Author Topic: sir Malcolm Arnold  (Read 43786 times)

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Offline jowcol

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Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
« Reply #80 on: April 22, 2011, 08:22:05 AM »
I generally think that the odd numbered symphonies are the best ones - but I have increasingly come to appreciate No 6 - a disturbing work.

I really like this CD:



The "Death Samba" in the 6th is a lot of fun...
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Offline Dundonnell

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Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
« Reply #81 on: July 28, 2011, 07:02:48 AM »
So Malcolm Arnold's Cello Concerto has finally been recorded :)

http://www.prestoclassical.co.uk/r/Naxos/8572640

This is a work which has-to date-had a bad press. Julian Lloyd Webber gave the first performance. It is a late work-1988-and was originally subtitled "Shakespearean".
It will be interesting to find out if it does have merit after all.

I can't help thinking that there are one or two other British cello concertos which, perhaps, deserved recording more than the Arnold: the Robert Simpson, the Lennox Berkeley and the Arnold Cooke for example. (The Berkeley doesn't even get any discussion in Peter Dickinson's study of the composer yet it is a decent piece).

Offline Lethevich

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Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
« Reply #82 on: July 28, 2011, 07:17:15 AM »
That Cooke cello concerto is a fine work, unfortunately he wrote in a style which has fallen dreadfully out of favour even compared to late tonalists. I can't see many likely recordings of his orchestral work on the horizon, even the symphonies :-X
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Offline Dundonnell

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Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
« Reply #83 on: July 28, 2011, 07:37:52 AM »
While I was on sabbatical( :D) you started a thread on Cooke-

http://www.good-music-guide.com/community/index.php/topic,15987.msg400206.html#msg400206

I would certainly have joined in there but what I would have said has already been said so I won't repeat except to say that any composer as highly regarded as Cooke was by Havergal Brian must be worthy of exposure :) :D More from Dutton please!!

Offline Dundonnell

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Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
« Reply #84 on: September 21, 2011, 04:48:17 AM »
Just listened twice through to the Arnold Cello Concerto, Op. 136 on the new Naxos disc.

It is not a great cello concerto but it's previous neglect does seem astonishing! The first movement is jolly in the familiar Arnold style but the central Lento has the sad, reflective melancholia which I find so moving in Arnold's music, particularly, for obvious reasons, in his later music. The last movement attempts jollity at times but its lyricism is tinged with sadness and regret in an almost Elgarian sense. The concerto is played with all his usual skill by Raphael Wallfisch.

Two points-as Rob Barnett notes in his Musicweb review, the title "The Shakespearean" has mysteriously disappeared from the work without explanation for either the original title or its removal. The other, which Barnett does not comment on, is that this is a performing edition made in 2000 by David Ellis to a Concerto originally composed in 1988. What changes have made by Ellis? It is important to know this sort of information and the author of the cd booklet notes should tell us.

The disc also contains a Concertino for Flute and Strings(arranged by Ellis from the Flute Sonatina), a Saxophone Concerto(again arranged by Ellis, this time from the Piano Sonata), the Fantasy for Recorder and String Quartet, and the acerbic, Bartokian Symphony for Strings of 1946.

http://www.musicweb-international.com/classrev/2011/Sept11/Arnold_CC_8572640.htm

Offline Albion

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Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
« Reply #85 on: September 21, 2011, 07:38:17 AM »
a performing edition made in 2000 by David Ellis to a Concerto originally composed in 1988. What changes have made by Ellis? It is important to know this sort of information and the author of the cd booklet notes should tell us.

Some useful background information from Malcolm Arnold: Rogue Genius (Anthony Meredith and Paul Harris):

Malcolm was to write five works in his first year at Attleborough [1987], including a Recorder Concerto for Michala Petri and a Cello Concerto for Julian Lloyd Webber. The therapeutic value from this was immense, but his impaired capability, which he had somehow miraculously transcended in the Ninth Symphony, led to a lack of invention and substance. The Cello Concerto with its pages of scales and arpeggios was a worry for Julian Lloyd Webber as it was scheduled to be played at the Festival Hall. He eventually decided to go ahead with it, not wanting to upset Malcolm, and was thankful the critics were kind. But it was not an easy occasion ...

