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The Music Room => Composer Discussion => Topic started by: Thom on April 12, 2007, 10:28:13 AM

Title: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: Thom on April 12, 2007, 10:28:13 AM
I think Malcolm deserves a thread in the new forum. I really like to champion this man who was such a prolific composer. The core of his output are his 9 symphonies of which i rate his 9th the best. His music often balances between the dark and the light. Such was his life really. An exuberant man, loved by many and during his good spells a humorous, warm personality, who on the other hand was also suffering from mental disorders for which he was hospitalised several times. It all reflects in his music i suppose. I recently acquired the 3 boxed sets by Decca, that were to commemorate his 85th birthday in october last year. Arnold died a short time before his birthday.
Anyway, there were a few threads about Arnold in the old forum. I hope more of you feel the same about him as i do.

X
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: Harry on April 12, 2007, 10:35:04 AM
Of course there are many admirers on this board, and since you have the complete works on three boxes, the Decca recordings we know your admiration.
Today I played this one, and good it is.
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: Brewski on April 12, 2007, 10:43:46 AM
A few threads from the other board below (one started by XXXPawn!).  I just discovered this composer last fall, thanks to some of those Chandos recordings, and am very glad I did.  Was sad when he died just a short time after that...

Malcolm Arnold (http://www.good-music-guide.com/forum/index.php/topic,10337.0.html)

Sir Malcolm Arnold, 1921-2006 (http://www.good-music-guide.com/forum/index.php/topic,11089.0.html)

--Bruce
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: Thom on April 12, 2007, 10:50:21 AM
Of course there are many admirers on this board, and since you have the complete works on three boxes, the Decca recordings we know your admiration.
Today I played this one, and good it is.

I own this one Harry

(http://ec1.images-amazon.com/images/P/B000000AQJ.02._SCLZZZZZZZ_SS500_.jpg)

and i think these quartets are very good indeed, his 2nd especially.
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: Archaic Torso of Apollo on April 12, 2007, 10:56:37 AM
Terry Teachout is a critic I usually don't have much sympathy with, but in this article from Commentary, I think he hits the nail on the head in regard to Arnold's real worth:


Terry Teachout: Discovering Malcolm Arnold

When Malcolm Arnold died in September, the obituaries in several of
England's leading newspapers referred to him in the headline as a
"film composer." The Guardian summed up his life's work as follows:


The tormented but irrepressible career of Sir Malcolm Arnold, the
most recorded British composer of all time and the first to win an
Oscar, ended last night with his death at the age of eighty-four.


Not until the fourth paragraph did readers of the Guardian learn
that in addition to scoring The Bridge on the River Kwai (for which
he won his Oscar in 1958) and 131 other movies, Arnold also found
time to write nine symphonies, two dozen concertos, and numerous
other orchestral and chamber works.


While the critical "appreciations" that ran the next day were
better informed, few did more than sketch the outlines of this
composer's controversial career, and they did so at times
evasively. The BBC, for instance, declared that "while some
regarded [Arnold] as one of the pre-eminent composers of his
generation, others saw him as superficial and flippant." The BBC
failed to mention that its own music controllers had long made no
secret of their disdain for his music.


Meanwhile, in American newspapers, Arnold's death went largely
unmentioned--for the good reason that his compositions are
virtually unknown to American audiences. To the extent that he has
a following in this country, it is mainly through the recordings
that have been made of his symphonies in recent years.^1 Indeed,
until a few months ago Malcolm Arnold was little more than a name
to me, too. In a lifetime of concert-going, I had never heard a
public performance of any of his works. All I knew was that he was
widely regarded as a lightweight--a judgment reinforced by his
bluff, breezy personal manner and the self-deprecating statements
he made about his own music. ("If you can say it in words of one
syllable, musically speaking, it's your duty to do so.")


It was only after learning that he suffered from a lifelong case of
manic depression so malignant it had brought his career to a
premature end that it occurred to me to question the received
wisdom about Arnold. Intrigued that he had none-theless managed to
produce a substantial body of work, I procured a copy of Malcolm
Arnold: Rogue Genius (2004), a biography by Anthony Meredith and
Paul Harris that has yet to be published in this country.^2 ^What I
read there was so fascinating that I decided to listen to Arnold's
Fifth Symphony, composed in 1961.


Most of the British critics who covered the premiere of this piece
did so in a brutally dismissive fashion. The London Observer's
Peter Heyworth, for instance, called it the work of a "tub-thumper"
who had "thrown the last shreds of discretion to the winds," while
the anonymous critic for the London Times claimed that it suggested
"a creative personality in an advanced stage of disintegration." To
my amazement, Arnold's Fifth turned out to be not a shoddy piece of
crowd-pleasing yard goods but a compelling, fully realized example
of mid-century modernism that was worthy of comparison with the
best symphonies of Prokofiev and Shostakovich. From the Fifth, I
went on to listen to the rest of his symphonies and a considerable
number of his other works. By the time I was done, it was clear to
me that Arnold, far from being a lightweight, was in fact a major
composer.


Why, then, had he been written off by the critics? Thereby, I was
to learn, hangs a tale of snobbery, provincialism, and aesthetic
ideology run rampant--as well as a chronicle of self-destructive
behavior that is, in the fullest sense of an oft-misused word,
tragic.


Much of Arnold's remarkable individuality can be explained by
taking a close look at his musical training and early professional
life. Born in 1921, he discovered jazz at the age of nine and
taught himself the trumpet in order "to play like Louis Armstrong."
He would remain interested in jazz for the rest of his life--the
slow movement of his Guitar Concerto (1957), for instance, is an
elegy for the great guitarist Django Reinhardt--and though its
influence rarely finds literal expression in his own works, the
pronounced streak of populism that became his trademark no doubt
stemmed from this early encounter.^3


In 1941, Arnold joined the London Philharmonic Orchestra, becoming
its principal trumpet player shortly thereafter. During his tenure
with the LPO, he performed a wide variety of orchestral literature
under such distinguished conductors as Sir Thomas Beecham, Wilhelm
Furtwängler, and Bruno Walter, all of whom were impressed by his
playing, as was everyone else who heard him. ("Why do you want to
be a composer?" Ralph Vaughan Williams asked him, apparently in
genuine bewilderment. "You're the best trumpet player in England.")


Arnold was, indeed, one of only a handful of important composers to
have been a professional orchestral player, as well as the only one
to have played a brass instrument, and the impact of these
experiences on his composing career cannot be understated. As he
would explain to an interviewer:


I have tried to treat definite, straightforward, understandable
material with the utmost simplicity in what I hope is an
interesting manner, treating every single orchestral sound and note
as meaning something and not to be wasted. When you sit in the
orchestra, as I have, you can't help seeing and being disgusted
with the waste of players' energies and talents on mountains of
useless padding.


Arnold also studied conducting with Constant Lambert, the
composer-critic who doubled as music director of the Sadler's Wells
Ballet (now the Royal Ballet). Unlike most British composers of his
generation, Lambert was decidedly Franco-Russian in musical
orientation; he was also closely familiar with early jazz, whose
rhythms and timbres he wove into The Rio Grande (1929) and his
Concerto for Piano and Nine Instruments (1931). It cannot be
coincidental that when Arnold started writing music of his own, it
was just as far removed as Lambert's from the prevailing tendencies
of English modernism. Though Gustav Holst's The Planets left its
mark on his style, Arnold's other musical models were not Edward
Elgar or Vaughan Williams but Berlioz, Mahler, Sibelius, and
(later) Shostakovich.^4


To this volatile brew of seemingly irreconcilable sources, Arnold
added an enlivening dash of the populism he had picked up from
Lambert and the jazzmen who inspired him in childhood. The result
was Beckus the Dandipratt (1943), a concert overture that became
the twenty-one-year-old composer's calling card. A comic scherzo
whose galumphing triple-time rhythms are reminiscent of the
"Uranus" section of The Planets, Beckus is in every other way a
wholly personal utterance, and its pawky wit and luminous
orchestration signaled the emergence of an arrestingly fresh new
voice in British music.^5


Like all such voices, Arnold's was initially viewed with suspicion.
In 1943 and for many years afterward, the British musical
establishment--including the BBC, which already played a key role
in the dissemination of new music in England--was both conservative
and provincial. Its bureaucrats, appalled by the extrovert vigor
and proliferating imagination of Arnold's early compositions, did
their best to keep them from being broadcast. As late as 1951, a
BBC apparatchik dismissed his First Symphony in an internal memo as
"blatant and vulgar . . . not the product of an adult musical
mind." But audiences responded with excitement to his engaging
blend of sophistication and the common touch, and eventually even
the BBC was forced to come around--for a time.


It helped that, by 1948, Arnold was earning enough money from his
film scores to leave the LPO and set up shop as a full-time
composer. A technician of near-Mozartean facility, he was capable
of turning out a half-dozen movie scores each year, and this highly
paid work made it unnecessary for him to curry favor elsewhere. In
the long run, however, it served him poorly, not only because it
diverted his energies from more substantial efforts but because his
film scores, while never less than professional, were rarely
inspired or memorable. In addition, Arnold's work in films provoked
resentment among critics--and colleagues--who viewed him as a
bumptious, unserious upstart with no right to be popular, much less
rich and famous.^6


With the public, however, it seemed throughout the 50's that
Malcolm Arnold could do no wrong. As a classical composer, he
continued to turn out a steady stream of large-scale orchestral and
chamber pieces, all of them received warmly. Aside from his first
five symphonies, composed between 1951 and 1961, he wrote a series
of concise, elegantly crafted concertos, most of them neoclassical
in style, for such noted soloists as the horn player Dennis Brain,
the guitarist Julian Bream, and the oboist Léon Goossens.^7


At the same time, and with equal ease, Arnold moved in the sphere
of light music, producing such ingratiatingly tuneful orchestral
miniatures as the two sets of English Dances (1950-51). A natural
comedian, he collaborated with the cartoonist Gerard Hoffnung on a
festival of musical parodies for which he wrote A Grand, Grand
Overture (1956), scored for three vacuum cleaners, a floor
polisher, and a large symphony orchestra complete with organ.^8


It is in the symphonies, however, that Arnold can be heard at his
best and most characteristic. All of them are broadly but never
rigidly traditional in form, and, though their flavor is
unambiguously contemporary, all maneuver fluently and naturally
within the parameters of functional tonality. Indeed, Arnold's
harmonic vocabulary, which juxtaposes prickly bi-tonal polychords
with sweet-sounding major-seventh cadences, is one of the most
immediately recognizable features of his style.


"So few composers have a distinctive sound--with air and light,"
Arnold observed in 1951. In common with Berlioz and Mahler, his
wind-dominated orchestral palette is unusually light-textured, with
brass and percussion held in reserve for fiery bursts of primary
color. Like Berlioz, he favors violent contrasts--one is never far
from catastrophe in an Arnold symphony--and like Mahler, he loves
to slip marches into his slow movements and finales, some funereal
and others explosively martial. Mahler is also the obvious
reference point for his use of quasi-popular tunes, some of which
are purposefully vulgar in effect.


Arnold was a passionate believer in the expressive power of melody,
and though he never pandered to audiences, he liked to please them
when he could. Revealingly, he once observed with admiration that
the novels of Somerset Maugham could be "read with pleasure by one
and all." That was his goal as well.


Above all, Arnold's symphonies are reflections of his complex,
frequently stormy emotional life. He once stated that "my
symphonies . . . are autobiographical, but I prefer them to be
approached as pure music," explaining the apparent paradox in this
way:


I like music because it is not connected with any time, place, or
particular thing. It is abstract emotion. As soon as you get words,
you're tied to a particular object or situation, inevitably, by the
use of words, which to me limits the vast horizons that music has
from an emotional point of view.


For this reason Arnold rarely spoke in public (or in private) about
the programmatic content of his symphonies, though he admitted that
the three movements of his Seventh Symphony (1973) were "in the
very loosest way . . . musical portraits" of his three children. It
is now thought that many of his other symphonies were based in
whole or in part on secret programs of a similarly autobiographical
nature. If true, this would shed light on such seemingly
inexplicable departures from conventional form as the startling
moment at the end of the Fifth Symphony when, immediately after the
full orchestra presents a resplendently triumphant D-major version
of the lyrical main theme of the slow movement. Arnold swerves
without warning into E minor, the austere key in which the symphony
begins, and brings the finale to a close with a stark coda that
trails off into dead silence.^9


Arnold was enraged by the contempt with which critics savaged his
Fifth Symphony. Asked by a reporter whether such notices embittered
him, he replied:


I'll tell you how bitter I am--only as bitter as a man who wants to
stand up and walk down the street and doesn't want people shouting
offensive, patronizing remarks after him. The critics have got to
live, but for Christ's sake why don't they let me live too?


Needless to say, Arnold was not the only composer to be raked over
the coals in the 60's by critics who wrongly believed tonality to
be obsolete. As much as anything else, their consistent refusal to
take him seriously stemmed from their long-simmering rage at the
provincialism of British musical life, and it was his bad luck to
be caught in the crossfire. But by then he had something far more
serious to worry about: the likelihood that he was going mad.


Mental illness ran in Arnold's family, and from adolescence onward
he showed signs of an underlying instability that went far beyond
the "eccentricity" on which the English pride themselves. As a
student he was notorious for his heavy drinking and sexual
excesses. In 1943 he appears to have been hospitalized for what was
then thought to be schizophrenia; in 1945 he enlisted in the army
even though he had previously claimed to be a pacifist, and a month
later shot himself in the foot in order to return to civilian life.
Thereafter, his life would be marked by recurrent psychotic
episodes, suicide attempts, and hospitalizations.


