Author Topic: Richard Arnell (1917-2009)  (Read 25613 times)

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Offline Dundonnell

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Re: Richard Arnell (born 1917)
« Reply #40 on: August 08, 2007, 02:47:55 PM »
My Dutton CD of Symphonies Nos.4 and 5 have arrived! Only been able to listen to it once so far but have to say I am-again-most impressed. Echoes of Copland and some of the other American symphonists of the time in the 4th-not surprising really considering how long Arnell spent in the USA-and of Sibelius, at times, in the 5th.

What a tragedy that music of this quality should not have been heard for so long! At least Arnell is still alive to witness the revival of interest in his music! The way in which music of this sort should have been so eclipsed in the 1960s is nothing less than a scandal!
In common with others, Arnell was simply a name to me for the last forty years. I had given up hope of hearing his music. Once again, profound thanks to such an enterprising company as Dutton for rescuing such worthwhile music from apparent oblivion.

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Richard Arnell (born 1917)
« Reply #41 on: August 10, 2007, 05:53:16 AM »
My Dutton CD of Symphonies Nos.4 and 5 have arrived! Only been able to listen to it once so far but have to say I am-again-most impressed. Echoes of Copland and some of the other American symphonists of the time in the 4th-not surprising really considering how long Arnell spent in the USA-and of Sibelius, at times, in the 5th.

What a tragedy that music of this quality should not have been heard for so long! At least Arnell is still alive to witness the revival of interest in his music! The way in which music of this sort should have been so eclipsed in the 1960s is nothing less than a scandal!
In common with others, Arnell was simply a name to me for the last forty years. I had given up hope of hearing his music. Once again, profound thanks to such an enterprising company as Dutton for rescuing such worthwhile music from apparent oblivion.

Totally agree.
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

Offline Dundonnell

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Re: Richard Arnell (born 1917)
« Reply #42 on: August 10, 2007, 06:37:50 AM »
Well I simply cannot stop playing these magnificent works! Both symphonies are superb but the 5th certainly lives up to its reputation.
It would go down a storm at the Proms if only such an audience was ever given the opportunity to hear music of this kind. That would, of course, be asking far too much of the individuals who plan the programmes for the Proms these days!

I cannot recommend this CD enough to anyone of an enquiring disposition. Exciting, dramatic, uplifting music of the highest quality!

Offline Thom

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Re: Richard Arnell (born 1917)
« Reply #43 on: August 10, 2007, 09:53:41 AM »

I cannot recommend this CD enough to anyone of an enquiring disposition. Exciting, dramatic, uplifting music of the highest quality!

Well said! I totally agree.

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Richard Arnell (born 1917)
« Reply #44 on: August 10, 2007, 10:06:14 AM »
My dream is for Richard "Tony" Arnell to be at the Proms to see a performance of his Third or Fifth Symphony but, sadly, for reasons Dundonnell spells out, this is an unlikely scenario. He must, however, be delighted with the renewed interest in his music.
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

Offline sound67

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Re: Richard Arnell (born 1917)
« Reply #45 on: August 10, 2007, 12:31:37 PM »
As long as the tastes of Max and Moritz are prevalent among the general public, fat chance for a Proms performance of this music. ;)

Listening to the 2nd Symphony, "Rufus", now. Arrived today, together with Nos. 4 + 5. Utterly compelling music, admittedly Hindemith-ish.

Thomas
"Vivaldi didn't compose 500 concertos. He composed the same concerto 500 times" - Igor Stravinsky

"Mozart is a menace to musical progress, a relic of rituals that were losing relevance in his own time and are meaningless to ours." - Norman Lebrecht

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Richard Arnell (born 1917)
« Reply #46 on: August 11, 2007, 12:29:12 AM »
As long as the tastes of Max and Moritz are prevalent among the general public, fat chance for a Proms performance of this music. ;)

Listening to the 2nd Symphony, "Rufus", now. Arrived today, together with Nos. 4 + 5. Utterly compelling music, admittedly Hindemith-ish.

Thomas


Let us know what you think of 4 and 5.
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

Offline sound67

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Re: Richard Arnell (born 1917)
« Reply #47 on: August 12, 2007, 12:39:24 AM »
I listened to the 4th and 5th Symphony twice during a lengthy train and bus ride yesterday; a dacapo of the slow movement of the 4th almost made me miss my stop.

The 4th is the more immediately impressive of the two in that at first it seems more cogently argued than the slightly episodic 5th. The claim made above that it must have been influenced by Aaron Copland is totally correct, although I'd argue that Coopland himself never made as persuasive and thrilling a symphonic utterrance as Arnell does here. The tension throughout the three movements just never lets up, "intense" is the word for it. As such, the orchestral writing is very straightforward, there are no chamber-like interludes as there are in the later symphony, it's the whole symphonic aggregate pounding on the listener all the time. The power is increased by Arnell's now familiar technique of repeating a phrase several times over and sustaining a rhythm for extended passages. On listeners who prefer subtelty over power the effect might in fact be over-powering. Shostakovich devotees such as me will love it. ;)

The high point of the work to me was the hymnic slow movement at the center, which gives Copland a run for his money as far as lyrical-yet-ambivalent writing goes. It builds to an almost unbelievably beautiful climax, I just regret that the movement then ends with a somewhat murky afterthought. Maybe it is there just to break the impression of perfect beauty.

