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date: 25 January 2020

Cooke, Henrylocked

  • Peter Dennison
  • , revised by Bruce Wood

Extract

(b ?Lichfield, c1615; d Hampton Court, July 13, 1672). English singer, choir trainer and composer. Immediately after the Restoration, he introduced italianate techniques of composition and singing to the choristers of the Chapel Royal. Although the merit of his own compositions is slight, their influence was considerable; he was, moreover, an indefatigable and gifted teacher with a ready eye for spotting young talent, and his first set of choristers included Humfrey, Blow, Wise, Turner, Robert Smith (i) and Tudway, all of whom were to emerge among the leaders of the flourishing generation of English musicians that followed him.

Cooke may well have been the son of John Cooke, a bass from Lichfield who was ‘sworne [e]pisteler’ of the Chapel Royal on 16 December 1623 and died on 12 September 1625. All that is known of Henry's early years is that, in Anthony Wood's words, he was ‘bred up in the Chapel’ of Charles I and that he scratched his signature and the date ...

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