Author Topic: sir Malcolm Arnold  (Read 33501 times)

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Offline cilgwyn

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Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
« Reply #300 on: August 15, 2017, 01:43:57 PM »
After buying the cd of Handley's Sixth (see previous post) I couldn't resist this one any longer,with it's entertaining fill-ups (a dull term for such delights I know!) and the lovely,colourful artwork. Hopefully,it will be coming through my letterbox soon!



Offline relm1

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Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
« Reply #301 on: August 15, 2017, 03:46:16 PM »
After buying the cd of Handley's Sixth (see previous post) I couldn't resist this one any longer,with it's entertaining fill-ups (a dull term for such delights I know!) and the lovely,colourful artwork. Hopefully,it will be coming through my letterbox soon!



You are doing exactly what I did.  Are you trying to copy me?  If so, next for you will be No. 1 and 5 in this excellent series.

Offline vandermolen

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Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
« Reply #302 on: August 15, 2017, 11:08:54 PM »
You are doing exactly what I did.  Are you trying to copy me?  If so, next for you will be No. 1 and 5 in this excellent series.
1 and 5 are my favourites - that is a great CD in a great series.
IMHO No.5 is the best of the cycle.
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

Offline cilgwyn

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Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
« Reply #303 on: August 16, 2017, 01:44:28 AM »
Hm! It could be No's 3 & 4. Going by artwork. No's 1 & 5!! ::) ;D I must admit,No5 always used to be my favourite.......until I heard No 6. I think that's even finer,to my ears! Although,received opinion would tend to be on your side. I think No 7 is my next favourite. That is so original. A shame Arnold doesn't get his due in the concert halls. John Whitmore,over at the Havergal Brian thread,reckons it's snobbery. I remember if you argued his case at the old Radio 3 forum (the official BBC one) you would get accused of conspiracy theories.

Offline cilgwyn

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Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
« Reply #304 on: August 16, 2017, 02:37:12 AM »
No 4 is also growing on me,more and more! I remember being unconvinced by those intrusions in the finale. After listening to Arnold's own performance (not the Lyrita recording) I'm starting to really enjoy it. And those intrusions (inspired by the Notting Hill riots?) are meant to be disconcerting intrusions,aren't they? There's something a bit Ivesian about them. Except that Ives would have more than one band! There's allot of tension under the surface. The jolly tune in the first movement is not all that it seems. The slow movement,one of Arnold's greatest!

NB: I must have a listen to Rumon Gamba's performance. The off-air recordings I heard,of his performances of the Arnold symphonies,are in very good sound.

Offline cilgwyn

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Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
« Reply #305 on: August 16, 2017, 07:33:04 AM »
I'm listening to the BBC studio recording of Arnold's Fourth,conducted by Gamba,now. I'm not a musician,but I much prefer this to the Hickox performance. It just has more,Oomph;to use a very un-technical term! Those Hickox performances,constantly,strike me as a tad bland,whenever I try listening to them. This is so much more lively. The percussion is exciting. I haven't got to the last movement,yet. This recording downloaded from the Art Music Forum,is in very good sound. I seem to remember someone saying that Hickox was unconvinced by the last three symphonies,and that's why Gamba took over. Chandos should have booked Gamba for the whole cycle,going by what I'm hearing! :(

Offline bwv 1080

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Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
« Reply #306 on: August 16, 2017, 07:51:43 AM »
This does not get played or recorded enough

<a href="https://www.youtube.com/v/3VFw6cvWV78" target="_blank" class="new_win">https://www.youtube.com/v/3VFw6cvWV78</a>
Cogito cogito ergo cogito sum

Offline relm1

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Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
« Reply #307 on: August 16, 2017, 04:31:26 PM »
I'm listening to the BBC studio recording of Arnold's Fourth,conducted by Gamba,now. I'm not a musician,but I much prefer this to the Hickox performance. It just has more,Oomph;to use a very un-technical term! Those Hickox performances,constantly,strike me as a tad bland,whenever I try listening to them. This is so much more lively. The percussion is exciting. I haven't got to the last movement,yet. This recording downloaded from the Art Music Forum,is in very good sound. I seem to remember someone saying that Hickox was unconvinced by the last three symphonies,and that's why Gamba took over. Chandos should have booked Gamba for the whole cycle,going by what I'm hearing! :(

