Today (May 14th) is Ascension Day, and fanfares are a traditional part of Ascension celebrations. This fanfare, is one of the best of the best.
John Ernest Cook (11 October 1918 – 12 August 1984) was an Anglo-American organist, composer and church musician. He was born at Maldon, Essex on 11 October 1918. After leaving St. John's School, Leatherhead, he entered Christ's College, Cambridge as an organ scholar where he came under the influence of Hugh Allen and Boris Ord (King's College). A conscientious objector to the second World War, he left his Cambridge studies prematurely to drive an ambulance during the Blitz of London. Following the War, he spent three years at The Old Vic Theatre in London, and also worked as a copyist for Ralph Vaughan Williams.
In 1949 Cook was appointed as Organist and Choirmaster at Church of the Holy Trinity, Stratford-upon-Avon where he served for five years before accepting a similar post at St. Paul's Cathedral in London, Ontario. It was during this time that he joined the teaching faculty of the University of Western Ontario. In 1962 he become Organist and Choirmaster at the Church of the Advent in Boston. Having established himself as a gifted organist, conductor and composer, he joined the faculties of the Longy School of Music in Cambridge and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Having battled with diabetes for two decades, Cook died on 12 August 1984.
This fanfare, by far his most well-known work was published by Novello in 1952, and bears the dedication "for C. E." Underneath the title it says: "Psalm 81, vs. 1-3".
The verses that Cook is "quoting" are as follows: Sing we merrily unto God our strength; make a cheerful noise unto the God of Jacob. Take the psalm, bring hither the tabret, the merry harp with the lute. Blow up the trumpet in the new moon, even in the time appointed, and upon our solemn feast-day.