For a quarter-century, Arnold nonetheless managed to function as a
composer and conductor, though his bizarre behavior, exacerbated by
what in time developed into full-blown alcoholism, became steadily
more difficult to ignore or paper over. Naturally enough, many of
those unaware that he was mentally ill found his conduct
shocking--a fact that also helps to explain the distaste with which
he came to be regarded by a growing number of his fellow
musicians.^10


It is impossible to speak definitively of the extent to which
Arnold's music was affected by his mental illness, though it is
tempting to attribute some of its more extreme contrasts of mood,
as well as the explicit anguish of such later works as the dark,
tonally ambiguous Symphony for Brass Instruments (1978), to the
effects of manic depression.^11 What is clear, however, is that he
found it increasingly difficult to compose as his periods of mania
grew more frequent and intense, and after completing the Symphony
for Brass Instruments and the tempestuous Eighth Symphony (which he
wrote in a mental hospital), he seemed close to stopping
altogether. Between 1978 and 1982 he produced only one work, a
flimsy trumpet concerto, after which he fell silent once more.


In 1986, Arnold, who by that time was being cared for around the
clock by a nurse-companion, pulled himself together sufficiently to
write a four-movement symphony, his ninth and last. It is an
unsettling work whose paper-thin textures (most of it is written in
two parts) leave no doubt that his brain had been irreparably
damaged by decades of chronic alcoholism. Yet even with the modest
technical means remaining at his disposal, Arnold miraculously
contrived to spin out a (mostly) convincing musical argument,
though the symphony's bare simplicity led his publishers to reject
it, and it was not played in public until 1996.


The Ninth Symphony was not Arnold's last composition; he eked out a
dozen more pieces, none of them memorable and some only marginally
competent. But its finale, a 25-minute-long elegy that recalls the
last movement of Mahler's Ninth Symphony, was universally taken to
be his swan song. Arnold himself spoke of it as "an amalgam of all
my knowledge of life." He wrote no more music after 1990, slowly
withdrawing into the haze of dementia in the years that remained to
him.


By then, though, the collapse of the avant-garde monopoly and the
restoration of tonality that followed had led to a revaluation of
Arnold's music that continues to this day. A new generation of
musicians began to record his symphonies and other works, and these
recordings were praised by critics for whom the war against the
modernism-hating provincials of the 40's was no more than a
half-remembered episode in the history of British music. For the
first time since 1961, it was all right to like Malcolm Arnold.


Will it remain so? To second-guess posterity is the chanciest of
undertakings, but it certainly appears that his time has come at
last. For my part, I cannot recall the last time I have responded
so powerfully to the music of a classical composer with whom I was
hitherto unfamiliar. It filled me with chagrin to realize that the
creator of works like the Second and Fifth Symphonies, the Symphony
for Brass Instruments, and the concertos for guitar and two violins
(to name only a handful of Arnold's finest efforts) had been active
for the better part of my adult life. How, I wondered, could I have
overlooked a master who was hiding in plain sight all along?


Such, alas, is the anaesthetizing power of an unexamined consensus.
For, of all the many composers to whose careers the postwar
avant-garde laid waste, Arnold may well be the one whose posthumous
reputation is destined to soar the highest. Though it was only
months ago that I heard his music for the first time, I already
feel confident in ranking him with Elgar, Vaughan Williams, William
Walton, and Benjamin Britten as one of the greatest English
composers of the 20th century. I am no less confident that music
lovers of the 21st century will feel the same way.


Terry Teachout, COMMENTARY's regular music critic and the drama
critic of the Wall Street Journal, is at work on a biography of
Louis Armstrong. He blogs about the arts at www.terryteachout.com.


^1 The most readily available (and least expensive) complete set of
Arnold's symphonies is by Andrew Penny and the National Symphony
Orchestra of Ireland. They are coupled as follows: Nos. 1 and 2
(Naxos 8.553406), Nos. 3 and 4 (8.553739), Nos. 5 and 6 (8.552000),
Nos. 7 and 8 (8.552001) and No. 9 (8.553540). These CD's, and the
others referred to below, can be purchased by viewing this article
at Commentary's website, www.commentarymagazine.com, during the
month of November.
In addition, Vernon Handley's recordings of the symphonies are
included in the first volume of The Malcolm Arnold Edition, a newly
released series of three boxed sets available from amazon.co.uk.
These sets contain most of Arnold's major compositions, including
all of the works mentioned in this article (Decca 476 533-7, 476
534-3, and 476-534-8, 13 CD's).


^2 It can, however, be ordered from Amazon.com.


^3 The British Music Collection: Malcolm Arnold (Decca 468 302-2)
contains a performance of the concerto by Eduardo Fernandez, Barry
Wordsworth, and the English Chamber Orchestra.


^4 A typical example of Arnold's eclectic taste is the list of
pieces he cited as personal favorites on a 1960 edition of the BBC
series Desert Island Discs: Berlioz's Symphonie fantastique,
Elgar's Introduction and Allegro, a partsong by Holst, Purcell's
Fantasia Upon One Note, Sibelius' Fourth Symphony, Stravinsky's
Symphony of Psalms, Tom Lehrer's comic song "Fight Fiercely
Harvard," and a 1939 recording of "Dipper Mouth Blues" by Muggsy
Spanier's Ragtime Band.


^5 Rumon Gamba has recorded Beckus the Dandipratt and nine other
Arnold overtures with the BBC Philharmonic (Chandos CHAN 1029). The
1947 premiere recording of Beckus by Eduard van Beinum and the
London Philharmonic, on which Arnold can be heard playing trumpet,
has been reissued for the first time since its original release (on
78's) as part of the third volume of The Malcolm Arnold Edition.


^6 Because Arnold worked almost exclusively on English films, few
of which were seen outside the British Isles, his music for The
Bridge on the River Kwai (which he wrote in ten days) is the only
one of his scores with which American moviegoers are familiar.


^7 Seventeen of Arnold's concertos are included in the second
volume of The Malcolm Arnold Edition.


^8 The English Dances have been recorded by Bryden Thomson and the
Philharmonia (Chandos CHAN 8867). A Grand, Grand Overture is on
Rumon Gamba's Chandos CD.


^9 He would later explain that the Fifth Symphony is "filled with
memories of friends of mine who died young." The authors of Malcolm
Arnold: Rogue Genius identify one of the "friends" in question as
his older brother Aubrey, who committed suicide shortly before
Arnold began writing the symphony.


^10 Even Arnold's closest friends were stunned by some of his
wilder escapades. The critic and broadcaster John Amis described a
particularly notorious incident to the authors of Malcolm Arnold:
Rogue Genius: "On one occasion, and it was typical, he got through
an enormous meal--three or four dozen oysters, a couple of
carpetbag steaks, puddings, cheese, and with it all several bottles
of wine--before ending up on the floor having sex with a waitress."


^11 The British Music Collection: Malcolm Arnold contains a
spectacularly virtuosic performance of the Symphony for Brass
Instruments by the Philip Jones Brass Ensemble, for which the work
was written.
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: Thom on April 12, 2007, 10:59:48 AM
Terry Teachout is a critic I usually don't have much sympathy with, but in this article from Commentary, I think he hits the nail on the head in regard to Arnold's real worth:

Couldn't agree more!

X
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: SonicMan46 on April 12, 2007, 11:03:15 AM
And for those just getting into 20th century English Composers, check out this more Generic Thread (http://www.good-music-guide.com/forum/index.php/topic,4392.0.html); plenty of discussion of Arnold and many others, along with dozens of CD recommendations.  I own about a dozen Arnold CDs (again most likely shown in the thread mention or those by Bruce), including all the Symphonies, which are excellent.  The three chamber music discs on Helios w/ the Nash Ensemble are quite enjoyable; but I'll willing to explore more of his output!  :)


(http://website.lineone.net/~nash_ensemble/cds/arnold1.jpg)  (http://www.wesleyclassics.com.au/library/images/2charnold.jpg)  (http://website.lineone.net/~nash_ensemble/cds/arnold3.jpg)
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: Catison on April 12, 2007, 04:06:14 PM
The Madison Brass Band (which I participate in) is playing his two Little Suites for Brass Band.  They are absolutely wonderful gems.

 I've also really fallen in love with his 7th symphony.  I would like to get all the symphonies, so is there a box set worth obtaining?
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: Robert on April 12, 2007, 06:36:33 PM
I own this one Harry

(http://ec1.images-amazon.com/images/P/B000000AQJ.02._SCLZZZZZZZ_SS500_.jpg)

and i think these quartets are very good indeed, his 2nd especially.

Do I love these quartets.  I have had these about 15 years... The first could easily be by Bartok or Shosty. a very disturbing quartet....a very uneasy allegro, a scherzo right out of Bartok frantic, shrieking, next a spooky andante, the insinuating rondo and the quiet coda.....the second is much larger more urgent. This one has some lush romantic themes  being undercut by various subversive dissonances and disruptions. .slow fast, slow. This  never seems to get resolved but comes to a sort of peace or consolation......awesome.... check it out......
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: Thom on April 12, 2007, 09:53:43 PM
What an accurate summary, Robert. I concur wholeheartedly. Amongst his chamber works there are also some great pieces. Still, his true greatness, I think, lies in the 9 symphonies, of which i rate the 5 (what an adagio!), 7 and 9th the greatest.

X
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: Harry on April 12, 2007, 10:39:59 PM
The Madison Brass Band (which I participate in) is playing his two Little Suites for Brass Band.  They are absolutely wonderful gems.

 I've also really fallen in love with his 7th symphony.  I would like to get all the symphonies, so is there a box set worth obtaining?

I would say that the Naxos set would do very nicely, a good recording, fine performance, and the stamp from the composer, since he was there with many of the recording sessions.
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: Thom on April 12, 2007, 10:55:13 PM

I would say that the Naxos set would do very nicely, a good recording, fine performance, and the stamp from the composer, since he was there with many of the recording sessions.

Good morning Harry,

Was he really there Harry? I mean with all his mental facilities? There is a brief interview with Arnold on the Naxos disk and he doesn't seem to be very coherent in his speech. I do want to belief though that Arnold's stamp is on the Penny recordings which are very good in my opinion (I think I prefer them over the Handley recordings in the Decca anniversary boxed set).

X
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: Harry on April 12, 2007, 11:05:09 PM
Good morning Harry,

Was he really there Harry? I mean with all his mental facilities? There is a brief interview with Arnold on the Naxos disk and he doesn't seem to be very coherent in his speech. I do want to belief though that Arnold's stamp is on the Penny recordings which are very good in my opinion (I think I prefer them over the Handley recordings in the Decca anniversary boxed set).

X

Good morning to you too, my friend.

Altough his speech was impaired that does not mean he was not there with his mind. I read a interview with him shortly before he died, in which he clearly stated how happy he was during the recording sessions, and how happy he was with the results. Set your mind at rest about that. And if you listen to this Naxos set, there is no other conclusion than inspiring.
Handley's is a fine rendition, but for me less that the Penny recordings. Plus the Naxos sound is very good.
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: Archaic Torso of Apollo on April 12, 2007, 11:12:49 PM
I've also really fallen in love with his 7th symphony.  I would like to get all the symphonies, so is there a box set worth obtaining?

Another vote for the Naxos box, one of the best things they've done IMHO.

That 7th Symphony is a scorcher, ain't it? It's like musical record of someone's psychological collapse.
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: Harry on April 12, 2007, 11:15:04 PM
Another vote for the Naxos box, one of the best things they've done IMHO.

That 7th Symphony is a scorcher, ain't it? It's like musical record of someone's psychological collapse.

As long as you enjoy it! ;D
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: Thom on April 13, 2007, 12:29:03 AM
I read an interview with him shortly before he died, in which he clearly stated how happy he was during the recording sessions, and how happy he was with the results.

Harry, Do you happen to know the DVD documentary "Into the unknown region" about Arnold? Some time ago I bought this DVD. Interesting watching. At the end of his life Arnold was seriously suffering from dementia. Shocking to watch at the end of the DVD how Arnold is mumbling and rambling, already there in that unknown region, about 'malcolm bloody arnold' with a lot of hatred, who knows about what.

Anyway I don't want to dispute Arnold's stamp on the Penny recordings. Indeed they are very good and i must say, i prefer them over the Handley's recordings on the anniversary Decca boxed set. Indeed the sound of the Naxos cd's is superb.

X
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: Harry on April 13, 2007, 12:47:18 AM
Harry, Do you happen to know the DVD documentary "Into the unknown region" about Arnold? Some time ago I bought this DVD. Interesting watching. At the end of his life Arnold was seriously suffering from dementia. Shocking to watch at the end of the DVD how Arnold is mumbling and rambling, already there in that unknown region, about 'Malcolm bloody Arnold' with a lot of hatred, who knows about what.

Anyway I don't want to dispute Arnold's stamp on the Penny recordings. Indeed they are very good and i must say, i prefer them over the Handley's recordings on the anniversary Decca boxed set. Indeed the sound of the Naxos cd's is superb.

X

The dementia did not cloud him all the time, and lots of his behaviour was attention seeking circus. When he had given up on life, life gave him up, and the dementia could grow at a fast rate.
I know the documentary yes, and he was treated badly by life, and some very nasty characters around him, did the rest, to instill him with hatred, that in the end destroys every human being, also Arnold.
It was good and soothing to him communicating with Penny about his Symphonies, and you can clearly hear the joy with which Penny is conducting.
For me these recordings are highlights!
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: Thom on April 13, 2007, 02:35:57 AM
Thanks Harry. I also read his biography 'Arnold, Rogue Genius' which clarifies a lot about the 'bad' people around him, and on the whole about his colourful (to say the least) life.

X
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: tjguitar on April 15, 2007, 05:54:52 PM
I bought the 3 DECCA box sets from Amazon UK, it was a pain because for whatever reason they aren't going to be released in the US and Amazon.com doesn't import them.  Thankfully it was a little bit cheaper than the advertised prices on amazon.co.uk because there is no VAT to international buyers (I'm guessing VAT is some sort of tax, that they include in their base price fro their UK buyers) I also used to have the naxos box and I still have mp3s but I sold it a while ago to buy new stuff, for whatever reason I stuck with the Handley, though the Penny is also quite good.