I'm a musician and my favorite version is the Lyrita recording https://www.amazon.com/Symphony-No-4-Malcolm-Arnold/dp/B000056Z63  which is epic.  I don't want a different version because his phrasing is so spot on.  Arnold saw himself as Mahlerian by way of Sibelius (two of the greatest 20th century symphonists) and along with his No. 7 and 9, this performance of his No. 4 proved it.  Remember in Mahler, he incorporated his local influences, the fact that there was a fireman's funeral march he recalled in his youth showed up in Symphony No. 10.  This is how to listen to Arnold.  It isn't Ives, it is more Mahler.  Folk/national music but with local influences as part of the great life questions.  Ives would overlap them which Arnold does not do but rather interrupts. 
« Last Edit: August 16, 2017, 04:39:58 PM by relm1 »

Offline vandermolen

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Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
« Reply #308 on: August 17, 2017, 12:05:51 AM »
I'm a musician and my favorite version is the Lyrita recording https://www.amazon.com/Symphony-No-4-Malcolm-Arnold/dp/B000056Z63  which is epic.  I don't want a different version because his phrasing is so spot on.  Arnold saw himself as Mahlerian by way of Sibelius (two of the greatest 20th century symphonists) and along with his No. 7 and 9, this performance of his No. 4 proved it.  Remember in Mahler, he incorporated his local influences, the fact that there was a fireman's funeral march he recalled in his youth showed up in Symphony No. 10.  This is how to listen to Arnold.  It isn't Ives, it is more Mahler.  Folk/national music but with local influences as part of the great life questions.  Ives would overlap them which Arnold does not do but rather interrupts.
This is the Symphony I least know by Arnold and I have that Lyrita recording so thanks - you have encouraged me to listen to it again.
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

Offline cilgwyn

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Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
« Reply #309 on: August 17, 2017, 07:48:09 AM »
Ives is one American composer I'm not too keen on! I think his Fourth Symphony is an extraordinary piece of music. A visionary masterpiece! Even so,I don't want to listen to it too often! ::) Oh well,each to his own! ;D I wouldn't like to compare Arnold with a composer like Mahler. I don't really understand all these comparisons with Mahler,anyway? Just because Arnold incorporates elements of popular music,and mixes in some angst,? That makes him like Mahler?! No,the great thing about Arnold,really is,he just sounds like Arnold! That's one of the great things about his music, Just a few bars,and you know it's him. More Arnoldian than Mahlerian,if you ask me! Forget Mahler! Arnold's too individualistic for such a comparison, Listen to him because he's Arnold, not Mahler! That's how to listen to Arnold! :)

Offline cilgwyn

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Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
« Reply #310 on: August 17, 2017, 07:55:40 AM »
Difficult and interesting question. I think that they all have their strengths. Overall probably the Handley set but I love Hickox in No.1,5 and 6. No one would be disappointed with the Naxos cycle which was made in the presence of the composer.
As to individual symphonies my favourites are:
No1 Arnold/Hickox
No2 Groves
No3 Arnold (Everest)
No 4 Arnold (Lyrita) but I don't know the others so well
No 5 Arnold (EMI)/Hickox
No 6 Handley
No 7 Handley
No 8 Gamba (but I don't know the others so well)
No 9 Penny
A very useful guide! :)
I'll stick to Gamba and Handley,for the Ninth,though!

Offline vandermolen

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Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
« Reply #311 on: August 17, 2017, 10:00:45 PM »
A very useful guide! :)
I'll stick to Gamba and Handley,for the Ninth,though!
I'll listen to their versions again.
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

Offline Christo

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Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
« Reply #312 on: August 17, 2017, 10:32:47 PM »
I'll listen to their versions again.
I also stuck to the Penny Ninth - it has the atmosphere of the unique occasion, a sort of farewell to the composer.
… 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 vandermolen

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Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
« Reply #313 on: August 18, 2017, 08:12:15 AM »
I also stuck to the Penny Ninth - it has the atmosphere of the unique occasion, a sort of farewell to the composer.
+1
I agree that there is an emotional appeal to this disc as Arnold was there.
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

Offline cilgwyn

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Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
« Reply #314 on: August 20, 2017, 06:44:36 AM »
I must admit I didn't warm to the Naxos cycle. I'm not a fan of that label,either. Something about the sound quality and presentation,just turns me clean off!. That said,I have been quite impressed by their recent Brian releases. So there is hope for me!! ;D  I get the point about Malcolm Arnold being there. I didn't collect their release of the Ninth. At the moment,I'm perfectly content with Rumon Gamba's recording;and the Ninth,far from being the gloomy outpouring I expected from numerous posts and reviews,is actually,in it's own way,a quite uplifting experience. I now regard it as one of Arnolds finest and most absorbing creations. An inspiring coda to one of the most original and rewarding symphony cycles by a British composer. I will certainly think about adding that Naxos release to my collection!