It has re-emerged recently, however, in a revised version by David Ellis, commissioned by Anthony [Day, Arnold's full-time carer]. David's comments are instructive:

"As soon as I saw the score I could see the muddle in Malcolm's mind. As in the Fantasy for Recorder and String Quartet, another disaster of this period, he was turning the page before he had finished."

The slow movement, for example, started with a sombre little theme, after which there was a bare section with the cello playing arpeggios.

"They're nice arpeggios, but clearly there should be a tune in the orchestra going on at the same time. Malcolm would have heard it , but forgot to write it down. So I've written one in, springing, as it would have done, from the first subject."

While filling in the empty score David also reduced the orchestra, which helped tone down a number of exaggerations, which David believed were the result of muddled thinking.

"There were also some silly things. A piccolo and two flutes, for example, which were hardly used. The second flute only played one note, the very last of the first movement! That's not the real Malcolm. He would never have done that."

The alterations and additions are not simply Arnold pastiche, David at one stage giving a solo to an instrument Malcolm strongly disliked, the cor anglais, 'simply because it suited the music'. More than just an effective repair job, the Arnold-Ellis Cello Concerto is an attractive work in its own right, but, being something of a hybrid, it has so far struggled to find favour.


In other words, Malcolm Arnold supplied the thematic and structural skeleton and David Ellis fleshed out the bones. Although the work clearly does not stand in the front rank of Arnold's concertos (and there are many that do), I still think that it is nothing short of miraculous that the skeleton was written at all! David Ellis has succeeded in producing a coherent work in the spirit of Malcolm Arnold, and works from Arnold's final period (including the 9th Symphony and the Robert Kett Overture) are worth hearing.

 :)

« Last Edit: September 21, 2011, 08:16:36 AM by Albion »
A piece is worth your attention, and is itself for you praiseworthy, if it makes you feel you have not wasted your time over it. (SG, 1922)

Offline Dundonnell

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Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
« Reply #86 on: September 21, 2011, 02:53:06 PM »
Many thanks(again ;D), John :)

Offline John Whitmore

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Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
« Reply #87 on: February 02, 2012, 03:14:38 AM »
The Leicestershire Schools Symphony Orchestra's 1967 PYE Golden Guinea recording of Malcolm Arnold's Divertimento is now available as an excellent refurbishment for download. It's coupled with Tippett, Mathias and Ridout conducting their own works. A snip at around £3.
http://www.klassichaus.us/

Offline cilgwyn

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Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
« Reply #88 on: February 02, 2012, 05:37:57 AM »
Nice to see the Malcolm Arnold thread up near the top again! I know most of the symphonies,but some of them mainly from Arnold's own performances,which are wonderful to hear,but maybe not the best way to hear them,the first time around. I should know! I recently 'invested' in the Naxos cycle [and Handley's 7 & 8] and this has really transformed my opinion of these symphonies. Yes,I liked them before,but like some people I had a few reservations about whether some of them really hung together,No 4,in particular! Well,now I'm a convert. In my opinion,everything John says about these symphonies is dead right. In fact,I think this is easily one of the finest symphonic cycles by a British composer. Also,no one assimilated popular and classical idioms as well as Arnold,except Gershwin,I suppose (Grant Still & Devreese are pretty good!) And yes,the Sixth is one of the most compelling. Oh,and the Seventh,some of it inspired by 'The Chieftains'! How original,can you get? I just wish some of those so called critics would stop moaning and nit picking. Maybe,they could impress us all by composing something better?
« Last Edit: February 02, 2012, 07:23:13 AM by cilgwyn »

Offline Mirror Image

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Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
« Reply #89 on: February 02, 2012, 11:34:38 AM »
I like Malcolm Arnold a lot. I only own one complete cycle of his symphonies w/ Andrew Penny, but I own all of Hickox's symphony recordings too (he did, if I remember correctly, Nos. 1-6 --- very good performances). I wish Decca didn't pull the plug on their symphony set with Handley. I own the concerti box, but that symphony set is the one I really was wanting.
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Offline vandermolen