If there is a weak spot here it may be the all-too-short final movement (timings go: I- 13:05; II- 9:28; III- 4:03) which makes for a slightly uneasy structural balance in this piece. The work ends very abruptly. I cannot help thinking this is a war symphony (it was written in 1948), given the gloominess of the first movement especially.

The fifth I have yet to hear more often to make a comment. It is more subtle, more open, more chilling in its orchestral colours perhaps.

Thomas
« Last Edit: August 12, 2007, 12:43:02 AM by sound67 »
"Vivaldi didn't compose 500 concertos. He composed the same concerto 500 times" - Igor Stravinsky

"Mozart is a menace to musical progress, a relic of rituals that were losing relevance in his own time and are meaningless to ours." - Norman Lebrecht

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Richard Arnell (born 1917)
« Reply #48 on: August 12, 2007, 01:20:32 AM »
Thanks Thomas for such an in depth and thoughtful analysis. I agree about the Copland connection; at one point in Symphony 5 I was even reminded of Bruckner! (about 7 mins into the slow movement).

I love both works but, for me, the greatest passage on the disc is the closing few minutes of Symphony 5, but I guess that I am something of a sentimentalist :)

Jeffrey
« Last Edit: August 12, 2007, 01:24:46 AM by vandermolen »
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

Offline Dundonnell

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Re: Richard Arnell (born 1917)
« Reply #49 on: August 12, 2007, 04:52:43 AM »
Thanks Thomas for such an in depth and thoughtful analysis. I agree about the Copland connection; at one point in Symphony 5 I was even reminded of Bruckner! (about 7 mins into the slow movement).

I love both works but, for me, the greatest passage on the disc is the closing few minutes of Symphony 5, but I guess that I am something of a sentimentalist :)

Jeffrey

I see what you mean with the reference to Bruckner. What I am reminded of in the slow movement of the 5th is the Britten of the 'Dawn' Sea Interlude from 'Peter Grimes'. I totally agree about the closing pages of the 5th-they have me cheering!
In David Wright's article on Arnell on the web he quotes someone as describing Arnell as an "English Rachmaninov". Well, I don't particularly care for Rachmaninov's music and that rather put me off. I can now, however, totally agree with the late Bryden Thomson's commen that the 5th is "a work to fall in love with".

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Richard Arnell (born 1917)
« Reply #50 on: August 13, 2007, 12:46:12 AM »
I see what you mean with the reference to Bruckner. What I am reminded of in the slow movement of the 5th is the Britten of the 'Dawn' Sea Interlude from 'Peter Grimes'. I totally agree about the closing pages of the 5th-they have me cheering!
In David Wright's article on Arnell on the web he quotes someone as describing Arnell as an "English Rachmaninov". Well, I don't particularly care for Rachmaninov's music and that rather put me off. I can now, however, totally agree with the late Bryden Thomson's commen that the 5th is "a work to fall in love with".


I see what you mean too about the Peter Grimes "Sea Interludes" connection, especially at the very start of the slow movement of Symphony 5. Bryden Thomson (a much underrated conductor) was right. I am listening to No 5 for the umpteenth time. There are sections (in the middle of the slow movement) which reminded me of another fine and largely unknown score: John Kinsella's Third Symphony (Marco Polo). Kinsella is an Irish composer (former Head of Classical Music at RTE). I was alerted to his music when Gramophone suggested that it should appeal to admirers of Tubin and Lilburn (whose music I love). I've written to Gramophone hoping that they Acknowledge Arnell's 90th bithday in September (and to BBC Music Magazine too). Maybe they will make some amends for the total lack of Arnell's music at the Proms. We shall see!
« Last Edit: August 13, 2007, 12:48:12 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 #51 on: September 15, 2007, 08:38:45 AM »
HAPPY 90th BIRTHDAY RICHARD ARNELL
(born 15th September 1917) :)
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

Offline Dundonnell

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Re: Richard Arnell (born 1917)
« Reply #52 on: October 11, 2007, 04:43:52 PM »
Those who have been collecting the excellent Dutton series of Richard Arnell's symphonies(Nos.2-5 have been released so far) may be interested to learn that his "Lord Byron: A Symphonic Portrait"(1952) will be issued by that most enterprising of British companies on October 22nd. The piece is coupled with Thomas Dunhill's Symphony in A minor(1914-16) and played by the Royal Scottish National Orchestra conducted by Martin Yates(CDLX7915).

Thomas Dunhill(1877-1946), a pupil of Stanford, is another of those previously largely forgotten British composers whose work is at last seeing the light of day thanks to the unstinting efforts of people like Lewis Foreman(who appears to be Dutton's British Music Adviser!).
There is a good article about Dunhill on the Musicweb site. Apparently the Symphony(which the article dates as 1922) is subtitled 'Belgrade' and was first performed in that city-surely a unique distinction for a British symphony premiere!

