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Malcolm Arnold Festival 2010

The theme for the 2010 5th Malcolm Arnold Festival is Stage and Screen. Ideal mediums for Sir Malcolm’s gloriously colourful, evocative and melodic music. In
fact Sir Malcolm wrote the scores for over 70 major feature films – indeed in the 50s and 60s he was one of the most sought after film composers, both here and in Hollywood. There are 5 ballets, one musical and a fascinating assortment of incidental music. We shall be exploring each of these genres in this year’s Festival.

The Festival will be launched by the legendary actress Hayley Mills, star of Whistle Down the Wind. During the launch 12 trumpeters from the award winning Northampton County Youth Orchestra will play Sir Malcolm’s exuberant and high-spirited Hoffnung Fanfare which was written for the celebrated and riotous Hoffnung Music Festival in 1956.

Following the launch Hayley Mills will talk to Paul
Harris about the various films she and her father,
the great John Mills, made with Sir Malcolm. After
lunch there will be a Malcolm Arnold Young
Musician Competition. Young performers are
invited to play any solo or ensemble work by Sir
Malcolm. The judges will be the conductor John
Gibbons, the pianist Moritz Ernst and the composer
Matthew Taylor. The generous £250 prize has been
kindly donated by the Malcolm Arnold Festival.
Next will be an illustrated talk on the film music by
composer Martin Ellerby, a real expert in the genre.
Martin knew and worked with Sir Malcolm so his
reflections will be particularly fascinating.
Moritz Ernst Alexander Walker The Abingdon Choral Society After tea the terrific young pianist
Moritz Ernst (who has already recorded a CD of Malcolm’s piano works) will perform a scintillating
piano recital featuring music from both stage and screen, and, most excitingly, the world premiere of a
specially commissioned work for the occasion: Matthew Taylor is composing a Fantasy on Whistle
down the Wind – this will surely be one of the many highlights of the weekend.

For the evening concert we are delighted to
welcome the Northampton Symphony Orchestra
to the Festival for the first time. Together with the
Abingdon Choral Society under the direction of
international conductor Alexander Walker they
will performing Sir Malcolm’s wonderfully
theatrical (and rarely performed) large-scale choral
and orchestral work Return of Odysseus. Also
included in the programme will the Suite from
Malcolm’s ballet Sweeney Todd.

The Sunday will have a very special flavour. The day will begin with some rarely seen film excerpts and then, 2010 being the 50th anniversary of The Pure Hell of St Trinian’s the midday orchestral concert, given by the acclaimed Northampton County Youth Orchestra, will include the St. Trinian’s Suite
(as well as other memorable film music) and after lunch we will have a probably never to be repeated St. Trinian’s event with many of the original actors and crew from the original St. Trinian’s films! There will be a song recital by Jessica Gillingwater featuring music from Malcolm’s marvellously tuneful musical Parasol as well as the witty and colourful set of songs he wrote as incidental music to Sean O’Casey’s play Purple Dust.

The second theme of this year’s Festival is the
music of fellow Northampton composer, the hugely talented William Alwyn. We are delighted that the brilliant Harpham Quartet will be joining us again during the afternoon and their concert will include Alwyn’s deeply beautiful First String Quartet as well as Malcolm’s highly emotional and Irish-inspired
Second Quartet. The Gala evening concert, ‘A Night To Remember’ will be conducted by the acclaimed John Gibbons, and will again include music by William Alwyn (who, like Sir Malcolm, also wrote about seventy film scores). Alwyn’s ‘overture’ to the first major film about the Titanic will open the programme and will also feature his music to the swashbuckling
Crimson Pirate as well as some of Sir Malcolm’s best loved film music and of course a few surprises to give the evening heaps of razzamatazz and glamour. In fact that’s the best word to describe this weekend – it’s going to be glamorous from the opening titles to the closing credits. So book now to avoid disappointment!

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