Author Topic: Richard Arnell (1917-2009)  (Read 24922 times)

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Offline vandermolen

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Richard Arnell (1917-2009)
« on: July 29, 2007, 02:24:09 PM »
I have decided that this great composer deserves his own thread, although I am not expecting many replies. He is 90 this year (no commemoration at the London Proms of course) and I would suggest that, following the recent death of Malcolm Arnold, he is Britain's greatest living composer.

Dutton (all credit to them) are releasing all his symphonies on CD. Nos 2-5 are now available. I was overcome by the epic wartime Third Symphony (hardly ever performed, since Barbirolli misguidedly excised large sections of it at the time of the first performance). Symphony 4 and 5 have just been released and No 5, dedicated to Arnell's father, is a wonderful work, very movingly quoting (although not directly) the music hall tune "Dear Old Pals, Jolly Old Pals" in the second and third movements (there are three), as Arnell's father used to sing this tune.  When it returns, in epic form, just before the end, it is a truly wonderful moment, terribly moving.  It is one of those tunes that, once heard, resonate in the mind long afterwards. This is the most inspiriting work (composed 1955-7) that I have heard in a long time. After being greatly moved by the Third Symphony I send off a letter of appreciation to the composer (who now lives in a musician's benevolent home in Bromley, London) and received back a lovely card and nice comments from him.

Shame on the BBC for ignoring this composer. If you want to hear an uplifting and thoroughly enjoyable tonal symphony I strongly recommend Arnell's symphonies 3 and 5.

http://www.musicweb-international.com/arnell/
« Last Edit: April 20, 2009, 08:39:01 AM by vandermolen »
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

Offline Thom

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Re: Richard Arnell (born 1917)
« Reply #1 on: July 30, 2007, 04:40:32 AM »
I recently bought this cd:



but I haven't come to grips with it yet. A tough nut to crack for me really. I really try to understand this music but I am still a long way off. Sorry.

Offline violinconcerto

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Re: Richard Arnell (born 1917)
« Reply #2 on: July 30, 2007, 07:00:51 AM »
Are there any - commerical or not - recordings of his Violin concerto op.9 and his Concerto capriccioso op.71??
regards,
Tobias
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Offline vandermolen

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Re: Richard Arnell (born 1917)
« Reply #3 on: July 30, 2007, 11:25:59 AM »
I recently bought this cd:



but I haven't come to grips with it yet. A tough nut to crack for me really. I really try to understand this music but I am still a long way off. Sorry.

Thanks for the reply, No 5 may be a better place to start, it is much shorter than No 3 and instantly likeable (in my view anyway!)
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Richard Arnell (born 1917)
« Reply #4 on: July 30, 2007, 11:27:34 AM »
Are there any - commerical or not - recordings of his Violin concerto op.9 and his Concerto capriccioso op.71??

Not as far as I'm aware although I heard yesterday that the Bridge label have also recorded all the Arnell symphonies and nos 3 and 4 will be issued shortly.
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

Offline Thom

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Re: Richard Arnell (born 1917)
« Reply #5 on: July 30, 2007, 10:40:58 PM »
No 5 may be a better place to start, it is much shorter than No 3 and instantly likeable (in my view anyway!)

Thanks vandermolen, I will try to obtain the 5th although that may not be so easy.

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Richard Arnell (born 1917)
« Reply #6 on: July 30, 2007, 11:12:58 PM »
Thanks vandermolen, I will try to obtain the 5th although that may not be so easy.

You could always get it through Dutton:

http://www.duttonvocalion.co.uk/proddetail.asp?prod=CDLX7194
« Last Edit: July 30, 2007, 11:14:41 PM by vandermolen »
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

Offline Thom

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Re: Richard Arnell (born 1917)
« Reply #7 on: July 31, 2007, 02:41:03 AM »
Thanks again vandermolen, I will order via Dutton.

What about this one, are you familiar with this cd:


Mark

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Re: Richard Arnell (born 1917)
« Reply #8 on: July 31, 2007, 03:25:24 AM »
Arnell. New name for me to explore (I'm planning to make British 20th Century composers a focus over the coming years). I really ought to get some Dutton recordings. I'm endlessly intrigued by the great stuff they appear to be releasing.

Offline Marple

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Re: Richard Arnell (born 1917)
« Reply #9 on: July 31, 2007, 03:28:00 AM »
Sounds tempting! I'll try his 5th symphony too then :)

vandermolen, I'm a great fan of Vaughan-Williams. Is there any 'connection' between his music and that of Arnell? Or what is Arnell's music like? :)

Offline Thom

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Re: Richard Arnell (born 1917)
« Reply #10 on: July 31, 2007, 03:51:18 AM »
Is there any 'connection' between his music and that of Arnell? Or what is Arnell's music like? :)

I sometimes think I can discern a certain resemblance with music of George Lloyd (whom I admire). From what I have heard of Arnell (which is not much) Vaughan Williams is far off, no resemblance at all. But vandermolen is probably a better judge.