(Incidentally, Dutton is also releasing this month another CD containing the Scottish composer Erik Chisholm's Symphony No.2 'Ossian' coupled with some music by Eric Fogg and Trevor Hold(two new names to me)(CDLX7196))

We used to be told by the big companies that they couldn't possibly record music by composers like these because there was no market for their music and there would be no profit. How do these small companies manage it?????

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Richard Arnell (born 1917)
« Reply #53 on: October 13, 2007, 03:00:43 AM »
Exciting news about these new releases. Thanks
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

Offline Thom

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Re: Richard Arnell (born 1917)
« Reply #54 on: November 18, 2007, 06:30:05 AM »



I have listened many times to Arnell's 3d symphony and I now know this symphony to be a masterwork. It is from now on definetely in my shortlist of great symphonies. So far I bought the three Dutton discs (S3, Piano Co with S2, and S4&5). Does anyone know whether there will be more symphonies on the Dutton label?


Offline Dundonnell

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Re: Richard Arnell (born 1917)
« Reply #55 on: November 18, 2007, 07:54:21 AM »
Delighted to hear that you share our enthusiasm for this composer!! Don't miss the recent Dutton CD with the 'Lord Byron'-a Symphonic Portrait (coupled with Thomas Dunhill's Symphony).

In answer to your question, it is inconceivable that Dutton will not release Arnell's 1st and 6th symphonies. Whether they will be coupled together however is a moot point since they would pose a considerable contrast. Symphony No.1 was written in the USA during the war and is sometimes called the Chamber Symphony whereas the 6th symphony "The Anvil" is a work from the 1990s and is more dissonant than Arnell's other symphonies.

AND...whatever happened to the other complete cycle of the symphonies recorded for Toccata Classics by the Musica Nova orchestra of Arizona conducted by Warren Cohen? According to the Musica Nova website, the intention was to release the first CD(Nos. 3 and 6) in October 2006 and Nos. 1 and 4 in February 2007. I found this odd at the time since Symphony No.3 is over 60 minutes long-so, presumably the 6th symphony must be very short.

According to the article on Arnell by David Wright on the Musicweb website, Arnell was working on a 7th symphony for Nelson Mandela. Warren Cohen, however, states that the 7th symphony was being written in 2005 and dedicated to him!

All very peculiar!! What will Toccata do now? If CD collectors were going to buy Arnell symphonies they would probably have already gone for the very reasonably priced Dutton with the RSNO rather than an unknown Arizona orchestra?

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Richard Arnell (born 1917)
« Reply #56 on: November 18, 2007, 03:30:07 PM »



I have listened many times to Arnell's 3d symphony and I now know this symphony to be a masterwork. It is from now on definetely in my shortlist of great symphonies. So far I bought the three Dutton discs (S3, Piano Co with S2, and S4&5). Does anyone know whether there will be more symphonies on the Dutton label?



I'm glad too Thom that you like these works. I would say that Arnell is the discovery of the year for me. Symphonies 3-5 are all absolutely first rate. Obsessive Compulsive CD Collecting Disorder (OCCDCD) will probably mean that I end up collecting the Toccata series too, if it ever appears. Also on Dutton is Edgar Bainton's fine Third Symphony,which has been another great discovery of this year.
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

Offline Thom

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Re: Richard Arnell (born 1917)
« Reply #57 on: November 19, 2007, 10:30:56 AM »
I'm glad too Thom that you like these works. I would say that Arnell is the discovery of the year for me. Symphonies 3-5 are all absolutely first rate. Obsessive Compulsive CD Collecting Disorder (OCCDCD) will probably mean that I end up collecting the Toccata series too, if it ever appears. Also on Dutton is Edgar Bainton's fine Third Symphony,which has been another great discovery of this year.

O yes, I am a great fan. I have also ordered the Dunhill/Arnell disk. Edgar Bainton, well I never heard of him either. Are we talking about an Arnell-like composer? Could you give some specifics of his music?

Harry

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Re: Richard Arnell (born 1917)
« Reply #58 on: November 19, 2007, 10:51:28 AM »
I have some works from Bainton on Chandos Thom, and what I can remember is that it sounded like Moeran, robust...
I will get it out, and listen. :)


http://www.jpc.de/jpcng/classic/detail/-/hnum/1567760?rk=classic&rsk=hitlist
« Last Edit: November 19, 2007, 10:53:58 AM by Harry »

Offline Thom

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Re: Richard Arnell (born 1917)
« Reply #59 on: November 19, 2007, 11:10:29 AM »
I have some works from Bainton on Chandos Thom, and what I can remember is that it sounded like Moeran, robust...
I will get it out, and listen. :)


http://www.jpc.de/jpcng/classic/detail/-/hnum/1567760?rk=classic&rsk=hitlist

Thanks Harry, that is a good enough recommendation for me. I was bowled over so to speak by Moeran's Symphony in G minor when I first heard it not so long ago.

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