In addition to the 3 decca boxes (which are great!, though I wish they used clamp shell jewel cases instead of the soft boxes) and the 3 chamber music discs on hyperion shown above,  I also have these excellent Arnold CDs:

(http://ec1.images-amazon.com/images/P/B000000AQB.01._SCLZZZZZZZ_V44977809_AA240_.jpg)(http://ec1.images-amazon.com/images/P/B000000AL5.01._SCLZZZZZZZ_AA240_.jpg)(http://ec1.images-amazon.com/images/P/B0007SK9L0.01._SCLZZZZZZZ_V45992268_AA240_.jpg)
(http://ec1.images-amazon.com/images/P/B000000B0G.01._SCLZZZZZZZ_V45586653_AA240_.jpg)(http://ec1.images-amazon.com/images/P/B000005IDO.01._SCLZZZZZZZ_AA240_.jpg)(http://ec1.images-amazon.com/images/P/B000JJ4GF2.01._SCLZZZZZZZ_V44531597_AA240_.jpg)
(http://ec1.images-amazon.com/images/P/B0000015A2.01._SCLZZZZZZZ_AA240_.jpg)(http://ec1.images-amazon.com/images/P/B00004YU77.01._SCLZZZZZZZ_V45827157_AA240_.jpg)
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: S709 on April 15, 2007, 06:26:34 PM
Arnold's symphonies are all well worth exploring, but I especially love the 7th Symphony. The extremely violent dissonant passages, the tragic lamentations of the 2nd movement, and the totally unexpected little Celtic dance in the conclusion -- what a piece ! (I have only heard the Penny versions of all the symphonies).

Thanks to all for the interesting info in this thread so far.
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: Harry on April 15, 2007, 10:36:40 PM
I bought the 3 DECCA box sets from Amazon UK, it was a pain because for whatever reason they aren't going to be released in the US and Amazon.com doesn't import them.  Thankfully it was a little bit cheaper than the advertised prices on amazon.co.uk because there is no VAT to international buyers (I'm guessing VAT is some sort of tax, that they include in their base price fro their UK buyers) I also used to have the naxos box and I still have mp3s but I sold it a while ago to buy new stuff, for whatever reason I stuck with the Handley, though the Penny is also quite good.


In addition to the 3 decca boxes (which are great!, though I wish they used clamp shell jewel cases instead of the soft boxes) and the 3 chamber music discs on hyperion shown above,  I also have these excellent Arnold CDs:


Impressive line up, and all good value! :)
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: vandermolen on April 16, 2007, 02:55:51 AM
I strongly recommend this new release of historic Arnold recordings:

http://www.play.com/Music/CD/GENBRWA/30/37/-/3298189/Arnold_Conducts_Arnold/Product.html?searchtype=genre

It is the first CD release of Arnold conducting Symphony 2 (I prefer it to the Groves; more urgent) and Symphony 1 is my favourite (Arnold takes it about 10 minutes slower than the competition, giving it a much more tragic, epic feel).  The Piano Concerto is great too as is Tam O'Shanter.
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: tjguitar on May 08, 2007, 07:57:41 PM
New Arnold disc out. Has anyone heard it?


(http://ec1.images-amazon.com/images/I/515KPJWJDGL._SS500_.jpg)


http://www.amazon.co.uk/Arnold-Sound-Barrier-Sir-Malcolm/dp/B00006K08L

Hasnt been released in the US yet apparently.


edited to add there's another new one coming from Naxos, released in the US May 29th.

(http://ec1.images-amazon.com/images/I/51Zjxk09HPL._SS500_.jpg)
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: Harry on May 09, 2007, 12:07:48 AM
New Arnold disc out. Has anyone heard it?




edited to add there's another new one coming from Naxos, released in the US May 29th.

(http://ec1.images-amazon.com/images/I/51Zjxk09HPL._SS500_.jpg)

I ordered it, and it will soon be in my home.
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: tjguitar on May 09, 2007, 06:35:34 AM
I ordered it, and it will soon be in my home.

I asked the Malcolm Arnold website about this CD and they responded w/ the following:


Quote
Dear TJ
 
This is indeed a new Arnold recording that has recently been released on the Naxos label!
 
You might find the following information useful:
 

"ARNOLD, M. 8.570294  NAXOS

Chamber Music for Winds

Wind Quintet Op. 2 • Duo for Two Clarinets Op. 135 • Dream City • Hobson’s Choice: Overture • Grand Fantasia • Overture • Suite Bourgeoise • You Know What Sailors Are: Scherzetto • Fantasy for Clarinet Op. 87 • Fantasy for Flute and Clarinet • Divertimento Op. 37 • 3 Shanties Op. 4

This disc includes some of Malcolm Arnold’s lesser known chamber music for wind ensemble.  The repertoire is extensive and includes the Three Shanties and Dream City for wind quintet.  One of the most exciting pieces on this CD is the Wind Quintet Opus 2, only recently rediscovered in a box of music belonging to the late Stephen Walters, a former wind player for the London Philharmonic Orchestra.  This is the world premier recording.

The East Winds unites the talents of Victoria Soames, Judith Treggor, Joseph Sanders, Jonathan Hassan and Lizbeth Elliott in their first outing on Naxos".
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: vandermolen on May 10, 2007, 08:59:21 AM
Arnold's symphonies are all well worth exploring, but I especially love the 7th Symphony. The extremely violent dissonant passages, the tragic lamentations of the 2nd movement, and the totally unexpected little Celtic dance in the conclusion -- what a piece ! (I have only heard the Penny versions of all the symphonies).

Thanks to all for the interesting info in this thread so far.

Totally agree, it is a great work.  The Vernon Handley version is my favourite. I have really come to appreciate Symphony 6 more and more with its unexpected "blues" episode and great sense of looming tragedy.
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: tjguitar on June 14, 2007, 08:16:11 AM
I ordered it, and it will soon be in my home.


Have you heard this yet Harry?
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: Harry on June 14, 2007, 08:25:40 AM

Have you heard this yet Harry?

Yes I did, fine music from Arnold on the light side.
Not first class compositions, but nice enough.
Don't expect to much. :)
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: PerfectWagnerite on June 14, 2007, 01:26:59 PM
Arnold is certainly more interesting than Telemann for example. Nobody is as un-interesting or as light as Telemann,.
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: 71 dB on June 14, 2007, 02:35:55 PM
Arnold is certainly more interesting than Telemann for example. Nobody is as un-interesting or as light as Telemann,.

I think it's safe to say Telemann is more interesting than Giovanni Buonaventura Viviani.  ;D
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: techniquest on June 14, 2007, 11:17:54 PM
I have the Naxos 'white box' set and agree with what has already been said about it - wonderful collection. I especially love the 5th symphony, and in particular the jaunty 3rd movement which, after a restless opening and bouncy, aggressive brass and strings suddenly becomes a lovely skipping 'half tune' on the woodwinds backed by lovely string chords - sunny summer day music :)
I have always loved the Piano Concerto for Three Hands and I really think it would be a great Last Night of the Proms piece with it's ott orchestration and fabulous tunes (it was a Proms commission after all); the best recording is the one with Phyllis Sellick and Cyril Smith at the pianos (for whom it was written).

(http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v214/Nantha/arnold.jpg)
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: Hector on June 15, 2007, 04:32:56 AM
I think it's safe to say Telemann is more interesting than Giovanni Buonaventura Viviani.  ;D

Who?

However, I doubt it.

Telemann is played in multi-storey car parks at night to deter anti-social behaviour.

It works!

I bet you cannot say that of Viviani.
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: techniquest on June 23, 2007, 10:23:50 AM
On the new program "Classical Britannia" last night on BBC4, there was a tiny bit of footage of Arnold conducting his own Grand, Grand Overture - specifically the part with the vacuum cleaners and rifles. How I would love to see all of that performance!
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: Sef on April 09, 2009, 03:02:33 PM
I don't believe that I have heard one piece by this composer. However, in the late 70s I was at school in Northampton playing my Deep Purple Concerto for Group and Orchestra LP when some gentleman I didn't know started asking me all sorts of questions about it. Afterwards someone told me that it was Malcolm Arnold. I have absolutely no idea if they were pulling my leg or being totally serious. It was so long ago I don't remember much about it at all. Still, ranks alongside getting a kiss from Olivia Newton John at the airport when she was returning from the Eurovision song contest in 1974!
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: Benji on April 09, 2009, 03:22:12 PM
I don't believe that I have heard one piece by this composer. However, in the late 70s I was at school in Northampton playing my Deep Purple Concerto for Group and Orchestra LP when some gentleman I didn't know started asking me all sorts of questions about it. Afterwards someone told me that it was Malcolm Arnold. I have absolutely no idea if they were pulling my leg or being totally serious. It was so long ago I don't remember much about it at all. Still, ranks alongside getting a kiss from Olivia Newton John at the airport when she was returning from the Eurovision song contest in 1974!

Lucky you! I would have loved to meet Sir Malcolm. He had a keen interest in pop tunes, forms of which often find their way into his music.

If you want a recommendation, let me know what you like in the way of other composers and i'll point you in the right direction! The 5th Symphony is always a good starting point I think and contains within it everything that is great about Arnold. There is a great recording on EMI conducted by the composer.
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: Sef on April 09, 2009, 03:43:57 PM
Lucky you! I would have loved to meet Sir Malcolm. He had a keen interest in pop tunes, forms of which often find their way into his music.

If you want a recommendation, let me know what you like in the way of other composers and i'll point you in the right direction! The 5th Symphony is always a good starting point I think and contains within it everything that is great about Arnold. There is a great recording on EMI conducted by the composer.
My favorites were recently described as the music that died after the war. Tonal with bite and jagged edges! From Mahler, Sibelius, Atterberg through Saygun to Hartmann to Pettersson. Where does Arnold fit into there?
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: Dundonnell on April 09, 2009, 04:35:20 PM
Mahler and Sibelius are the two composers Arnold most admired :) There are very considerable echoes of both composers in Arnold's music: Sibelius in the earlier symphonies and Mahlerian angst in the later ones. If you like Pettersson then the haunted, bitter, angry 7th and 8th Symphonies should appeal to you. The concertos, on the other hand, are mainly much lighter works.
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: snyprrr on April 09, 2009, 04:40:12 PM
STRING QUARTETS: Arnold VS. Alwyn

anyone? How does Arnold No.2 compare with Britten No.3?

Also, of the 3 Arnold's (Naxos, Chandos, Guild), which would you recommend?

I've got Philip Jones doing the Sym for Brass.  GREAT!!!
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: jowcol on April 09, 2009, 06:10:12 PM
I just have to chime in-- picking up the Naxos set of Symphonies is a good idea.  I didn't have the $$ to pursue the rest, but this was a strong cycle.

One thing about Arnold's symphonies-- you have to get ready for the sudden mood swings.   He's not one to endlessly develop a theme.

 His writing for brass is excellent-- his orchestration grabs you very quickly.

I'd rank 5 as my very favorite-- it's the one that is the most structurally satisfying, and ending is haunting.  Symphony  7 mines some dark terrain, and has a lot of really violent juxtapositions, but it's not wallowing in self pity.   Easily my second favorite, and one that keeps pulling me back.  6 is a fun one- the jazzy interlude has  very sinister undertone.   2 and 4 are solid.  1 and 3 I'll need to spend more time with. 

I'll need to listen to 8 again-- it's a bit knotty, but didn't have the "in your face" quality that the 7th did.

I must admit I haven't yet opened to 9-- it  is much more subdued, and elegaic, but I plan to give it more listenings.

I've not regretted a single purchase-- particularly at the Naxos prices!

If you have succumbed to the madness of collecting symphonic cycles by British 20th century composers, Arnold certainly belongs up there with Alwyn, Rubbra, and Bax!
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: Dundonnell on April 09, 2009, 06:29:01 PM
I love Symphonies Nos. 1, 2, 3 and 5-very Sibelian though they are :) Nos. 7 and 8 are tough works, written at a time of quite appalling personal circumstances for the composer.

Give No.9 more listening time though. It is really a quite astonishing work and its early neglect, indeed the scorn and derision which initially greeted the work, was scandalous. After three short, apparently inconsequential movements in Arnold's 'light' style there follows that extremely moving, long adagio finale which seems to provide an entirely apposite coda to Arnold's turbulent life. It is so seemingly simple, yet so profoundly elegiac that it never fails to move me emotionally. Penney's Naxos recording of the 9th(made in the presence of the composer) is the most impressive thing that both conductor and his Irish orchestra have done to date, in my opinion.
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: Christo on April 09, 2009, 11:00:57 PM
The 5th Symphony is always a good starting point I think and contains within it everything that is great about Arnold. There is a great recording on EMI conducted by the composer.

Great that you mention it. I think the Fifth isn't reffered to that often among the Arnold fans here. But as it happened to be the first one I heard, somewhere around 1979 and in the EMI recording with Sir Malcolm himself conducting, I've always had a week spot for it. I vividly recall the thrill of it, especially when I discovered that I coulf find e.g. the final movement's theme "trivial", even utterly banal, and yet great at the same moment.

Arnold's been one of my elementary lessons in music, later learned from Shosta and Mahler and RVW 9 as well: how `banality' may be used to great symphonic effects. I love all Arnold's symphonies, the Ninth no less than the others. But the Fifth remains a first love.

                        (http://g-ecx.images-amazon.com/images/G/02/ciu/db/9e/7b6736c622a032da83e36110.L._AA240_.jpg)

Edit:
I'd rank 5 as my very favorite-- it's the one that is the most structurally satisfying, and ending is haunting. 

Sorry, had overlooked this line, but totally agree.  :)
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: Benji on April 10, 2009, 03:54:54 AM
Great that you mention it. I think the Fifth isn't reffered to that often among the Arnold fans here. But as it happened to be the first one I heard, somewhere around 1979 and in the EMI recording with Sir Malcolm himself conducting, I've always had a week spot for it. I vividly recall the thrill of it, especially when I discovered that I coulf find e.g. the final movement's theme "trivial", even utterly banal, and yet great at the same moment.

