Cambridge University Library

Deryck Cooke Archive

Timeline

1919 Deryck Victor Cooke born, 14 September (family address is 32 Duncan Rd., Leicester)
1922 Father (Henry Victor Cooke, disabled army pensioner) dies
1927- Is studying piano, acquires a brilliant technique; has ambitions to be a concert pianist
1932-38 Pupil at Wyggeston Grammar School, Leicester (fellow pupils include the Attenborough brothers : Richard (b. 1923) and David (b. 1926))
1938 Mother (Mabel Cooke, née Judd) dies of oesophageal cancer
Obtains ARCO and ARCM (piano)
Wins organ scholarship to Selwyn College, Cambridge
‘Matriculates’ (arrives) 3 November. Matriculation date later than usual because of the Munich crisis
1938-40

Studies at Cambridge; tutors include Patrick Hadley (1899–1973) and Robin Orr (1909–2006)
1940-46 War service in Royal Artillery (serves in Italy, Tunisia, Egypt, Palestine, Syria, Greece and Austria)
Awarded Cambridge B.A. December 1941
Awarded Cambridge M.A. March 1945
1946 Returns to Cambridge to read for Mus.B.
Pianistic ambitions giving way to interests in musical philosophy and theory
1947

Awarded Mus.B.
Joins BBC as writer of ‘music presentation’
1949

Earliest known publication: 'St Matthew Passion (Bach)', review of LPO performance conducted by E. van Beinum, in Music Survey (New Series), Vol. II No. I
1950?

Is living with Jacqueline M.Y.M. Etienne (b. 1912)
1952

'The Musical Symbolism of Wagner’s Music-Dramas', Musical Times (June)
1956

Closing Time, canzonet for T.T.B. published by Curwen
1958

BBC radio broadcast of Tam O’Shanter, Cooke’s setting of Robert Burns' poem. For tenor solo, male chorus, piano and strings (begun 1946; completed 1956)
1959

After 12 years, leaves the BBC to work as a freelance writer and broadcaster
'In Defence of Functional Analysis', Musical Times (September)
Joins Gramophone as a reviewer (November)
The Language of Music (OUP; November); dedicated to Jacqueline
1960

Gustav Mahler (1860-1911): A Companion to the BBC's Celebrations of the Centenary of his Birth
Mahler’s Unfinished Tenth Symphony : lecture-demonstration on Third Programme (December)
1961 Alma Mahler prohibits further performances of the Cooke-BBC Tenth Symphony score : (Cooke continues to work on his score as a private project)
'Mahler’s Tenth Symphony: Artistic Morality and Musical Reality', Musical Times (June)
1962 'The Rake and the 18th Century', Musical Times (January)
Many writings and broadcasts for the Delius year – including the illustrated radio talk Delius: an evaluation (January); the articles 'Delius and Form: A Vindication' (Musical Times, June-July); and the paper Delius the Unknown, read to the Royal Musical Association (December)
The Unity of Beethoven’s Late Quartets, BBC Third Programme talk (March)
1963 Appointed music critic of The Listener for 12 months
'The Unity of Beethoven’s Late Quartets' printed in Music Review (February)
The Language of Music appears in paperback (OUP; 7s 6d)
Alma Mahler removes her ban on the Tenth Symphony’ performing version after hearing the 1960 performance on tape
1964 Profiled in Gramophone Magazine's 'Portrait of a reviewer'(April)
Mahler : The word and the deed, Third Programme talk (May); published in The Listener (June)
Full-length performing version of the draft of Mahler's Tenth symphony premiered at the Proms (August); afterwards, Dika Newlin presents Cooke with the Bruckner Society of America's 'Mahler Medal of Honor'
Writes chapter for vol. 10 of the Oxford history of music which, after a dispute, is not used
'The case for Fred' (on cricketer Fred Trueman (1931-2006)) New Statesman (August)
Is contacted by Bryan Magee regarding ITV programme on the Tenth Symphony (August?)
Is quoted as working on "a book to end all books on The Ring"
1965 Returns to the BBC (partly at the urging of Hans Keller) as "Music presentation editor"
Archives of great pianism, series of programmes on Third Programme (April)
1966 Marries Jacqueline Etienne
'Anton Bruckner', in R. Simpson (ed.), The Symphony, Vol. 1 : Haydn to Dvořák
'Havergal Brian and his Gothic symphony', Musical Times (October)
1967 Publication of Thematic patterns in sonatas of Beethoven by R. Reti, ed. Cooke
Cooke and his wife present at the Kellers' house when Britten argues with Hans Keller about pacifism (June)
'Mahler, Gustav' and 'Wagner, Richard' entries for Encyclopaedia Britannica, rev. 14th ed.
1968 'The Lennon-McCartney Songs' (Listener; February)
An Introduction to Der Ring des Nibelungen (featuring 193 music examples) is released on 7 LP sides (DECCA) as part of the re-packaged Solti Ring (December)
1969 'The Bruckner Problem Simplified', Musical Times (January, February, April, May)
Appears in Workshop TV programme (BBC2) on the life and music of Bruckner (February)
Der Ring des Nibelungen -- An Introduction is reissued as a separate item, complete with accompanying booklet (August)
Hazel Smalley becomes his BBC secretary
1970 Separates from Jacqueline
'Wagnerphobia and Tristanitis' Listener (October)
Two radio talks: 'Thinking about The Ring' (BBC Radio Three, October)
Begins living with Hazel Smalley; remains with her until his death
1971 'Parsifal : the moral question' Listener (May)
1972 'The symbolism of The Ring' Scottish opera magazine (Spring)
1975 Is writing entry on 'Bruckner, Anton' in New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians(published 1980)
1976 Publication of Gustav Mahler : A performing version of the draft for the Tenth Symphony (AMP/Faber Music; June)
Interviewed at the BBC by Avik Gilboa, visiting from California (August)
'The Chomsky connection' (review of The unanswered question : six lectures at Harvard by Leonard Bernstein, Books and bookmen (October)
Writes 'The language of Mahler: David Holbrook's interpretation' (review of Gustav Mahler and the courage to be by David Holbrook), Musical Times (published November)
Suffers stroke at home, 26 October
Dies in hospital, Croydon, 27 October, aged 57 (death certificate lists 'cerebral thrombosis' and 'essential hypertension')