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Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
« Reply #90 on: February 04, 2012, 01:38:09 AM »
I have the Penny, Hickox/Gamba and Handlet sets of the symphonies - all are good but Handley is my favourite. Penny is great in No 9 and Hickox in 1, 5 and 6. although for years I subscribed to the view that the odd numbered symphonies are the best I increasingly listen to No 6. I especially like No 1. Arnold's own EMI versions of 1,2 and 5 are essential listening. He takes No 1 much slower than his rivals and I think that it works well.
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Offline Christo

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Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
« Reply #91 on: February 04, 2012, 03:04:02 AM »
The second flute only played one note, the very last of the first movement!

A normal thing to do for a second flautist. But perhaps only in High Modernism ..  8)
… music is not only an `entertainment’, nor a mere luxury, but a necessity of the spiritual if not of the physical life, an opening of those magic casements through which we can catch a glimpse of that country where ultimate reality will be found.    RVW, 1948

Offline Martin Lind

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Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
« Reply #92 on: February 10, 2012, 12:52:43 PM »
Malcolm Arnold, sometimes I like him, sometimes I don't like him at all. I like his symhonies who are great music, I enjoy his lighthearted ( the older he became less lighthearted) symphonic dances. I like also some pieces of chamber music. I  found a CD with sinfoniettas and concertoes less inspired, I didn't like his piano music, and my newest acqisation, his concertoes for 2 pianoes ( Naxos) left me completely cold.

I think overall that he was very interesting for me for quite a time but lost alot of his facination. Other composers ( for example in the moment Max Reger) are much more interesting in the moment but this may change again.

Regards Martin

Offline Archaic Torso of Apollo

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Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
« Reply #93 on: February 11, 2012, 12:56:47 AM »
Malcolm Arnold, sometimes I like him, sometimes I don't like him at all. I like his symhonies who are great music,

Over the last week, I listened to his whole symphonic cycle for the first time in a couple of years. It's interesting how perceptions change.

I still put #7 at the top, but I find it less nightmarish than I used to, more entertaining and fantasy-like. The one that has risen most in my estimation is #6. Not only is it very compact and well-constructed, but I think it integrates the pop/jazz influences more smoothly than his other symphonies.

I like #3 less than I used to. As I said above, a nice piece of quasi-Sibelius, but it lacks the individualistic character of the others. I still find #1 full of interesting ideas but half-baked in construction (why does the music just die halfway thru the 1st mvt?). At the other end, I like #8 more than I used to - it makes more sense if you know it's from his "depressive" period.
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Offline edward

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Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
« Reply #94 on: February 12, 2012, 10:22:19 AM »
Over the last week, I listened to his whole symphonic cycle for the first time in a couple of years. It's interesting how perceptions change.

I still put #7 at the top, but I find it less nightmarish than I used to, more entertaining and fantasy-like. The one that has risen most in my estimation is #6. Not only is it very compact and well-constructed, but I think it integrates the pop/jazz influences more smoothly than his other symphonies.

I like #3 less than I used to. As I said above, a nice piece of quasi-Sibelius, but it lacks the individualistic character of the others. I still find #1 full of interesting ideas but half-baked in construction (why does the music just die halfway thru the 1st mvt?). At the other end, I like #8 more than I used to - it makes more sense if you know it's from his "depressive" period.
Interesting points; I need to re-listen to the Arnold symphonies, perhaps after my current Lutoslawski binge is over. #6 and #8 are the two that I've been wanting to re-evaluate for a while; maybe they could crack my #7-#9-#5 trinity of favourite Arnold symphonies. I've never been quite sure how to interpret #7, myself, though I assume that the composer's intention probably was to make it fit two separate programs (one nightmarish, one fantastic--or perhaps Fantastique, in the Berliozian sense) equally well.

