The Thirteenth Malcolm Arnold Festival (13-14 October), Northampton Join us for a special festival this year, which includes music from the worlds of ballet, cinema, television and radio, opera, the brass band and the concert hall. Malcolm Arnold’s music speaks to his audiences with a directness very few other 20th Century composers have managed to achieve. He was indeed ‘The Consummate Communicator’, the title of this year’s Festival.
Launched by David Laing, HM the Lord-Lieutenant of Northamptonshire, the weekend will be one highlight after another, including three orchestral concerts, which will include performances of Arnold’s ‘Recorder Concerto’, ‘English Dances’, the ‘4th Symphony’ and music from three of his wonderful ﬁlm scores. There will be a concert performance of Arnold’s brilliant one act opera, ‘The Dancing Master’, as well as illustrated talks on Malcolm’s music by David Mellor, John Griff and Timothy Bowers, and The Rushden Town Band are making a very popular reappearance. All of his delightful ‘Fantasies’ for solo instruments will be performed in two concerts, interspersed by readings of Arnold’s words. There will also be one or two surprises through the weekend! To end the Malcolm Arnold Festival weekend, this year’s spectacular Gala Concert features the wonderful BBC Concert Orchestra, conductor Keith Lockhart, with the great clarinet soloist Julian Bliss.
Box Office: 01604 624 811
The Three Musketeers – Northern Ballet From October to November Northern Ballet are reviving their award-wining production of Malcolm’s Arnold’s ‘The Three Musketeers’. This narrative ballet, based on the original Dumas story, was created in 2006 by the Artistic Director of Northern Ballet, choreographer David Nixon OBE.
With the composer’s approval, a number of works taken from his extensive catalogue were especially arranged by John Longstaff, together forming a dazzling full-length ballet score. Thrilling sword-play and larger than life characters together create a magical evening of dance, music and colour.
Nottingham (4-6 October); Newcastle (17-20 October); Sheffield (24-27 October); Canterbury (31 October – 3 November). For further information, please click here
June 2018 The Malcolm Arnold Junior Essay Prize Entries are solicited for this year’s ‘Malcolm Arnold Junior Essay
Prize’. The prize, established by The Malcolm Arnold Trust, is
intended to encourage inquiry into the work of one of England’s
leading composers. The competition is for students under the age of
nineteen and is aimed at (but not restricted to) all those studying
music as a subject within the curriculum. For full information, pleaseclickhere …
Fanfares – Onyx Brass, conductor John Wilson
Chandos – catalogue number CHSA 5221 ‘Fanfare for a Royal Occasion’ (1956); ‘A Richmond Fanfare’ (1957); Kingston Fanfare’ (1959); ‘Festival Fanfare’ (1961); ‘Railway Fanfare’ (1975).
“…Sir Malcolm Arnold really should have succeeded Bliss as Master of the Queen’s Music and it was the country’s loss that he did not. The ‘Fanfare for a Royal Occasion’ amply shows he had the verve and the dignity to easily fill the post. ‘The Railway Fanfare’ shows he also had the humour too; here his three trumpets and trombones create the sound of the train on the tracks and I love how it safely slows down into the platform. He puts his players through some tricky double and triple tonguing which the Onyx players throw off effortlessly.
The performances under John Wilson are exemplary with extraordinary precision in rhythm and careful attention to dynamic ranges.” Paul RW Jackson. British Music Society March 2018
To order a copy of this CDclick here…
October 2017 Malcolm Arnold – The Complete Songs Claire Thompson (soprano) and Scott Mitchell (piano) Beauty Haunts the Woods (1934); Nine Songs from Kensington Gardens (1938); Two Songs: Neglected and Morning Moon (1944); Songs from Purple Dust (1953); Five William Blake Songs (1959); The Song of Accounting Periods (1963); Three John Donne Songs (1973)
A landmark CD in the Arnold discography, including a number of songs never recorded before. Of particular interest is the early song-cycle ‘Nine Songs from Kensington Gardens’ (1938). Written whilst the composer was still a student at the Royal College of Music, these exquisite settings of poems by Humbert Wolfe were performed by Claire Thompson and Scott Mitchell at the 2017 Malcolm Arnold Festival. Beauty of tone and heartfelt artistry draw you into this finely produced recording. It is a treasure trove of songs written by Malcolm Arnold at different times in his life, spanning a period of some 40 years.
To place an order for this CD (£10, plus p+p) please email Paul Harris at: m.arnoldfest@googlemail. com.
