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date: 04 June 2020

Cole, Hugolocked

  • Gerald Larner

Extract

(b London, July 6, 1917; d London, March 2, 1995). English composer and critic. He was educated at Winchester and King’s College, Cambridge, where he read natural sciences. Already an accomplished cellist, he entered the Royal College of Music in 1944 to study the instrument with Ivor James as well as harmony with Morris and composition with Howells. He played freelance in various London orchestras and also studied with Boulanger in Paris. From 1964 he combined the role of composer with that of music critic for The Guardian, where his notices were distinguished not only by their authority, derived from a long all-round experience of music-making, but also by their engaging intellectual vivacity.

Cole’s music has something of the same quality as his criticism. It is fresh, never short of good ideas and, if limited in expressive and structural scope, never pretentious. The clarity of his writing, its uncomplicated rhythms, and the general familiarity of his idiom – basically neo-classical and recognizably English in spite of the echoes of Copland – have made him a particularly successful composer of operas and other pieces for young and amateur performers. His ...

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