Arnold's been one of my elementary lessons in music, later learned from Shosta and Mahler and RVW 9 as well: how `banality' may be used to great symphonic effects. I love all Arnold's symphonies, the Ninth no less than the others. But the Fifth remains a first love.

I like the use of the word 'lesson' there, as I certainly agree Arnold takes some degree of personal study to really appreciate. Of course I don't mean formal study, but rather patience and an open, enquiring mind. Taken at face value, the 'pop' tunes in his music can easily be taken as banal, but as you imply it is just a natural extension of what Mahler did in incorporating the 'pop' music of his time. Perhaps just because Arnold's tunes seem more contemporary we are more accutely aware of their contrast with the surrounding music, and to some ears that might grate. Certainly it took some years for me to come around to the 4th and 6th, which are almost schizophrenic the contrast being so severe. But now I love them as much as the 5th.

The 3rd was my introduction to Arnold and I still think very highly of it. I discovered it at a time when I was exploring golden age film music, and I thought Arnold's 3rd quite Herrmann-esque. Of course, I later to came to realise it was actually Bernard Herrmann who was an anglophile, and who was friendly with Sir Malcolm. So perhaps we might say Herrmann's music was Arnold-esque?  ;D

Quote
                        (http://g-ecx.images-amazon.com/images/G/02/ciu/db/9e/7b6736c622a032da83e36110.L._AA240_.jpg)

Yes, that's a disc I would recommend without reservation. A desert island disc for me maybe. The 5th is painfully touching under the direction of its composer, and Groves, as he did with so much music, injects an awesome intensity to the 2nd.
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: Benji on April 10, 2009, 03:59:34 AM
My favorites were recently described as the music that died after the war. Tonal with bite and jagged edges! From Mahler, Sibelius, Atterberg through Saygun to Hartmann to Pettersson. Where does Arnold fit into there?

I think the rest of the team did a fab job of answering your question, i.e. he fits in perfectly! Nothing more I can add, except to point you at the disc Christo posted the picture of, which has Arnold conducting his 5th in the reocrding I mentioned to you.  ;D
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: Dundonnell on April 10, 2009, 04:08:13 AM
One of the reference books that I find most useful to me is "The Pimlico Dictionary of Twentieth Century Composers" by Mark Morris. Obviously, in any such text, there are verdicts on particular composers with which I strongly disagree. Morris has little time for composers like Tubin, Hovhaness, Robert Simpson, Malcolm Williamson or George Lloyd whilst he does admire Havergal Brian and Allan Pettersson.

Arnold's music is described as "depressingly banal" and written "in an idiom whose basis is so anachronistic that...it seems to have little relevance". One wonders what it is supposed to have "relevance" to ???
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: Benji on April 10, 2009, 04:42:27 AM
One of the reference books that I find most useful to me is "The Pimlico Dictionary of Twentieth Century Composers" by Mark Morris. Obviously, in any such text, there are verdicts on particular composers with which I strongly disagree. Morris has little time for composers like Tubin, Hovhaness, Robert Simpson, Malcolm Williamson or George Lloyd whilst he does admire Havergal Brian and Allan Pettersson.

Arnold's music is described as "depressingly banal" and written "in an idiom whose basis is so anachronistic that...it seems to have little relevance". One wonders what it is supposed to have "relevance" to ???

Should a dictionary only really contain hard fact / biographical info, and not highly-subjective [and worthless  >:D ] opinions?
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: Dundonnell on April 10, 2009, 04:52:29 AM
Should a dictionary only really contain hard fact / biographical info, and not highly-subjective [and worthless  >:D ] opinions?

To be fair to Morris, he states quite clearly in the introduction that he makes no claims to objectivity :)

It is-actually-an extremely valuable book in many ways. Between 2-4 pages each on composers like Brian, Daniel Jones, Rubbra, Pettersson, Rosenberg etc etc. is not bad coverage!
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: Sef on April 10, 2009, 05:39:53 AM
I think the rest of the team did a fab job of answering your question, i.e. he fits in perfectly! Nothing more I can add, except to point you at the disc Christo posted the picture of, which has Arnold conducting his 5th in the reocrding I mentioned to you.  ;D
Thank you all for your recommendations. Fortunately I can listen to the Naxos Catalogue on line for free, so I can try before I buy. However, knowing where to start is always helpful. Sounds like 5 first, then 7.
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: Dundonnell on April 10, 2009, 08:20:07 AM
Thank you all for your recommendations. Fortunately I can listen to the Naxos Catalogue on line for free, so I can try before I buy. However, knowing where to start is always helpful. Sounds like 5 first, then 7.

Starting with No.5 would be just fine but I would query going on to No.7 next :o It is a dark and challenging work! Any of the first four might be better.
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: Benji on April 10, 2009, 09:45:22 AM
Starting with No.5 would be just fine but I would query going on to No.7 next :o It is a dark and challenging work! Any of the first four might be better.

Agreed. I'd suggest 5, 2, 3, 4, 6 then maybe have a break and listen to his delightful sets of orchestral dances to build up some positive energy before the draining experiences of 7 onwards. Sounds like a great evening in, actually.  :)
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: edward on April 10, 2009, 01:30:22 PM
I'd agree with the 5th as a good place to start. To be honest, the first four haven't really stuck in my mind--they're enjoyable but I find they lack the emotional depth of the later works. The 7th is my unquestioned favourite of the nine, though all of the last three symphonies certainly provide tougher listening than the first six.
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: vandermolen on April 11, 2009, 02:42:52 AM
He is one of my favourites too. And he signed an autograph for me at a concert in London to commemorate his 75th birthday  :). The concert included Symphony No 5 - a wonderful work. Actually I like all his symphonies (as with Bax and VW) but I think that the odd numbered ones are the best - although I increasingly like the haunting Symphony No 6.There is some great film music and I love the Concerto for Two Pianos also.
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: Archaic Torso of Apollo on April 11, 2009, 03:26:06 AM
The 7th is my unquestioned favourite of the nine,

Mine too, but I find them all worth hearing. The 4th comes close to the spirit of the 7th in its sheer wackiness, though.
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: Dundonnell on April 11, 2009, 03:59:48 AM
For once ;D I will eschew further discussion of Arnold's symphonies to put in several good words for the rest of his ouput :)

There are so many examples of Arnold's amazing facility to produce tuneful, jolly music which is also quite brilliantly scored for orchestra and/or soloists. Jeffrey has mentioned the marvellous Concerto for Two Pianos(Three Hands) but my favourites include the wonderful Dance sets-particularly the English Dances and, of course, the Scottish Dances(anyone who could write the quite gorgeous and beautiful tune in the third of the Scotish Dances can be forgiven anything ;D), the Overture 'Tam O'Shanter' and any or all of the concertos written with an orchestral player's understanding of the capacities of so many different instruments.

It is just such a dreadful tragedy that a man who so obviously loved life should have been dealt such a rotten hand and should have endured such pain(admittedly some self-inflicted) during his later life :(
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: donaldopato on April 11, 2009, 04:24:06 AM
One of my favorite Arnold pieces is the less known "Philharmonic Concerto" from 1976. A three movement concerto for orchestra, it was written for the London Philharmonic and Haitink to be performed on their US bicentennial tour. I heard it live back then, likely my first exposure to Arnold.  A fascinating  passage in the first movement for snare drum and harp stayed in my memory for years until I was able to snag a recording. As I discovered, this piece and the passage was so typical of the quirky, jagged Arnold late works. The LPO label has two recordings of it, one with Handley and one with Haitink.

And, being an accomplished trumpet player, few composers can write as effectively for the orchestral trumpets as Arnold. They are as distinctive as Stravinsky's woodwinds in my opinion.
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: Archaic Torso of Apollo on April 11, 2009, 10:58:55 AM
For once ;D I will eschew further discussion of Arnold's symphonies to put in several good words for the rest of his ouput :)


One thing I like about Arnold is that he took brass seriously (he would, being a trumpeter). The 1st Brass Quintet (I haven't heard the 2nd) and especially the Symphony for Brass Instruments are superb achievements in that too-rare genre, Serious Brass Music.
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: Benji on April 11, 2009, 11:29:02 AM
One thing I like about Arnold is that he took brass seriously (he would, being a trumpeter). The 1st Brass Quintet (I haven't heard the 2nd) and especially the Symphony for Brass Instruments are superb achievements in that too-rare genre, Serious Brass Music.

Just on that topic, serious brass music, do you know Philip Wilby's Revealations Symphony for double brass band?
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: Archaic Torso of Apollo on April 11, 2009, 11:59:32 PM
Just on that topic, serious brass music, do you know Philip Wilby's Revealations Symphony for double brass band?

No. In fact, I don't even know Philip Wilby  :'(
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: Christo on April 12, 2009, 01:02:32 AM
For once ;D I will eschew further discussion of Arnold's symphonies to put in several good words for the rest of his ouput :)

There are so many examples of Arnold's amazing facility to produce tuneful, jolly music which is also quite brilliantly scored for orchestra and/or soloists. Jeffrey has mentioned the marvellous Concerto for Two Pianos(Three Hands) but my favourites include the wonderful Dance sets-particularly the English Dances and, of course, the Scottish Dances(anyone who could write the quite gorgeous and beautiful tune in the third of the Scotish Dances can be forgiven anything ;D), the Overture 'Tam O'Shanter' and any or all of the concertos written with an orchestral player's understanding of the capacities of so many different instruments.

It is just such a dreadful tragedy that a man who so obviously loved life should have been dealt such a rotten hand and should have endured such pain(admittedly some self-inflicted) during his later life :(

As so often, I can only utter full agreement.  :)

But let me add another personal favourite. I think all of Arnold's concertos are never less than pleasant, but the one that I love most is his Guitar Concerto Op. 67 (1959). In the past, I owned an LP with Julian Bream performing it, and that version (now on cd in the Julian Bream Edition, but I don't have it) is probably still the best.

Recently, I've been playing this version (mostly for the sake of the Lennox Berkeley concerto):

                                (http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_Xx2aN_OeaFo/Sc6O0HgUUHI/AAAAAAAAA8I/mxlyI87e79w/s320/CHAN%25209963.jpg)
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: edward on April 13, 2009, 09:54:47 AM
I've heard a lot of favourable comment regarding the Philharmonic Concerto. Are there any recommendable recordings available currently? I've tended to prefer Arnold in darker mood--the wild outbursts in works like the 7th symphony work extremely well within the overall rather bleak context of the work: are there other works in this vein? (I only know the symphonies and some of the concerti.)

There's a sense, I think, in which the later Arnold is a more harmonically conservative analogue to Schnittke
in his polystylistic tendencies. I do wonder if it's in part related to the fact that both were phenomenal film composers as well as creators of concert works of great personality--but perhaps that's a topic for another thread.
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: Archaic Torso of Apollo on April 14, 2009, 12:16:28 AM
There's a sense, I think, in which the later Arnold is a more harmonically conservative analogue to Schnittke
in his polystylistic tendencies. I do wonder if it's in part related to the fact that both were phenomenal film composers as well as creators of concert works of great personality--but perhaps that's a topic for another thread.

Interesting observation. I would locate the "polystylism" of Arnold above all in his notoriously erratic and manic-depressive personality - I think Schnittke's approach was quite different, more intellectual. One also has to factor in Arnold's appreciation for pop-music forms and his early love of jazz. In this way he is analogous to pre-modern composers who made use of the pop (or folk) music of their own time.

Curiously, when I first heard Schnittke's 8th Symphony, it reminded me strongly of Arnold's 9th.

For what it's worth, my pet nickname for Arnold is "the pocket Shostakovich."
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: donaldopato on April 14, 2009, 06:02:29 PM
I've heard a lot of favourable comment regarding the Philharmonic Concerto. Are there any recommendable recordings available currently? I've tended to prefer Arnold in darker mood--the wild outbursts in works like the 7th symphony work extremely well within the overall rather bleak context of the work: are there other works in this vein? (I only know the symphonies and some of the concerti.)

There's a sense, I think, in which the later Arnold is a more harmonically conservative analogue to Schnittke
in his polystylistic tendencies. I do wonder if it's in part related to the fact that both were phenomenal film composers as well as creators of concert works of great personality--but perhaps that's a topic for another thread.


See my post above if you missed it, re Philharmonic Concerto. The LPO label has one with Handley LPO # 13 and one with Haitink LPO 23. I marginally prefer the Haitink as I heard him do it live. But the Handley has some great disc mates including a fine 6th Symphony and Beckus the Dandipratt Overture.
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: Lethevich on April 21, 2010, 03:29:50 PM
I've played his concerto for two pianos (on the EMI twofer with syms 1, 2, 5) a few times recently - a good piece with a memorable middle movement in which ravishing strings descending into various scenes of nightmarishness. Then there is a typically revolting Arnoldian pop-bassline influenced finale which is a hoot.  It's not a masterpiece like RVW's perennially underrated work, but it has a certain Schnittke-lite feeling of the macabre and burlesque which is pure enjoyment to listen to.

The viola concerto (Conifer) is up next - one of those Arnold works which goes in one ear and out the other with me, or at least has done in previous listens. Giving it a fresh go this time.
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: Christo on April 21, 2010, 03:31:11 PM
 :)
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: Lethevich on April 21, 2010, 04:14:48 PM
:D

The viola concerto (Conifer) is up next - one of those Arnold works which goes in one ear and out the other with me, or at least has done in previous listens. Giving it a fresh go this time.
Well, that came and went without much impact once again... :-\ The same for Tam O'Shanter, which has always sounded like much ado about nothing - it's propelled by bustle alone.

This occasional difficulty I have with Arnold reminds me of Brahms' description of Anton Rubinstein's compositions. He was quoted as saying that he admired the composer's music, but he wished that Rubinstein took more care over his compositions (presumably opposed to churning them out at a high turnover). It's a criticism which could very easily be applied to Arnold as well, and to some extent sabotages the exploration of his output. But then, this slight sour taste couldn't be anything other than appropriate for such a prickly figure with his moods and swings, the music feels close to his flawed personality...
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: Scarpia on June 12, 2010, 04:36:28 PM
I know Arnold from a recording of the Symphony No. 9 on Naxos.  Now I've managed to obtain Hickox's symphony cycle and have started at No. 1. 