August 2017 Fantasy for Harp Op 117 (Isabelle Marchewka – harp)
A new recording of this work written in 1975 and dedicated to the distinguished harpist Osian Ellis. The ‘Fantasy for ‘Harp’ is made up of 5 brief sections which are played as one continuous movement. Ingenious in its exploration of the instrument’s technical capabilities, at the heart of this piece there lies a mysterious Nocturne which is at once both emotional and reflective in mood.
To order copies of this CD click here
July 2017 A major new art installation featuring a splendid statue of Sir Malcolm Arnold will be unveiled at the Guildhall in the composer’s home town of Northampton on 31 July. The public grand unveiling ceremony takes place at 11.30.
The installation by renowned sculptor Richard Austin was commissioned to commemorate five historical figures with a strong connection to Northampton. To read Northampton Borough Council’s official Press Release please click here …
June 2017 Malcolm Arnold: Fantasy for Guitar Op 107- Sean Shibe (guitar) Delphian Records - 'Dreams & Fancies - English Music for Solo Guitar' Catalogue DCD34193 Sean Shibe is a rising star in the world of classical guitar - and this CD recording of Arnold's 'Fantasy for Guitar' confirms his place as one of the UK's leading soloists. Composed in 1970 for Julian Bream, the 'Fantasy' explores many different moods and aspects of the guitar's potential . Within its ten minute span the music is sometimes boisterous and extrovert and at other times nuanced and gentle. (In the CD notes Sean Shibe refers especially to the composer's "flair for heart melting melody"). Brilliance of technique and great musical sensitivity, hall-marks of Sean Shibe's playing, are captured here beautifully on this new Delphian recording. The CD is now available to pre-order on iTunes click here and on Amazon click here
February 2017 Michael Meredith, Curator Modern Collection at Eton College, explores the fascinating performance history behind Malcolm Arnold's music for 'The Tempest'. Composed for the 1954 Old Vic production starring Richard Burton, Claire Bloom, Michael Horden and Robert Hardy, the manuscript score for this work is owned by Eton College Library.
The Isle is full of Noises: Malcolm Arnold 'Tempest'.
The 'Theatre World' critic described the music in the 1954 Old Vic production of 'The Tempest' as 'entrancing', a perfect accompaniment to Shakespeare's play, carrying the audience away with delight, wonder and rapture. Such high praise, shared by most of those who saw the play was a tribute to the work of the young composer Malcolm Arnold, who had been commissioned to undertake the task by the director Robert Helpmann after he had heard Arnold's ballet music 'Homage to the Queen' at Sadlers Wells. Eton College Library has recently bought all that survives of the manuscript score Arnold handed over, piece by piece, to the conductor and musical director Christopher Whelan during rehearsals ..." To read Michael Meredith's complete article featured in the Eton College Collections Journal (Michaelmas 2016, published by the Friends of the Eton College Collections) Click Here ....
For information on the Friends of the Eton College CollectionsClick Here...
Malcolm Arnold Archive deposited at Eton College Library
A substantial collection of the manuscripts of the composer Malcolm Arnold (1921-2006) has been deposited at Eton College Library on loan, and is now available to scholars for research. The archive, which brings material previously on loan to the Royal College of Music together with privately held manuscripts hitherto unavailable to the public, has been catalogued on the Eton College Collections online database: http://collections.etoncollege.com/ms-921.
The archive consists predominantly of Arnold’s autograph music scores, spanning his lifetime and his broad musical range. The manuscripts include scores written for orchestra, chamber, solo piano and film, including the Four Cornish Dances and Serenade for Small Orchestra. Among the film scores are Suddenly Last Summer, The Inn of the Sixth Happiness, and St Trinians, together with associated correspondence on their composition. There are also more intimate pieces, including pieces Arnold wrote for family occasions.
The majority of these are fair copy manuscripts but some are performance copies or have manuscript markings and annotations on them. Accompanying the music scores are autograph letters to Malcolm Arnold from a number of his contemporaries, several scrapbooks, sheet music owned by Arnold and photograph albums. As a whole, the archive gives a unique insight into the compositional processes of one of the foremost British composers of the 20th century.
The archive can be consulted via appointment (Mon-Fri, 9.30am to 5pm) by contacting Eton College Library. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org, or ring 01753 370590. www.etoncollege.com/CollegeLibrary.aspx
May 2016 British Serenade - Chamber Ensemble of London Heritage Records - catalogue HTGCD 204 World Premiere recordings of 'Concertino for Clarinet and Strings' op 29a, and 'Five Pieces for Violin and String Orchestra' op 84a To commemorate the 10th anniversary this year of Malcolm Arnold's death the Chamber Ensemble of London, directed by violinist Peter Fisher, have released a new CD on Heritage Records featuring three works by the composer. The disc includes two world premiere Arnold recordings: 'Concertino for Clarinet and Strings' with soloist Peter Cigleris (arr. Roger Steptoe ), and the ' Five Pieces for Violin and String Orchestra' with soloist Peter Fisher (arr. Philip Lane). Also on this CD is included the evocative 'Serenade for Guitar and Strings', with guitarist Michael Butten.