By the way,I finally listened to Arnold's own recording of his Symphony No 7. I made a cd-r up;adding his recording of the Sixth,which I acquired via Youtube. For my own use,I might add! I don't like listening via the pc;and I can add some bass,via my mini hi-fi! As to the all important music!! Wow! It really is a slow performance!! Arnold takes passages at an absolute snail's space,to put it mildly. I normally like Arnold's interpretations. I listened to his Lyrita recording of the Fourth,yesterday. This was the recording that actually put me off Arnold's Fourth,when I bought the cd,some years ago! I actually ended up selling it to a lady in the market!! Now,after listening to Arnold's earlier recording (on Youtube) and listening to his recording of the Fifth (not the emi recording) and Sixth,I can honestly say that,I now like it! After listening to Hickox's (imo) rather bland interpretation,and Gamba's (imo) very good (but probably not as good as Handley) I was again thinking,"My goodness that is slow!",and worrying about what the finale was going to be like. But after a while,the magic took hold. Arnold draws this symphony out to truly epic length;and I was wrong first time around. It works!! This is particularly apparently in the slower,quieter parts of the first movement,making that exotic percussion sound quite ominous! There is a feeling of tension,and an underlying menace,which you just don't get in other recordings. The slow movement is taken at a glacial pace. This is,imo,one of Arnold's most inspired movements. The overall impact is tremendous. I came to the end of this symphony feeling that it might really be one of the most original and individual symphonies ever composed by a British composer! (As opposed to greatest,please note!) Maybe,an over the top response;but listening to this symphony ,in this recording,really is quite an experience,once it (and the music,itself) finally "clicks"! A quite mesmerising experience,to be honest. I just had to go and play it through,all over again. His earlier (premiere,I believe?) is also a very rewarding experience. I hope someone will eventually release it,and his other recordings of 5 (again,not the emi) and 6,on a cd! In better sound,of course> I do like those posh announcements,though!! ;D

Which Brings me back to his recording of the Seventh. I haven't really made up my mind about this performance............yet,to be honest!! The sound quality of the off-air recording,via,the Art Music Forum,doesn't exactly help. (Although,please note;I am grateful to the provider!!) The announcement that precedes it prepares you for the worst! The sound quality is truly apalling! Then,almost miraculously;just before the music begins,the sound,quite dramatically,improves. Not that dramatically,really,but by the standards of what preceded it. At any rate,it's a quite clear,albeit,a little boxy,with some buzzing sounding interference at a few points. More curiously.....there are unexpected contributions from what might be a police radio (taxi,or ambulance station?!!) which at one point become very loud. The contributions made by a Scotsman,who sounds a bit like the SNP leader,Alex Salmond. But that may have been my fevered imagination!! Not that I minded,really. It reminded me of my youth;when I used to listen to all kinds of odd transmissions on my transistor radio. One of them a policeman informing the station that he was going to visit my parent's house!! Fortunately,they weren't going to clap me in irons. Some kids had pulled the gate off it's hinges and thrown it in the hedge!! Presumably,there is a recording out there,of this performance,without these strange (if oddly,entertaining) contrubutions!! Very interesting to listen to,however. According to my cd-r timing;Arnold takes,52:46 over the Seventh Symphony. Handley takes,37:43,and Gamba,31:52!!

NB: Anyone listening to the AMF download,of Arnold conducting his Seventh,needs to bear in mind that listening to Police radio transmissions,is a criminal offence!! ??? ;D

Offline cilgwyn

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Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
« Reply #315 on: August 22, 2017, 03:08:08 AM »
It could be a taxi on the other hand? Wait a minute. I'm supposed to be listening to the music!! For anyone who hasn't heard it. You can hear Arnold conducting his Seventh at the Art Music Forum. You have to register first,like here;and preferably (to be polite) contribute some posts! The sound quality is good enough for listening purposes......with some interesting additions (see previous post).

I loved the Conifer cd of Handley's Second. Very savvy of the label,to couple it with some of Arnold's most humorous and imaginative compositions. The cd opens with his Grand Grand Overture. I love the finale to end all finale's that seems to take several minutes like minded companions. In the past I've found the SEcond Symphony,with it's St Trinian's style finale,a bit much for me! However,alongside it's similarly upbeat companions,it's finally revealed as the superbly orchestrated and entertaining opus it is. The slow movement is more serious,of course.

I received the emi cd of Arnold's First.coupled with the Concerto for 2 pianos (3 hands) and some other pieces,today.. Tam O shanter,is one of them. I haven't had time to listen to it yet.