It is a really nice piece.  Arnold has a great ear for arresting sonorities, particularly involving brass.  The first movement, which seems to be constructed from a deceptively simple melodic cell, uses brilliant orchestration in a very original way.  I especially loved a passage near the end of the middle section of the second movement (andante) in which various soaring melodies are heard against and ominous thrumming from the low instruments in the orchestra.  The finale starts as a vigorous fugal movement (again, wonderful use of brass) which is followed by a grotesque little military march, which almost immediately yields to a breathtaking "maestoso" ending (the highlight of the entire piece) with quirky Shostakovichesq "wrong note" melodies and strangely shifting harmonies.

I am definitely an Arnold admirer.

Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: vandermolen on June 12, 2010, 09:58:11 PM
A know Arnold from a recording of the Symphony No. 9 on Naxos.  Now I've managed to obtain Hickox's symphony cycle and have started at No. 1. 

It is a really nice piece.  Arnold has a great ear for arresting sonorities, particularly involving brass.  The first movement, which seems to be constructed from a deceptively simple melodic cell, uses brilliant orchestration in a very original way.  I especially loved a passage near the end of the middle section of the second movement (andante) in which various soaring melodies are heard against and ominous thrumming from the low instruments in the orchestra.  The finale starts as a vigorous fugal movement (again, wonderful use of brass) which is followed by a grotesque little military march, which almost immediately yields to a breathtaking "maestoso" ending (the highlight of the entire piece) with quirky Shostakovichesq "wrong note" melodies and strangely shifting harmonies.

I am definitely an Arnold admirer.

Symphony No 1 is one of my favourite works by Arnold.  Basically I like the odd numbered symphonies + more recently I've come to admire the rather elusive Symphony No 6 - also the Concerto for Two Pianos is good fun.

The CD below is one of my favourite Arnold discs.  It has his fine performance of Symphony No 1 and the only release of him conducting Symphony No 2 as well as a classic performance of his fine 5th Symphony etc.
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: Scarpia on June 13, 2010, 12:20:59 PM
Symphony No 1 is one of my favourite works by Arnold.  Basically I like the odd numbered symphonies + more recently I've come to admire the rather elusive Symphony No 6 - also the Concerto for Two Pianos is good fun.

I am not reproducing your experience regarding even vs odd numbered symphonies.  Listened to Symphony No 2, and found it equally compelling, perhaps more so, compared with the first.  The one movement here which, perhaps, didn't convince was the scherzo.  The first is mainly in a bucolic vain, with the gentle opening music stated with wonderful grandeur toward the end of the movment.  The third movement, a grim slow movement builds to a monumental climax towards the middle.  The one aspect of it that left me somewhat puzzled is the way it backs away from that climax towards a conclusion which takes very long to arrive.  The final is also a wonderful piece, with a lively theme, interrupted by two very effective fugato passages (the first, particularly stirring one mostly for brass instruments) before coming to a spendid, extroverted coda.

I wouldn't say Arnold's gift is in the development of theme, so much as in the ability to cloak those themes in plendid orchestration and wonderfully, often dissonant harmonies.

Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: vandermolen on June 13, 2010, 01:55:11 PM
I am not reproducing your experience regarding even vs odd numbered symphonies.  Listened to Symphony No 2, and found it equally compelling, perhaps more so, compared with the first.  The one movement here which, perhaps, didn't convince was the scherzo.  The first is mainly in a bucolic vain, with the gentle opening music stated with wonderful grandeur toward the end of the movment.  The third movement, a grim slow movement builds to a monumental climax towards the middle.  The one aspect of it that left me somewhat puzzled is the way it backs away from that climax towards a conclusion which takes very long to arrive.  The final is also a wonderful piece, with a lively theme, interrupted by two very effective fugato passages (the first, particularly stirring one mostly for brass instruments) before coming to a spendid, extroverted coda.

I wouldn't say Arnold's gift is in the development of theme, so much as in the ability to cloak those themes in plendid orchestration and wonderfully, often dissonant harmonies.

Actually, I like all Arnold's symphonies (I could say the same of Bax). Probably my favourites are 1 and 5 (coupled together on Vernon Handley's fine old Conifer CD). You might like the performance of Symphony No 2 on the EMI CD I mentioned earlier - it is quite different to the Groves performance.
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: Scarpia on June 13, 2010, 01:58:20 PM
You might like the performance of Symphony No 2 on the EMI CD I mentioned earlier - it is quite different to the Groves performance.

I looked for that CD, but did not find it available.  The recording I am listening to is not Groves, but Hickox.  The recording is splendid in every way, particularly the superb audio engineering.

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51hRVwBER%2BL._SL500_AA280_.jpg)
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: vandermolen on June 13, 2010, 02:31:00 PM
I looked for that CD, but did not find it available.  The recording I am listening to is not Groves, but Hickox.  The recording is splendid in every way, particularly the superb audio engineering.

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51hRVwBER%2BL._SL500_AA280_.jpg)

CD is available here, although you will not go wrong with the Hickox or Handley series:


http://www.amazon.co.uk/Arnold-conducts-Philharmonia-Orchestra/dp/B000MCIB6Q/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1276468043&sr=1-1





Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: Teresa on June 14, 2010, 12:13:25 AM
Malcolm Arnold is also one of my favorite composers.  I love the Tam O' Shanter Overture the best.  But I also love all of his other overtures as well as the English, Irish, Scottish, and Cornish Dances.

I have heard all nine of his symphonies as I purchased the CD set on Naxos which I quickly sold as I didn't like the sound quality so currently I only have Symphony No. 4 conducted by Malcolm Arnold himself on Lyrita which I enjoy a lot, but it is his shorter works I really love, so I am not actively seeking his other symphonies.

My best sounding Arnold recording is Overtures on Reference Recordings, a 24 Bit 88.2kHz music file downloaded from HDTracks. 
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: Sergeant Rock on June 14, 2010, 04:45:40 AM
Once again I thank you all for the conversation (particularly how Arnold relates to Shostakovich and Mahler). Although Arnold was one of the first composers I listened to as a kid (Tam O'Shanter was on a LP I got from the library--the LP included a conductor's baton  ;D ) I haven't seriously listened to him (even though I own quite a bit: 1-4 Penny, 6 Handley, 9 Penny and the Dances). The last time I tried any of the symphonies, they didn't make an impression. Completely my fault--must have been the mood I was in because I listened to 1 and 2 last night after the football match and was blown away. How is it possible that I've ignored this music for 40 years?

Anyway, I ordered Penny's 5, 6, 7, 8 (unlike Teresa I really like the sound of the Naxos discs and Penny, according to ClassicsToday, takes the music slower than Hickox or Handley, which appeals to me). I also ordered the twofer with 1, 2, and 5 that Vandermolen thinks so highly of, and the String Quartets.

Sarge
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: vandermolen on June 14, 2010, 05:53:07 AM
Once again I thank you all for the conversation (particularly how Arnold relates to Shostakovich and Mahler). Although Arnold was one of the first composers I listened to as a kid (Tam O'Shanter was on a LP I got from the library--the LP included a conductor's baton  ;D ) I haven't seriously listened to him (even though I own quite a bit: 1-4 Penny, 6 Handley, 9 Penny and the Dances). The last time I tried any of the symphonies, they didn't make an impression. Completely my fault--must have been the mood I was in because I listened to 1 and 2 last night after the football match and was blown away. How is it possible that I've ignored this music for 40 years?

Anyway, I ordered Penny's 5, 6, 7, 8 (unlike Teresa I really like the sound of the Naxos discs and Penny, according to ClassicsToday, takes the music slower than Hickox or Handley, which appeals to me). I also ordered the twofer with 1, 2, and 5 that Vandermolen thinks so highly of, and the String Quartets.

Sarge

I'm sure you'll enjoy those Sarge - let us know what you think.  Just ordered this - issued for Arnold's 75th Birthday. It used to be prohibitively expensive second-hand (it is long deleted) but has recently come down in price.  I especially want to hear 'Song of Simeon'. Funny cover picture too.
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: Mirror Image on April 16, 2011, 08:39:25 PM
Time to revive this thread...

I went on an Arnold binge a few years ago. I bought all of the Andrew Penny recordings of the symphonies, bought all of Hickox's recordings, Bryden Thomson's recording of the dances, the Decca box of concertos (wanted the other Decca sets but they were out-of-print), an overtures set with the composer himself conducting (on Reference Recordings), and the Chandos recording of overtures (w/ Rumon Gamba I believe?). Anyway, I like his music a lot. I think the symphonies are his strongest point because they display the real breadth of the man and his abilities as a composer of symphonic music.

I think it's time to revisit the symphonies.
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: Archaic Torso of Apollo on April 17, 2011, 12:33:05 AM
I think it's time to revisit the symphonies.

Same for me - it's been a while. I did listen to the 3rd Symphony recently, and it reminded me how great his range of expression was. He could write a solid piece of quasi-Sibelius like the 3rd, and then follow it up with the wacky, pop-influenced 4th. As with Vaughan Williams, each symphony has its own very distinctive profile.
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: vandermolen on April 17, 2011, 12:46:33 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:

Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: DavidW on April 17, 2011, 06:42:34 AM
Same for me - it's been a while. I did listen to the 3rd Symphony recently, and it reminded me how great his range of expression was. He could write a solid piece of quasi-Sibelius like the 3rd, and then follow it up with the wacky, pop-influenced 4th. As with Vaughan Williams, each symphony has its own very distinctive profile.

I thought I was the only one that liked the 3rd and 4th!
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: Archaic Torso of Apollo on April 17, 2011, 07:11:06 AM
I thought I was the only one that liked the 3rd and 4th!

You are not alone after all! I like 'em both, although neither is my favorite. However, the ghostly little palindromic scherzo of the 4th might be my single favorite mvt. in the Arnold symphonies. An exquisite piece of musical clockwork.
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: Mirror Image on April 17, 2011, 07:28:58 AM
You are not alone after all! I like 'em both, although neither is my favorite. However, the ghostly little palindromic scherzo of the 4th might be my single favorite mvt. in the Arnold symphonies. An exquisite piece of musical clockwork.

I like them both as well. I listened to them again last night. I need to listen to the Penny recordings as I haven't even opened them up yet (I've owned them for a few years), which means I haven't even heard the 7th, 8th, and 9th symphonies. This will change today!
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: Lethevich on April 17, 2011, 07:52:12 AM
I find that pompous march towards the end of the finale of the 4th always provokes an involunteraly grin, reminds me of a popular tune I cannot put my finger on.
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: jowcol on April 22, 2011, 09:22:05 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...
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: Dundonnell on July 28, 2011, 08:02:48 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).
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: Lethevich on July 28, 2011, 08:17:15 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
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: Dundonnell on July 28, 2011, 08:37:52 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!!
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: Dundonnell on September 21, 2011, 05:48:17 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
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: Albion on September 21, 2011, 08:38:17 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.

 :)

Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: Dundonnell on September 21, 2011, 03:53:06 PM
Many thanks(again ;D), John :)
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: John Whitmore 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/
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: cilgwyn 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?
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: Mirror Image 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.
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: vandermolen 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.
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: Christo 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)
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: Martin Lind 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
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: Archaic Torso of Apollo 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.
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: edward 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).
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: Dundonnell 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.
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: Christo 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?
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: Archaic Torso of Apollo 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
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: edward 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.)
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: vandermolen 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
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: Dundonnell on February 13, 2012, 06:51:25 AM
No....I DID mean Arnold conducting is own Seventh (not the Fourth) :)

'Unsung Composers', gentlemen ;D

Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: vandermolen on February 15, 2012, 01:26:45 AM
No....I DID mean Arnold conducting is own Seventh (not the Fourth) :)

'Unsung Composers', gentlemen ;D

Thanks Colin.
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: jowcol on February 15, 2012, 03:19:20 AM
Thanks Colin.

That phrase may also lead you to his symphonic study "Machines"
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: raduneo on April 07, 2012, 05:09:32 PM
I have just listened to his 4th Symphony (the Andrew Penny version), and I have rarely been so impressed by a SYmphony on a first hearing!

From the abundence of popular tunes, GREAT use of brass, the fun and playful rthythms of the outer movements, to the blues melodies of the slow movement, to the explosion of popular tunes in the finale (that remind one a bit of the military fanfare moments in the fast movement of a Shostakovich Symphony), this Symphony is a nicely constructed and packed with solid amounts of fun! Not to mention that beautiful romantic melody that shows up around the middle of the first movement! It may not be the most ground-breaking of most deep symphony out there, but it is beautifully contsructed, well orchestrated, well constructed, and just plain FUN. For what it sets out to do it's a work of genious! :)

Ok, I am done rambling, I just had to pay hommage to a man for whom my appreciation is growing! :)

(his value is recognized in a book called Surprised by Beauty; there's a chapter on him, where he is called the "Polenc of the British", which to SOME extent I feel is a good comparison. Yes, I am aware that the later symphonies change the page quite a bit, and not all his symphonies are this light and fun)
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: vandermolen on July 19, 2012, 04:13:42 AM
A recording of Arnold's First Symphony (BBC Concert Orchestra,Keith Lockhart) is features on the CD accompanying the current issue of BBC Music Magazine - recorded live in Birmingham earlier this year.
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: cilgwyn on July 20, 2012, 09:13:01 AM
I have just listened to his 4th Symphony (the Andrew Penny version), and I have rarely been so impressed by a SYmphony on a first hearing!

