear, I have discovered the implication of the work’s title. High Marley is a wonderful house in Sussex that has extensive views towards the English Channel.

A website devoted to the house has the following:-
“Although Tobias Matthay taught most of his pupils in London, many were also received in his beautiful home, which was nestled high in the Surrey hills, just south of Haslemere. In 1907 Tobs began designing this country retreat overlooking Marley Commons, which he called "High Marley," and it soon became the focal point of his personal and professional life…” High Marley & Matthay

Although largely forgotten in the 21st century Matthay had a huge impact on the musical life of the United Kingdom.
He was born in London in 1858 and studied at the nascent Royal Academy of Music. He was to go on to teach at that institution form 1876 until 1925 as Professor of Advanced Piano. He also founded a piano school in 1900. But it is his pupils that true memorial. Their names are a litany of pianistic achievement. They include York Bowen (composer/pianist) Dame Myra Hess, Clifford Curzon, Eunice Norton and Harriet Cohen. Matthay died in 1945 in his beloved house.

One of the lesser known pupils was Greville Cooke. His piano piece is surely a fine tribute to a great teacher and an impressive ‘tone poem’ descriptive of the moods and emotions felt in that lovely part of Surrey with the view to the sea.
Greville Cooke wrote High Marley Rest in 1933.

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