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Richard Arnell (born 1917)
« Reply #11 on: July 31, 2007, 11:17:43 AM »
Sounds tempting! I'll try his 5th symphony too then :)

vandermolen, I'm a great fan of Vaughan-Williams. Is there any 'connection' between his music and that of Arnell? Or what is Arnell's music like? :)

I'm slightly reluctant to suggest comparisons as i tend to get shot down in flames for doing so by those with superior insight ;D

Having said that, I love the music of Vaughan Williams too. Probably the closest to VW are Howells, Finzi non-Planets Holst, Patrick Hadley and, to some extent, Rubbra plus the great Portuguese composer Braga Santos (a neglected genius in my view...try Symphony 1 if you like VW). I think that Arnell is perhaps closer to Walton and Alwyn in spirit with traces of Sibelius and more especially Nielsen. Do try Symphony 5 or the epic No 3 if you can. to me it is one of those pieces that make you feel that life is worth living despite all the vicissitudes involved (pseuds-corner blahblahblah...yes, I know).
« Last Edit: July 31, 2007, 11:19:31 AM by vandermolen »
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Richard Arnell (born 1917)
« Reply #12 on: July 31, 2007, 11:21:30 AM »
Thanks again vandermolen, I will order via Dutton.

What about this one, are you familiar with this cd:



I recently received the CD but have yet to properly listen to it but you have encouraged me to do so tonight and i'll let you know what i think.
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Richard Arnell (born 1917)
« Reply #13 on: July 31, 2007, 11:32:01 AM »
I sometimes think I can discern a certain resemblance with music of George Lloyd (whom I admire). From what I have heard of Arnell (which is not much) Vaughan Williams is far off, no resemblance at all. But vandermolen is probably a better judge.

I don't think that my opinion is any more valid than anyone elses but thank you anyway. I don't think that the George Lloyd/Arnell comparison is misplaced...there are elements of populism in the works of both composers and (like Vaughan Williams for that matter) they both wrote good tunes that stay in the mind!
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

Offline Thom

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Re: Richard Arnell (born 1917)
« Reply #14 on: July 31, 2007, 11:42:10 AM »
I recently received the CD but have yet to properly listen to it but you have encouraged me to do so tonight and i'll let you know what i think.

The same with me. Actually it arrived today and I listened to it once. Interesting music, the piano concerto very lively, the 2nd symphony like the 3d rather long-winded but that is not per se  a negative judgment. Anyway, Arnell's music from what I heard sofar is interesting enough for me to order the 5th symphony which you praise so highly, as well, at the Dutton online store. I will let you know but it may take some time before it arrives.

Offline Thom

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Re: Richard Arnell (born 1917)
« Reply #15 on: July 31, 2007, 11:46:37 AM »
there are elements of populism in the works of both composers and (like Vaughan Williams for that matter) they both wrote good tunes that stay in the mind!

Well said! I feel the same. I believe you also mentioned Malcolm Arnold (who is a great favourite of mine) in your opening statement. Now talking about good tunes, there is your man!

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Richard Arnell (born 1917)
« Reply #16 on: July 31, 2007, 11:54:44 AM »
Well said! I feel the same. I believe you also mentioned Malcolm Arnold (who is a great favourite of mine) in your opening statement. Now talking about good tunes, there is your man!

Yes, Arnold is a great favourite of mine. Symphony 1 is probably the work of his I play most often. Got his autograph too :)
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Richard Arnell (born 1917)
« Reply #17 on: July 31, 2007, 11:43:36 PM »
I enjoyed both the Piano Concerto and Symphony 2 although they did not grab me with the force of the Third or Fifth Symphony. I will need to listen to them several times i think before they really grab me.
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

Offline Thom

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Re: Richard Arnell (born 1917)
« Reply #18 on: August 01, 2007, 01:20:58 AM »
Yes, Arnold is a great favourite of mine. Symphony 1 is probably the work of his I play most often. Got his autograph too :)

You lucky dog!  :D

Offline Marple

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Re: Richard Arnell (born 1917)
« Reply #19 on: August 01, 2007, 04:39:42 AM »
Reading this I've just found out that I've heard too little of british composers! :) I guess it's caused by the famous continental disadvantage, if you know what I mean. ;)

Arnell, Arnold, Holst, Walton Howells, Finzi, Hadley - I'm going to listen to all of them! ;D

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