Robert Cooke

  • Born
    1768
  • Died
    1814
  • Birthplace
    London, England
Robert Cooke was an Organist and Composer. Born in London, he was the son of composer Benjamin Cooke, whom he succeeded as organist of St. Martin in the Fields in 1793. In 1802 he was named organist and Master of Choristers at Westminster Abbey; his Evening Service in C (c. 1804) is still performed there. He also wrote church anthems (among them "Ode to Friendship") and a collection of songs published in 1805. Cooke's dark setting of Psalm 7, which asks for deliverance from the persecution of enemies, may have hinted at his emotional state. Around 1810 he began showing signs of mental instability and he finally drowned himself in the Thames. Cooke joined a considerable line of famous English church musicians (Robert Parsons, Michael Wise, Jeremiah Clarke, Samuel Arnold) who met unnatural ends. He was buried in his father's crypt with no inscription of his own. (bio by: Bobb Edwards)

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