On Saturday,I received the Phoenix reissue of Arnold's Symphony No 3 and Four Scottish dances on Saturday.;along with the Conifer release of Symphonies 1 & 5. The Arnold recordings on the Phoenix cd were originally released on the Everest label,with a rather bizarre image of the lower half of kilted figure doing a highland fling,or something? The Phoenix cd has a much more restful photograph of a Scottish loch. Very nice! This is Arnold in more serious vein. I think there is some more upbeat music in amongst all the gloom and bleakness. I seem to remember not liking this symphony much when I first heard it,quite some years ago. I was probably expecting something in a simiar vein to the Fifth;which I had been playing to death!  I think I will probably have changed my mind,now. I will listen to these two cd's again,as soon as possible. It will be nice to have this impressive cycle in it's entirety in such excellent recordings. I was never really happy with the Hckox cycle. I think I was seduced by that lush,boomy Chandos sound. In hindsight I feel they are all just a tad bland. The strings do sound wonderfully lush in the finale of the Fifth,though! The Chandos cycle seemed to improve spectacularly (for me,anyway) when Rumon Gamba took over. Alas too late! But not quite! The good news is that he recorded the cycle for the BBC,and they have the off air recordings at the Art Music Forum! The Handley cycle of the Fifth is now my favourite,after Arnold's own (with Gamba in third place).

 I've got Richard Strauss' opera Daphne on the (cordless) headphones at the moment. It's like listening to a massive tone poem,with voices. No need for a libretto,here! Lucia Popp as Daphne had one of the most heavenly voices. I thought I would be switching this one off!! ??? ;D

Offline vandermolen

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Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
« Reply #316 on: August 22, 2017, 05:06:05 AM »
It could be a taxi on the other hand? Wait a minute. I'm supposed to be listening to the music!! For anyone who hasn't heard it. You can hear Arnold conducting his Seventh at the Art Music Forum. You have to register first,like here;and preferably (to be polite) contribute some posts! The sound quality is good enough for listening purposes......with some interesting additions (see previous post).

I loved the Conifer cd of Handley's Second. Very savvy of the label,to couple it with some of Arnold's most humorous and imaginative compositions. The cd opens with his Grand Grand Overture. I love the finale to end all finale's that seems to take several minutes like minded companions. In the past I've found the SEcond Symphony,with it's St Trinian's style finale,a bit much for me! However,alongside it's similarly upbeat companions,it's finally revealed as the superbly orchestrated and entertaining opus it is. The slow movement is more serious,of course.

I received the emi cd of Arnold's First.coupled with the Concerto for 2 pianos (3 hands) and some other pieces,today.. Tam O shanter,is one of them. I haven't had time to listen to it yet.

On Saturday,I received the Phoenix reissue of Arnold's Symphony No 3 and Four Scottish dances on Saturday.;along with the Conifer release of Symphonies 1 & 5. The Arnold recordings on the Phoenix cd were originally released on the Everest label,with a rather bizarre image of the lower half of kilted figure doing a highland fling,or something? The Phoenix cd has a much more restful photograph of a Scottish loch. Very nice! This is Arnold in more serious vein. I think there is some more upbeat music in amongst all the gloom and bleakness. I seem to remember not liking this symphony much when I first heard it,quite some years ago. I was probably expecting something in a simiar vein to the Fifth;which I had been playing to death!  I think I will probably have changed my mind,now. I will listen to these two cd's again,as soon as possible. It will be nice to have this impressive cycle in it's entirety in such excellent recordings. I was never really happy with the Hckox cycle. I think I was seduced by that lush,boomy Chandos sound. In hindsight I feel they are all just a tad bland. The strings do sound wonderfully lush in the finale of the Fifth,though! The Chandos cycle seemed to improve spectacularly (for me,anyway) when Rumon Gamba took over. Alas too late! But not quite! The good news is that he recorded the cycle for the BBC,and they have the off air recordings at the Art Music Forum! The Handley cycle of the Fifth is now my favourite,after Arnold's own (with Gamba in third place).

 I've got Richard Strauss' opera Daphne on the (cordless) headphones at the moment. It's like listening to a massive tone poem,with voices. No need for a libretto,here! Lucia Popp as Daphne had one of the most heavenly voices. I thought I would be switching this one off!! ??? ;D
Those three Arnold CDs are amongst the best IMHO. I'm glad you've got the endearingly old-fashioned looking Phoenix recording of Arnold's Third Symphony and Scottish Dances with the castle on the loch photo - great stuff! Also that EMI CD with Symphony 1 taken very slowly by Arnold is my favourite versions and I love the other items on that disc. Much the same for the terrific combination of Handley's recordings of symphonies 1 and 5 - probably my two favourite Arnold symphonies on the same CD. So, you have done well cigwyn.
I will not, however, comment on your liking for Richard Strauss.  :P
« Last Edit: August 22, 2017, 05:07:54 AM by vandermolen »
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

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