The Chamber Ensemble of London and their soloists bring a wonderful depth of colour and feeling to their interpretation of Arnold's music, and their performances shine throughout this CD. An important addition to the recording catalogue. To place an order click here
November 2015 The 'Padstow Lifeboat March' Op 94 is soon to form part of the RNLI's special Heritage installation at the Padstow Lifeboat Station in Cornwall, for viewing at the end of November. The visitor's centre is open to the public weekdays from 10am-4pm . Click here for information
This joyous, celebratory march was first performed in Cornwall by the St Dennis Silver Band on 19 July 1968 at the launch of Padstow's new lifeboat by the Duke of Kent . One of the most popular works ever written for brass band, the published score carries the note: "The Padstow Lifeboat has a long and distinguished record. The new lifeboat station is near Trevose lighthouse whose fog horn varies in pitch between middle C and D. For the sake of musical unity it remains D throughout this march."
Malcolm Arnold's years in St Merryn, Cornwall (1964-1972) were amongst the happiest and most productive in his life. His close connection with the people of Cornwall was honoured recently by the Malcolm Arnold Society with a special plaque situated on the Quay at Padstow. The memorial was unveiled by the composer's daughter, Katherine Arnold, in May 2014.
October 2015 Oboe Quartet Op 61 (1957) Cuarteto Emispherio
New CD release on Oboe Classics CC 2030 “... admirers of the Arnold should also listen to a new recording by Cuarteto Emispherio (Oboe Classics). Oboist Sarah Roper and colleagues really get the Arnold Quartet.”
Ronald E. Grames - Fanfare - July/August 2016
"... Roper is particularly effective in the ethereal movement, as she is so suited to playing long, quiet, sustained, potentially exhausting melody lines, without the slightest indication of strain, and with the utmost relaxed and smooth projection ..."
Jean Belfy - International Double Reed Society - Spring 2016
"A most remarkable work defined by its haunting and extended slow movement (with some particularly beautiful solos from violin and viola) flanked by energetic, highly engaging and lyrical outer movements. Oboist Sarah Roper's lyrical and technically assured playing makes an immediate impact. A 'must have' CD."
George Caird - Double Reed News - Winter 2015
To order copies of this CD from Oboe Classics, please click here
December 2016 Symphony 7; Fantasy on a Theme of John Field; Philharmonic Concerto Royal Scottish National Orchestra, conductor Martin Yates / pianist Peter Donohoe Dutton Epoch -
On this brilliant and compelling new CD Dutton Epoch has brought together three of Malcolm Arnold's most important concert works: 'Symphony 7' (1973), 'Fantasy on a Theme of John Field' (1975) and the 'Philharmonic Concerto' (1976).
The Royal Scottish National Orchestra, conductor Martin Yates, are joined by soloist Peter Donohoe in the 'Fantasy on a Theme of John Field'. Donohoe's dazzling performance captures perfectly the enigmatic and fantasia-like nature of the concerto.
The orchestral 'Philharmonic Concerto' is distinctive in character and technically demanding: an Arnold sound world here explored with surety and brilliant dynamism .
Conductor Martin Yates also has an instinctive feel for the colour and depth of feeling which lies at the emotional heart of 'Symphony 7'. A symphony which, inexplicably, is perhaps not as widely known as many of Malcolm Arnold's large scale works. Yet surely it deserves to be acknowledged as one of the great symphonies of the 20th century. The committed performance on this new Dutton recording can leave the listener in no doubt.
October 2016 Symphony 7 Malcolm Arnold's seventh symphony was written in 1973, and received its premiere the following year at the Royal Festival Hall, with the New Philharmonia Orchestra conducted by the composer.
Inexplicably, this major work is now rarely heard live in the concert hall today. A specially commissioned film from Director Kriss Russman examines the power of Symphony 7 with those who passionately believe it to be a neglected masterpiece:
October 2010 German artist Gerd Jansen has created a series of stunning digital works of art featuring the music and images of Malcolm Arnold.
To learn more about this artist, founder of the ‘Institut fur bildnerisches Denken’ click here