From the abundence of popular tunes, GREAT use of brass, the fun and playful rthythms of the outer movements, to the blues melodies of the slow movement, to the explosion of popular tunes in the finale (that remind one a bit of the military fanfare moments in the fast movement of a Shostakovich Symphony), this Symphony is a nicely constructed and packed with solid amounts of fun! Not to mention that beautiful romantic melody that shows up around the middle of the first movement! It may not be the most ground-breaking of most deep symphony out there, but it is beautifully contsructed, well orchestrated, well constructed, and just plain FUN. For what it sets out to do it's a work of genious! :)

Ok, I am done rambling, I just had to pay hommage to a man for whom my appreciation is growing! :)

(his value is recognized in a book called Surprised by Beauty; there's a chapter on him, where he is called the "Polenc of the British", which to SOME extent I feel is a good comparison. Yes, I am aware that the later symphonies change the page quite a bit, and not all his symphonies are this light and fun)
It was the Andrew Penny recording which 'did it' for me. I remember quite enjoying Arnolds own performance on the Lyrita label,but remaining unconvinced. There was allot of colourful orchestration,a marvellous slow movement;but it lacked the cohesion of the Fifth. The finale was quite good fun,but it just seemed 'bitty' & tagged on. Later on other recordings emerged & Arnolds leisurely pace became apparent. I haven't got them to hand,but I seem to remember they were quite astonishing! Needless to the Andrew Penny recording was a revelation. Suddenly the whole work seemed to come together. I even remember raving about the work on the Havergal Brian thread! :o ;D The same goes for the entire cycle;although I must confess,I have not heard the ninth. Mixed opinions on various threads & reviews & the apparent sombreness of the work,have put me off!
  Arnold's assimilation of classical & popular idioms is truly astonishing. I now feel that he is one of the few composers ever to have,convincingly,pulled off this rare feat! Others,that come to mind,being;Gershwin,Bernstein,Grant Still (at his best) & possibly,some,Frederic Devreese.
  I would not entirely dismiss Arnold's account of his Fourth,however. He is,after all,the composer;then there's the Lyrita 'engineering' & an exceptionally powerful reading of the slow movement!
His fifth (emi) is a classic,of course!

A marvellous symphonic cycle. It would be nice to know the concert halls were resounding to the musical glories of these works! But,I have to say,it took Penny to convince me!
  Strange to think that,back in the early eighties,most of the symphonies were commercially unavailable. I think the Fourth symphony was accessible via an Aries pirate Lp. I remember,as a youngster,listening to a programme on Radio 3,about the symphonies. They played snippets & I kept thinking,'That sounds VERY intriguing? I wonder what the rest is like?'
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: The new erato on July 21, 2012, 05:30:49 AM
Sir was a great composer in his best moments (and several of the symphonies are really great); and stuff like this makes me like him even more:

http://www.overgrownpath.com/2006/10/malcolm-arnold-and-rock-idols.html (http://www.overgrownpath.com/2006/10/malcolm-arnold-and-rock-idols.html)

"Arnold stepped in at this point, rapped his baton on the music stand and spoke to the orchestra as only one of their own could, saying 'I don't know what you think you are doing! You're supposed to be the finest orchestra in Britain, and you're playing like a bunch of c***s. Quite frankly, with the way it's going, you're not fit to be on the stage with these guys, so pick yourself up and let's hear some b******s ... We're going to make history tonight, so we might as well make music while we're doing it!'"

This when the RPO showed disrespect to Deep Purple during a joint recording project.
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: Christo on August 13, 2012, 01:10:57 AM
The "disrespect" was well-deserved, BTW. I was exposed to a lot of Deep Purple in the 1970s and 1980s and learned to hate them.  ;D Malcolm Arnold is a hero and fine composer, no quarrels about that.  :)
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: relm1 on June 08, 2014, 10:21:03 AM
Judging by the age of the last post in this thread, Malcolm Arnold is not particularly popular with a large fan base.  I relistened to his Symphony No. 4 just now and forgot what a wonderful composer he is of tunes, drama (and wit), plus well structured epic symphonies. 

I am curious what others think about Arnold the symphonist and his place in music history?  Great composer or incidental/forgettable?
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: vandermolen on June 08, 2014, 10:38:45 AM
Judging by the age of the last post in this thread, Malcolm Arnold is not particularly popular with a large fan base.  I relistened to his Symphony No. 4 just now and forgot what a wonderful composer he is of tunes, drama (and wit), plus well structured epic symphonies. 

I am curious what others think about Arnold the symphonist and his place in music history?  Great composer or incidental/forgettable?

Great composer although the odd numbered symphonies are the best in my view + No 6 which I like more and more.
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold SQ2
Post by: snyprrr on June 08, 2014, 05:31:40 PM
String Quartet No.2

Arnold wrote this in response to the death of his son. Perhaps not since Frank Bridge's Piano Trio No.2, in answer to the carnage of WW1, has such a personal elegy...

Let's try again. I can think of no other String Quartet that wears its broken heart on its sleeve quite like Arnold's most poignant ode to the death of his son. There is a moment when Arnold's voice becomes so quiet, and the melodic voices begin a misterioso passage, that is as sublime as any such moment in Beethoven or Schoenberg.

If the Janacek SQs were inspired by severe tragedy, instead of unrequited love, they might have given the feeling of unbridled grief that Arnold puts on display here- like hearing the embarrassing wails of a stricken parent, the innermost palpitations of hopelessness. Truly, tragedy never sounded so heartfelt as it does here.

This SQ is one of the great 'first person' confessionals of the post-WW2 era, as it pertains to the music of tradition (as opposed to the avant garde). A truly Romantic outpouring of one's -

anyhow- great stuff!
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold SQ2
Post by: Archaic Torso of Apollo on June 08, 2014, 06:40:32 PM
String Quartet No.2

[review snypped]

This SQ is one of the great 'first person' confessionals of the post-WW2 era, as it pertains to the music of tradition (as opposed to the avant garde). A truly Romantic outpouring of one's -

anyhow- great stuff!

I have yet to check out his chamber music. Thanks for the review. Are you listening to the Naxos disc?
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold SQ2
Post by: snyprrr on June 09, 2014, 07:14:48 AM
I have yet to check out his chamber music. Thanks for the review. Are you listening to the Naxos disc?

yes- though I'm sure the Chandos is equally nice...
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: Archaic Torso of Apollo on June 09, 2014, 10:35:15 AM
Snip, what do you think of his 1st String Quartet? The samples I heard were very Bartokian (not a sound I generally associate with this composer).
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: snyprrr on June 09, 2014, 11:42:17 AM
Snip, what do you think of his 1st String Quartet? The samples I heard were very Bartokian (not a sound I generally associate with this composer).

It's obviously from a different era. I'd have to listen again- totally blipped- but I do believe it's fairly standard fare. Maybe that 'Vitae' piece is better, I'll check.

ACK! ???

Yea, the opening is quite discordant! Bartokian, I'd say!haha Gritty. Rawsthorne? 1949. The notes say to look to the Symphony No.1 for comparisons. Early Hindemith? Aggressive. I'm actually surprised that he's being somewhat abstract here. I'm going to have to get back to it later. I'm glad you pointed it out just now- it forced me to objectify, as if I've heard a new work altogether! 18mins.
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: Archaic Torso of Apollo on June 09, 2014, 12:15:48 PM
ACK! ???

That sounds promising. I'll have to put that disc on my "to get" pile.
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: snyprrr on June 10, 2014, 07:55:26 AM
That sounds promising. I'll have to put that disc on my "to get" pile.

 :laugh:

 ;)

I also like the Symphony for Brass Instruments. Deeply felt
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: cilgwyn on January 30, 2015, 08:03:24 AM
I recently bought the Chandos set of the symphonies as I became unhappy with the Naxos versions I owned. Suddenly I can hear all the detail and with the truly spectacular sound quality that Arnold's music deserves. The Gamba set of 7 & 8 was a bit of a shocker though. Talk about manic! He really does take the Seventh at a heck of a lick! I'm used to the Handley version which seems just right to my ears. It's also the first performance I ever heard. That said,even if the Gamba performance sounds excessive,or even more than a little ott;considering the circumstances in which it was composed (and state of mind) maybe Gamba has a point! It certainly is a very intriguing performance. That said,it still sounds a bit too ott for me! And I'm not sure if frantic is actually a better word for describing it than manic,which means not so good!
The Conifer recording I have of 7 & 8 is very good;but sounds thin after the Chandos recording. Once your ears re-adjust it sounds,as I said........very good! The sixth is probably my favourite Arnold symphony. I wonder how this compares to the Chandos performance? The other music on the cd is very nicely chosen and I love the artwork!! I keep meaning to buy it! (It's on my list!)
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: Mirror Image on January 30, 2015, 10:06:23 PM
Warts and all, I still prefer the Penny cycle. I'm sure Penny received plenty of input as Sir Arnold was present for all of the recordings. This doesn't make them 'definitive' performances of course, but it's as close to the composer as we'll ever be without the man himself on the podium.
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: Sergeant Rock on January 31, 2015, 12:08:04 PM
Warts and all, I still prefer the Penny cycle. I'm sure Penny received plenty of input as Sir Arnold was present for all of the recordings. This doesn't make them 'definitive' performances of course, but it's as close to the composer as we'll ever be without the man himself on the podium.

Thank god, MI! Cilgwyn had me worried  ???...I thought I'd have to buy another cycle  ;D

Seriously, I'm quite happy with Penny's and the composer's own recordings.

Sarge
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: Mirror Image on January 31, 2015, 07:31:49 PM
Thank god, MI! Cilgwyn had me worried  ???...I thought I'd have to buy another cycle  ;D

Seriously, I'm quite happy with Penny's and the composer's own recordings.

Sarge

Good to hear we agree on this matter, Sarge. I think it's time to give cilgwyn the bazooka. ;) ;D
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: Mirror Image on January 31, 2015, 09:49:49 PM
How about Arnold's 9th? Wow, that last movement never fails to move me. Under Gamba and Handley, it sounds good, but Penny transforms the music into a 'farewell to life'.
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: vandermolen on February 01, 2015, 12:20:44 AM
There is a new release of Symphony 7 on Dutton which is very enjoyable although perhaps not as good as Vernon Handley's version.
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: Christo on February 01, 2015, 04:00:43 AM
Overall, I consider the Handley cycle on Conifer as a standard, even more so than the Penny for Naxos, though I completely agree that Penny's Ninth is something very special indeed and an absolute first choice (and also a moving one, as it feels as a sort of personal farewell by the composer, who was involved in the recording, I think).

The composer's own recordings always provide an extra clue and especially his own Fifth (EMI) remains unsurpassed IMHO (his own performance of the Seventh, found as a radio recording on the Art-Music Forum, is remarkably slow and tensionless as compared to Handley).

That said, I confess I haven't heard the Gamba set yet, so maybe cilgwyn's enthusiasm is very well deserved and it does compete with Handley's Seventh and Eight (my first choice for both).

BTW, I heard the lesser known Eight live in Dordrecht (near Rotterdam), last Summer, with a combined Dutch and German amateur orchestra under conductor Tobias van de Locht (name sounds Dutch, but he's German) who's doing the 'first complete cycle on the Continent', these years. The conductor is clearly a Malcolm Arnold specialist and he managed to make it a commemorable performance, even with these non professional forces.
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: vandermolen on February 01, 2015, 04:31:53 AM
I have always like the First Symphony very much. The composers own version on EMI is extraordinarily slow compared with the other recordings but it is the one I most often return to.
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: cilgwyn on February 01, 2015, 08:51:08 AM
Overall, I consider the Handley cycle on Conifer as a standard, even more so than the Penny for Naxos, though I completely agree that Penny's Ninth is something very special indeed and an absolute first choice (and also a moving one, as it feels as a sort of personal farewell by the composer, who was involved in the recording, I think).

The composer's own recordings always provide an extra clue and especially his own Fifth (EMI) remains unsurpassed IMHO (his own performance of the Seventh, found as a radio recording on the Art-Music Forum, is remarkably slow and tensionless as compared to Handley).

That said, I confess I haven't heard the Gamba set yet, so maybe cilgwyn's enthusiasm is very well deserved and it does compete with Handley's Seventh and Eight (my first choice for both). AS to the remainder of the cycle.....maybe I'm just a mug for that lush 'Chandos sound'. I love it! ;D

BTW, I heard the lesser known Eight live in Dordrecht (near Rotterdam), last Summer, with a combined Dutch and German amateur orchestra under conductor Tobias van de Locht (name sounds Dutch, but he's German) who's doing the 'first complete cycle on the Continent', these years. The conductor is clearly a Malcolm Arnold specialist and he managed to make it a commemorable performance, even with these non professional forces.
I think I'm heavily outnumbered in my enthusiasm for the Chandos cycle! Time for a tactical retreat?! ;D Difficult to argue with MI due to Arnold's involvement and apparently theNaxos cycle was his own first choice. Actually,I'm not sure if I really like the Gamba performance of No 7! That said,I would suggest that anyone interested in Arnold's Seventh should try it. He really does take it at a hectic pace! Even if you don't like it I think it's worth having in your collection. I was a bit taken-a-back by it,to be honest! That said,my favourite performance is Handley's on Conifer.
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: Sergeant Rock on February 01, 2015, 09:00:25 AM
Actually,I'm not sure if I really like the Gamba performance of No 7! That said,I would suggest that anyone interested in Arnold's Seventh should try it. He really does take it at a hectic pace! Even if you don't like it I think it's worth having in your collection.

I ordered Gamba (7, 8, 9) a few hours ago. I only have Penny in those symphonies; could use alternative interpretations.

Sarge
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: vandermolen on February 01, 2015, 10:24:54 AM
I ordered Gamba (7, 8, 9) a few hours ago. I only have Penny in those symphonies; could use alternative interpretations.

