Star of Heaven

November 18th, 2019

My work Ave Maria, mater Dei (2017) will be released on a CD entitled Star of Heaven on Coro Records on the 02 November 2018. The recording is made by the internationally renowned choir, The Sixteen conducted by Harry Christophers, and features contemporary works by James MacMillan, Joseph Phibbs and Marco Galvani as well as works from the Eton Choirbook that inspired it. The choir gave the first performance of the work in May 2018.

02/11/2018: The CD was released today! Hoping for some good reviews. Or some comedy bad ones…

22/11/2018: Some honorary mentions in The Guardian and The Scotsman (which called my piece ‘attractive’) and a broadcast on BBC Radio 3 Choir and Organ (18/11/18) which called the piece ‘mystical’.

01/12/2018: The CD was given a favourable review on BBC Radio 3 CD Review, which referred to the ‘four very fine new commissions’. Was hoping for a little more if I’m honest…

15/12/2018: I was thrilled to hear that my recent work Ave Maria, mater Dei was broadcast on BBC Radio 3 again this month, on Record Review. The piece was incredibly well received by the panel of critics and the CD as a whole was one of their Records of the Year. Some of the nice comments about my piece included: ‘The Cooke is remarkable…in the background you get a flickering of candles, a halo of light, in the middle is a male choir adoring the Virgin’; ‘The soprano solos in the Cooke are absolutely beautiful’; ‘An incredibly striking piece’; ‘An angelic halo effect…amazing…beautiful’; ‘Beautiful female voices like a halo around the Madonna’. I’ll take that.

01/01/2019: A couple more nice reviews of the CD, with referring to the ‘impressive…large dimensions’ of Ave Maria, mater Dei and also referring to the length and structure of the work (I didn’t realise 6 minutes was that long…) alongside the quality of performance and recording.

09/01/2019: Two more excellent reviews of the CD and my work with BBC Music Magazine referring to ‘Phillip Cooke’s…Ave Maria, mater Dei is enticingly ethereal thanks to a pair of off-stage trebles intensifying its incantatory allure’ and The Gramophone stating ‘a particularly sumptuous setting by Phillip Cooke where two offstage sopranos swirl around a wonderfully atmospheric and transportive choral texture.’ Score.

08/03/2019: Nice review in Choir & Organ, which refers to my work as ‘luminous, ethereal and yearning’.

08/04/2019: Good review from Australia, with Limelight Magazine stating ‘Cooke uses two off-stage sopranos interacting with the main choir to create an ethereal sound world that conjures up the lost world of Tudor music.’

18/11/2019: A little late to the party, but a good review in Cathedral Magazine, which states ‘singing of supreme quality and assurance’ of a recording of ‘the very greatest distinction.’ The review really describes my piece rather than comment on it, but hey, better than nothing. I guess.

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