For whatever reason, I've never really warmed up to the first four; to me they lack the sense of danger that make #5 - #8 so compelling (I think Arnold's structural assertiveness took leaps and bounds forwards with the 5th, giving him the confidence that he could throw in apparently bizarre digressions without detracting from the main narrative flow).
"I don't at all mind actively disliking a piece of contemporary music, but in order to feel happy about it I must consciously understand why I dislike it. Otherwise it remains in my mind as unfinished business."
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Offline Dundonnell

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Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
« Reply #95 on: February 12, 2012, 04:28:59 PM »
Interesting points; I need to re-listen to the Arnold symphonies, perhaps after my current Lutoslawski binge is over. #6 and #8 are the two that I've been wanting to re-evaluate for a while; maybe they could crack my #7-#9-#5 trinity of favourite Arnold symphonies. I've never been quite sure how to interpret #7, myself, though I assume that the composer's intention probably was to make it fit two separate programs (one nightmarish, one fantastic--or perhaps Fantastique, in the Berliozian sense) equally well.

For whatever reason, I've never really warmed up to the first four; to me they lack the sense of danger that make #5 - #8 so compelling (I think Arnold's structural assertiveness took leaps and bounds forwards with the 5th, giving him the confidence that he could throw in apparently bizarre digressions without detracting from the main narrative flow).

Have you heard Arnold's own interpretation of the Seventh Symphony?? He takes it at such a slower speed-ten minutes longer than the quickest on record-that it almost becomes a different work.

Offline Christo

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Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
« Reply #96 on: February 12, 2012, 10:33:56 PM »
Arnold conducting his Symphony No. 7? :o His own versions of Symphonies 1, 2, 3 and 5 are well known - but where do we find this one?
… music is not only an `entertainment’, nor a mere luxury, but a necessity of the spiritual if not of the physical life, an opening of those magic casements through which we can catch a glimpse of that country where ultimate reality will be found.    RVW, 1948

Offline Archaic Torso of Apollo

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Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
« Reply #97 on: February 13, 2012, 12:10:27 AM »
For whatever reason, I've never really warmed up to the first four; to me they lack the sense of danger that make #5 - #8 so compelling

I'm surprised you don't like the 4th Symphony, since that's where he really struck out in a new direction, I think. It belongs to a sub-genre I enjoy, which I call "anarcho-symphonies" - so stuffed with diverse and clashing elements that they acquire a sort of paradoxical unity in the process. Other anarcho-symphonies include Shostakovich 4 and 15, Nielsen 6, Rochberg 1, and a couple of others I'm forgetting at the moment.

Have you heard Arnold's own interpretation of the Seventh Symphony?? He takes it at such a slower speed-ten minutes longer than the quickest on record-that it almost becomes a different work.

And speaking of the 4th, I think that's what you have in mind here:

http://www.classicstoday.com/review.asp?ReviewNum=10697
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Offline edward

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Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
« Reply #98 on: February 13, 2012, 05:54:43 AM »
I'm surprised you don't like the 4th Symphony, since that's where he really struck out in a new direction, I think. It belongs to a sub-genre I enjoy, which I call "anarcho-symphonies" - so stuffed with diverse and clashing elements that they acquire a sort of paradoxical unity in the process. Other anarcho-symphonies include Shostakovich 4 and 15, Nielsen 6, Rochberg 1, and a couple of others I'm forgetting at the moment.

And speaking of the 4th, I think that's what you have in mind here:

http://www.classicstoday.com/review.asp?ReviewNum=10697
Hmm. I remember absolutely nothing about the 4th; should give it another try.

I'd guess the couple of anarcho-symphonies you're missing would be Schnittke 1 and--perhaps the defining work of the genre--Popov 1. (One could probably make a pretty good case for Prokofiev 3, too.)
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Offline vandermolen

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Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
« Reply #99 on: February 13, 2012, 06:04:46 AM »
Arnold conducting his Symphony No. 7? :o His own versions of Symphonies 1, 2, 3 and 5 are well known - but where do we find this one?

Yes Colin - we need to know  :o :o :o
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