Sarge

You won't be disappointed. I like that set and it is good to hear alternative versions.
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: vandermolen on February 02, 2015, 02:19:44 PM
I listened to Gamba's Arnold 7th this evening as cilgwyn was making such a song and dance about it  :)
It is rather a manic performance but I did rather enjoy it and I think that the symphony lends itself to different interpretations. Yes, you must listen to 'Noah'  8)
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: cilgwyn on February 04, 2015, 03:17:39 AM
Point taken! ;D

Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: Christo on February 04, 2015, 06:30:04 AM
Okay, will listen to it in Spotify. Saves some smuggling.  ;)
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: vandermolen on February 04, 2015, 12:31:00 PM
Okay, will listen to it in Spotify. Saves some smuggling.  ;)

Excellent point - must do more of this.  8)
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: vandermolen on February 04, 2015, 12:31:57 PM
Point taken! ;D

Was only joking and enjoy our exchanges. Will listen again to the new Arnold 7 on Dutton and report back.
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: tjguitar on October 27, 2015, 05:22:16 PM
Has anyone picked this up? For these works, I only have the Decca box of the Handley Conifer recordings...

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/81QieLB-BpL._SL1500_.jpg)

Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: psu on October 30, 2015, 02:56:34 AM
I've listened to that on Apple Music, and it's probably on Spotify too.

I am not that familiar with the piece, but it didn't seem to me to be that different from the other available recordings.
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: Maestro267 on April 21, 2016, 12:41:01 PM
It's taking a while, but I'm finally starting to appreciate the Ninth Symphony. Vastly different from the other symphonies, but still a great work in its own way. It's a Final Symphony in the tradition of Tchaikovsky 6 and Mahler 9.
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: Mirror Image on April 21, 2016, 03:00:04 PM
It's taking a while, but I'm finally starting to appreciate the Ninth Symphony. Vastly different from the other symphonies, but still a great work in its own way. It's a Final Symphony in the tradition of Tchaikovsky 6 and Mahler 9.

Yes! The last movement of Arnold's 9th is a farewell to all and his resignation from this thing we call life.
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: lescamil on April 21, 2016, 10:01:14 PM
Yes! The last movement of Arnold's 9th is a farewell to all and his resignation from this thing we call life.

Except that he wrote it 20 years before his death.
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on April 22, 2016, 03:04:04 AM
Except that he wrote it 20 years before his death.

Got his musical affairs well in order, then?  8)
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: Mirror Image on April 22, 2016, 03:29:51 AM
Except that he wrote it 20 years before his death.

But wasn't Arnold's mental state quite unstable for those remaining years? I seem to have read about this and that he had people that had to take care of him.
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: mc ukrneal on April 22, 2016, 03:35:15 AM
Except that he wrote it 20 years before his death.
But wasn't Arnold's mental state quite unstable for those remaining years? I seem to have read about this and that he had people that had to take care of him.
All true. He had a caretaker and I believe had dementia for at least 5-10 years before he died. In any case, his life was quite bleak at times  - he even attempted to commit suicide. So by the time he wrote this, I think we can safely say that his state of mind was not exactly upbeat about the remaining portion of his life. If I remember correctly, there are also parts of his ninth that refer to Mahler's ninth.
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: amw on April 22, 2016, 03:45:42 AM
Except that he wrote it 20 years before his death.
He suffered from a form of dementia (probably Alzheimer's); a "living death". His body certainly kept living for another 20 years, but his mind was already almost dead as far as I'm aware.

Re the Yates 7th mentioned above—I find it excellent at capturing the piece's mixture of lightness and insanity, perhaps even better than Gamba (though for me Gamba is preferable for its added weight). I generally prefer this faster approach to the slower one favoured by Handley, Penny or for that matter the composer ._.
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on April 22, 2016, 04:38:35 AM
He suffered from a form of dementia (probably Alzheimer's); a "living death". His body certainly kept living for another 20 years, but his mind was already almost dead as far as I'm aware.

Well . . . did he anticipate this by writing a "farewell to all this we call life" symphony ahead of the dementia?
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: Heck148 on April 22, 2016, 05:58:28 AM
Well . . . did he anticipate this by writing a "farewell to all this we call life" symphony ahead of the dementia?

Hi, Karl - I did not go thru the entire Arnold Thread - but a favorite Arnold work of mine - is his
"Three Shanties for WW 5tet"
this piece is a real hoot - definitely Arnold in the humorous, extroverted, playful mode -
lots of great raspberries, hoots, blats, f#rts, belches..intentional "wrong" notes, grating minor 2nds, etc.

It's a real standard for WW 5tet - not that hard, but it has its moments, with some tricky rhythmic parts... It has to be played with an outrageous panache, a go for broke, melodramatic effect, making the most of the jokes and musical pranks...
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on April 22, 2016, 06:03:34 AM
Hi, Karl - I did not go thru the entire Arnold Thread - but a favorite Arnold work of mine - is his
"Three Shanties for WW 5tet"
this piece is a real hoot - definitely Arnold in the humorous, extroverted, playful mode -
lots of great raspberries, hoots, blats, f#rts, belches..intentional "wrong" notes, grating minor 2nds, etc.

It's a real standard for WW 5tet - not that hard, but it has its moments, with some tricky rhythmic parts... It has to be played with an outrageous panache, a go for broke, melodramatic effect, making the most of the jokes and musical pranks...

Don't think I've ever seen it, Heck.  The only Arnold I've played is the band transcription of the Scottish Dances, which is indeed good fun.
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: Heck148 on April 22, 2016, 09:20:43 AM
Don't think I've ever seen it, Heck.  The only Arnold I've played is the band transcription of the Scottish Dances, which is indeed good fun.

yes, Arnold wrote several suites of Dances - Irish, Scottish, English x2; Cornish...great stuff, very melodic and light-hearted...great light classical repertoire, they should be performed more often. in same vein as Dvorak Slavonic Dances.
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: André on April 22, 2016, 09:51:28 AM
Although this is a composer's discussion, not a recordings one, I suggest anybody still not knowing where to jump into the Arnold bandwagon could do far worse than to embrace almost all of it, as presented in this ultra cheap Sony set:
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51pNY1bL9tL._SY355_.jpg)


Youthful symphonies (1-3), "middle" symphonies (4-6) and "mature/late" symphonies (7-9), plus concertos, overtures, dances from all over the composer's life can be found and will provide hours of alterantely introspective and exuberant music.
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: vandermolen on April 22, 2016, 11:35:56 AM
Although this is a composer's discussion, not a recordings one, I suggest anybody still not knowing where to jump into the Arnold bandwagon could do far worse than to embrace almost all of it, as presented in this ultra cheap Sony set:
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51pNY1bL9tL._SY355_.jpg)


Youthful symphonies (1-3), "middle" symphonies (4-6) and "mature/late" symphonies (7-9), plus concertos, overtures, dances from all over the composer's life can be found and will provide hours of alterantely introspective and exuberant music.
An excellent idea although these cheapo Sony boxes have no notes. I think that the odd numbered symphonies are best although I now rate No.6 very highly.
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: Scion7 on April 22, 2016, 12:14:25 PM
(https://img.discogs.com/StOMWvrsPcqm9IJxSyepxcX4N4g=/fit-in/600x450/filters:strip_icc():format(jpeg):mode_rgb():quality(90)/discogs-images/R-6148109-1412273516-8515.jpeg.jpg) (https://img.discogs.com/H7Y9L5mJN0Y2CRjtJi46XrleTw4=/fit-in/600x450/filters:strip_icc():format(jpeg):mode_rgb():quality(90)/discogs-images/R-6148109-1412273498-8341.jpeg.jpg)

And he was "hip," too! Sometimes I miss 1970 radio London.  :-X

Ok, back to his own music after this obtrusive break in the proceedings.
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: vandermolen on April 23, 2016, 10:22:05 AM
(https://img.discogs.com/StOMWvrsPcqm9IJxSyepxcX4N4g=/fit-in/600x450/filters:strip_icc():format(jpeg):mode_rgb():quality(90)/discogs-images/R-6148109-1412273516-8515.jpeg.jpg) (https://img.discogs.com/H7Y9L5mJN0Y2CRjtJi46XrleTw4=/fit-in/600x450/filters:strip_icc():format(jpeg):mode_rgb():quality(90)/discogs-images/R-6148109-1412273498-8341.jpeg.jpg)

And he was "hip," too! Sometimes I miss 1970 radio London.  :-X

Ok, back to his own music after this obtrusive break in the proceedings.
I have the Deep Purple CD too.
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold (1921-2006)
Post by: Scion7 on April 23, 2016, 05:12:52 PM
And he was "hip/cool" once more!

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51K8syETQ1L.jpg)



This is superior to "Concerto for Group and Orchestra" (slightly) and it was a one-off; Blackmore plays beautifully but this was not his type of music. (Blackmore in Guitar World 1978: "I like proper Classical - the Baroque ... more medieval music.")  Glad this was recorded but it took decades to convince everyone to release it.  Orchestra of the Light Music Society (!) conducted by Sir Malcolm Arnold w/Deep Purple performing Lord's Gemini Suite.
The studio album that Lord issued under his own name is good but not this good!
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: Mirror Image on April 23, 2016, 06:39:01 PM
Getting back to Arnold and NOT wanting to turn this into a Deep Purple discussion, what would you guys say are your 'Top 5 Favorite Works' from this composer? I'd have to ponder for awhile with my answer, so the floor's completely yours. :)
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold (1921-2006)
Post by: Scion7 on April 23, 2016, 08:40:03 PM
Well, I am not familiar with the vast majority of his music - he was prolific, and most of this will not have been recorded anyway.

      chamber and solo instrumental                                                      Ballet
===============================                       ==============================
Wind Qnt, op.2, 1943,                                                                     Homage to the Queen, op.42, 1953
3 Shanties, op.4, wind qnt, 1943                                                      Rinaldo and Armida, op.49, 1954
Trio, op.6, flute, bn, va, 1943                            Solitaire, 1956 [= English Dances, opp.27, [Op.33 with added Sarabande and Polka]
Qnt, op.7, flute, bn, hn, violin, va, 1944                                           Sweeney Todd, op.68, 1959
Str Qt no.1, op.23, 1949                                                                 Electra, op.79, 1963
Phantasy for String Quartet 'Vita Abundans'  (1941)
Divertimento, op.37, flute, oboe, cl, 1953
piano Trio, op.54, 1956                                                                                Film Scores
oboe Qt, op.61, 1957                                                                    ===============================
Qnt, op.73, 2 tpt, hn, trbn, tuba, 1961                                                No Highway (H. Koster), 1951
Trevelyan Suite, op.96, 10 wind, 1967                                                It Started in Paradise (C. Bennett), 1952
Str Qt no.2, op.118, 1975                                                                  The Sound Barrier (D. Lean), 1952
Brass Qnt no.2, op.132, 1988                                                             Albert RN (L. Gilbert), 1953
Divertimento, op.137, wind octet, 1988                                               Hoboeson’s Choice (Lean), 1953
Fantasy, op.140, rec, str qt, 1990                                                       The Belles of St Trinian’s (F. Launder), 1954
Duo, op.10, flute, va, 1945                                                                  The Sea Shall Not Have Them (Gilbert), 1954
Variations on a Ukrainian Folksong, op.9, piano, 1946                          1984 (M. Radford),  1955
Sonatas no.1, op.15, violin, piano, 1947                                              I Am A Camera, 1955
Sonata, op.17, va, piano, 1947                                                           The Deep Blue Sea,  1955
2 Bagatelles, op.18, piano, 1947                                                         Tiger in the Smoke, 1956
Children’s Suite, op.16, piano, 1948                                                    The Bridge on the River Kwai (D. Lean), 1957
Sonatina, op.19, flute, piano, 1948                                                     Dunkirk,  1957
Sonatina, op.28, oboe, piano, 1951                                                    Island in the Sun, 1957
Sonatina, op.29, cl, piano, 1951                                                         The Inn of the Sixth Happiness, 1958
8 Children’s Pieces, op.36, piano, 1952                                               The Key, (Carol Reed), 1958
Sonatina, op.41, rec, piano, 1953                                                       The Roots of Heaven,  1958
Sonata no.2, op.43, violin, piano, 1953                                               Suddenly Last Summer, 1959
5 Pieces, op.84, violin, piano, 1964                                                      Whistle Down the Wind,  1961
6 Pieces, op.84, violin, piano, 1965
Fantasies: op.86, bn, 1966, op.87, cl, 1966, op.88, hn, 1966, op.89, flute, 1966, op.90, oboe, 1966, op.100, tpt, 1969, op.101, trbn, 1969, op.102, tuba, 1969, op.107, gui, 1971, op.117, hp, 1975
Duo, op.85, 2 cello, 1965
Sonata, op.121, flute, piano, 1977                                                                Brass Band
Fantasy, op.127, rec, 1986                                                                  ========================
Fantasy, op.130, cello, 1987                                                                     2 Little Suites, op.80, 1963
Duo, op.135, 2 clarinets                                                                                                 op.93, 1967
3 Fantasies, op.129, piano                                                                        The Padstow Lifeboat_March, Op.94, 1967
                                                                                                              Fantasy, Op.114a, 1974
                                                                                                               Little Suite Nr.3, Op.131, 1987
                                                                                                            HRH The Duke of Cambridge, march, op.60, 1957

    Orchestral works
=================================================================== 
Sym. for Str, op.13, 1947                                             Horn Concerto, Op.11, 1945
 Sym. no.1, op.22, 1949                                               Clarinet Concerto (No.1), Op.20, 1948
 Sym. no.2, op.40, 1953                                               Conc., op.32, piano 4 hands, str, 1951
 ‘Toy’ Sym., op.62, 1957                                               Oboe Conc., op.39, oboe, str, 1952
 Sym. no.3, op.63, 1957                                               Flute Conc. no.1, op.45, 1954
 Sym. no.4, op.71, 1960                                               Harmonica Conc., op.46, 1954
 Sym. no.5, op.74, 1960                                               Concerto for Organ & Orchestra, Op.47, 1954
 Sym. no.6, op.95, 1967                                               Serenade, op.50, guitar, str, 1955
 Sym. no.7, op.113, 1973                                             Horn Concerto Nr.2, Op.58, 1956
 Sym. for Brass, op.123, 1978                                       Guitar Concerto, Op.67, 1959
 Sym. no.8, op.124, 1978                                  Grand Concerto Gastronomique for Eater, Waiter, Food and Orch, op.76, 1961
 Sym. no.9, op.128, 1986                                              Violin Concerto for 2 violins, Op.77, 1962
                                                                                   Conc., op.104, 2 piano (3 hands), orch, 1969
 Larch Trees, tone poem, op.3, 1943                              Conc. for 28 Players, op.105, 1970
 Beckus the Dandipratt, comedy overture., op.5, 1943     Viola Conc., op.108, va, chbr orch, 1971
 Divertimento no.1, op.1, 1945, lost                              Flute Conc. no.2, op.111, 1972
 Festival Overture., op.14, 1948                                     Clarinet Conc. no.2, op.115, 1974
 The Smoke, overture., op.21, 1948                               Fantasy on a Theme of John Field, op.116, piano, orch, 1975
 Little Suite no.1, op.53, 1948                                       Philharmonic Conc., op.120, 1976
 Divertimento no.2, op.24, 1950                                    Trumpet Conc., op.125, 1982
 Serenade, op.26, small orch, 1950                                Conc., recorder, chbr orch, op.133, 1988
 English Dances, set 1, op.27, 1950                               Shakespearean cello Conc., op.136, 1988
 English Dances, set 2, op.33, 1951
Machines, sym. study, op.30, 1951
 A Sussex Ov., op.31, 1951                                            Sym. Suite, op.12, lost
 The Sound Barrier, rhapsody, op.38, 1952                      Little Suite no.3 (A Manx Suite), op.142, 1990
 fluteourish for a 21st Birthday, op.44, 1953                    Roboeert Kett Ov., op.141, 1990
 Sinfonietta no.1, op.48, small orch, 1954                        Tam o’Shanter, ov., op.51, 1955
 Divertimento no.2, op.75, 1961                                     Carnival of Animals, op.72, 1960
 4 Scottish Dances, op.59, 1957                                      Overseas, march, op.70, 1960
 Commonwealth Christmas Ov., op.64, 1957                    Sinfonietta no.2, op.65, 1958
 Little Suite no.2, op.78, 1962                                         Peterloo, overture., op.97, 1967
 Sinfonietta no.3, op.81, 1964                                         4 Cornish Dances, op.91, 1968
 Water Music, op.82, wind, perc, 1964                             Fantasy for Audience and Orch, op.106, 1970
 A Sunshine Ov., op.83, 1964, lost                               Anniversary Ov., op.99, 1968
 The Fair Field, ov., op.110, 1972                                    A fluteourish, op.112, 1973
 4 Irish Dances, op.126, 1988                                        4 Welsh Dances, op.138, 1989
 fluteourish for a Battle, op.139, ww, brass, 1990
 A Grand Grand Ov., op.57, org, 3 vacuum cleaners, fluteoor polisher, 4 riflutees, orch, 1956
Variations on a Theme of Ruth Gipps, op.122, 1977
 Salute to Thomas Merritt, op.98, 2 brass bands, orch, 1987

-- I have updated this list for new info I uncovered and will do so when I run across a correction.


All the symphonies that I've heard I liked pretty much.
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: The new erato on April 23, 2016, 10:37:32 PM
Violin Concerto for 2 violins, Op.77, 1962

I've always had a weak spot for this. The way the two violins "chase" each other in the last movement (IIRC) is completely and utterly charming, and great fun. 
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: vandermolen on April 23, 2016, 10:51:51 PM
Getting back to Arnold and NOT wanting to turn this into a Deep Purple discussion, what would you guys say are your 'Top 5 Favorite Works' from this composer? I'd have to ponder for awhile with my answer, so the floor's completely yours. :)

Ok John, my top five Deep Purple albums are...hahaha  8)

Back to Arnold:

Symphony 1
Symphony 5
Symphony 6
Symphony 7
Concerto for Piano (three hands)

I'm not that keen on the recent Dutton issue of Symphony 7. Vernon Handley's is my favourite here. I like Arnold's own very slow version of Symphony 1 although Hickox is terrific here too. I like both Arnold and Hickox's version of Symphony 5. I like all available versions of Symphony 6. Nothing wrong with the Naxos cycle either and I like their Symphony 9.



Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: Christo on April 24, 2016, 07:55:37 AM
Five of my Arnold favourites - don't know if they're my absolute favourites, and I love all of his orchestral music, both serious and light; at least they come up spontaneously:

Serenade for Guitar and Strings, Op. 50 (1955)
Guitar Concerto, Op. 67 (1959)
Symphony No. 5 (Op. 74, 1961)
Symphony No. 7 (Op. 113, 1973)
Symphony No. 9 (Op. 128, 1986)

Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: vandermolen on April 24, 2016, 08:00:17 AM
Five of my Arnold favourites - don't know if they're my absolute favourites, and I love all of his orchestral music, both serious and light; at least they come up spontaneously:

Serenade for Guitar and Strings, Op. 50 (1955)
Guitar Concerto, Op. 67 (1959)
Symphony No. 5 (Op. 74, 1961)
Symphony No. 7 (Op. 113, 1973)
Symphony No. 9 (Op. 128, 1986)
Don't know the guitar works well but totally agree about the symphonies. I must listen to No.9 again soon - the mahlerian last movement is especially affecting.
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: André on April 24, 2016, 11:02:34 AM
The guitar concerto is a small gem.
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: vandermolen on April 24, 2016, 12:15:20 PM
The guitar concerto is a small gem.
Which recording would you recommend Andre? (Don't know how to do the acute accent on my computer).  :)
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: André on April 24, 2016, 12:46:58 PM
I have two: Michael Conn and John Lubbock, label IMP,
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/2158YKK3MNL.jpg)

and the compilation by Craig Ogden and Richard Hickox. on Chandos

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51PCiE2-VrL.jpg)

I would say, go for the program !
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: Mirror Image on April 24, 2016, 12:47:18 PM
Don't know the guitar works well but totally agree about the symphonies. I must listen to No.9 again soon - the mahlerian last movement is especially affecting.

I listened earlier this morning and found it completely affecting indeed. The whole symphony is magnificent. I played the Andrew Penny recording on Naxos.
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: vandermolen on April 24, 2016, 10:09:09 PM
I have two: Michael Conn and John Lubbock, label IMP,
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/2158YKK3MNL.jpg)

and the compilation by Craig Ogden and Richard Hickox. on Chandos

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51PCiE2-VrL.jpg)

I would say, go for the program !
Thanks Andre  :)
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: vandermolen on April 24, 2016, 10:10:01 PM
I listened earlier this morning and found it completely affecting indeed. The whole symphony is magnificent. I played the Andrew Penny recording on Naxos.
That's the one I shall be playing after work today. :)
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: Mirror Image on April 25, 2016, 09:38:36 AM
That's the one I shall be playing after work today. :)

Excellent! I listened to his Symphonies Nos. 5 & 6 (Penny) earlier and enjoyed them a lot. Symphony No. 5 has always been a favorite. That first movement always reminds me of being in a circus for some reason, but this circus turns to tragedy towards the end. Love it.
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: Mirror Image on April 25, 2016, 09:39:32 AM

and the compilation by Craig Ogden and Richard Hickox. on Chandos

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51PCiE2-VrL.jpg)

I would say, go for the program !

That's a very good disc indeed.
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: vandermolen on April 25, 2016, 12:57:55 PM
Excellent! I listened to his Symphonies Nos. 5 & 6 (Penny) earlier and enjoyed them a lot. Symphony No. 5 has always been a favorite. That first movement always reminds me of being in a circus for some reason, but this circus turns to tragedy towards the end. Love it.
I've been sidetracked by phone calls so haven't been able to listen to No.9 yet. 5 and 6 are two of the best. I first got to know of Arnold's music through a fine old EMI LP of Arnold conducting Symphony 5. I first heard No.6 used in a rather disturbing sequence in the documentary about Arnold when it was used to depict his mental disintegration.
I treasure the programme that he signed for me at the concert I attended of his music in London many years ago.
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: Mirror Image on April 25, 2016, 01:08:53 PM
I've been sidetracked by phone calls so haven't been able to listen to No.9 yet. 5 and 6 are two of the best. I first got to know of Arnold's music through a fine old EMI LP of Arnold conducting Symphony 5. I first heard No.6 used in a rather disturbing sequence in the documentary about Arnold when it was used to depict his mental disintegration.
I treasure the programme that he signed for me at the concert I attended of his music in London many years ago.

Wow, that's so great you got to meet him! What do you think of Symphonies 7 & 8? I think I'll give these a spin tonight after a short Prokofiev-a-thon. 8)
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: vandermolen on April 25, 2016, 02:20:37 PM
Wow, that's so great you got to meet him! What do you think of Symphonies 7 & 8? I think I'll give these a spin tonight after a short Prokofiev-a-thon. 8)
No.7 is one of the greatest. I prefer the Vernon Handley version to the others. No.8 is enjoyable but not as good IMHO.
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: Mirror Image on April 25, 2016, 03:07:51 PM
No.7 is one of the greatest. I prefer the Vernon Handley version to the others. No.8 is enjoyable but not as good IMHO.

Thanks, Jeffrey. Here's a fair question for you (and everyone else), what is your favorite Arnold symphony cycle: Handley, Hickox/Gamba, or Penny?
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: Mirror Image on April 25, 2016, 03:10:08 PM
Cross-posted from the 'Purchases' thread:

Just bought:

(http://www.hyperion-records.co.uk/jpegs/150dpi/034571150710.png) (http://www.hyperion-records.co.uk/jpegs/150dpi/034571150727.png)

(http://www.hyperion-records.co.uk/jpegs/150dpi/034571150734.png)

What does everyone think of Arnold's chamber music? I'm quite interested in hearing more of it.
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: Archaic Torso of Apollo on April 25, 2016, 03:11:59 PM
I first heard No.6 used in a rather disturbing sequence in the documentary about Arnold when it was used to depict his mental disintegration.

That's curious, because I've always associated No. 7 with mental disintegration. Specifically, it sounds like the soundtrack to a nervous breakdown.

No. 6 is really interesting as a symphonic piece that manages to integrate jazz sounds & procedures without coming across as imitative or derivative.
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: Mirror Image on April 25, 2016, 04:32:36 PM
That's curious, because I've always associated No. 7 with mental disintegration. Specifically, it sounds like the soundtrack to a nervous breakdown.

No. 6 is really interesting as a symphonic piece that manages to integrate jazz sounds & procedures without coming across as imitative or derivative.

I know the 7th is a searing testimonial of neurosis, but the last movement of Arnold's 4th is pretty much the antithesis of sanity as well. :)
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold (1921-2006) - chamber music
Post by: Scion7 on April 25, 2016, 04:46:34 PM
Violin Sonata Nr.1 sprints along at a nice pace and is over before you tire of it.

The second Violin Sonata has a different sound. Lots of pizzicato. Some showy piano in it.

Piano Trio Op.54 is modernist-romantic, and sometimes dissonant - again, the piano technique is to the fore.

The Five Pieces for Violin and Piano Op.84 can be a little jazzy sounding in the 'perpetual movement' section.  The 'Ballad' is quite nice.

I like his clarinet pieces - his Fantasy for Solo Clarinet is melodious and is ripe for adapting to some larger combo - if it hasn't already been?  The Sonatina for Clarinet & Piano Op.29, Sonatina for Oboe & Piano, and the Suite Bourgeoise for Flute, Oboe and Piano would make for a tuneful recital.

Interesting music.  There's so much more I have not heard (yet).

 
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold (1921-2006) - chamber music
Post by: Mirror Image on April 25, 2016, 05:06:16 PM
Violin Sonata Nr.1 sprints along at a nice pace and is over before you tire of it.

The second Violin Sonata has a different sound. Lots of pizzicato. Some showy piano in it.

Piano Trio Op.54 is modernist-romantic, and sometimes dissonant - again, the piano technique is to the fore.

The Five Pieces for Violin and Piano Op.84 can be a little jazzy sounding in the 'perpetual movement' section.  The 'Ballad' is quite nice.

I like his clarinet pieces - his Fantasy for Solo Clarinet is melodious and is ripe for adapting to some larger combo - if it hasn't already been?  The Sonatina for Clarinet & Piano Op.29, Sonatina for Oboe & Piano, and the Suite Bourgeoise for Flute, Oboe and Piano would make for a tuneful recital.

Interesting music.  There's so much more I have not heard (yet).

Thanks for this, Scion7. I listened to Three Shanties, Op. 4 for wind quintet and enjoyed it a great deal. Coincidently, I listened to Violin Sonata No. 1, Op. 15 as well and thought it was great. This kind of got the ball rolling for me to check out recordings of his chamber music, which led to me buying those Nash Ensemble Hyperion recordings. I suppose I could have gone the Naxos route, but the Nash Ensemble have always been one of my favorite chamber groups.

BTW, what is your favorite Arnold symphony cycle: Handley, Hickox/Gamba, or Penny and why?
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: Scion7 on April 25, 2016, 05:29:44 PM
I very rarely get duplicate sets of pieces - and wouldn't do that for Arnold's works.  I have BBC Phil/Gamba for Symphonies 7, 8 & 9,  and Arnold himself for Symphony No.1, 2 & 5 - for a song in the used bins in Charlotte.

Someday I'll have to go to YT and check out others.
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: Mirror Image on April 25, 2016, 06:00:51 PM
Some composers are worth acquiring more recordings and, for me, Arnold is one of those composers as his music can be approached in several different ways.
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: Mirror Image on April 25, 2016, 08:08:01 PM
Has anyone picked this up? For these works, I only have the Decca box of the Handley Conifer recordings...

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/81QieLB-BpL._SL1500_.jpg)

I bought this recording tonight. Pretty excited to hear another performance of Symphony No. 7. This is such a psychotic work, but truly great IMHO.
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: lescamil on April 25, 2016, 08:56:30 PM
Has anyone picked this up? For these works, I only have the Decca box of the Handley Conifer recordings...

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/81QieLB-BpL._SL1500_.jpg)

Have had this one for a while. I got it for the Fantasy, where Donohoe once again proves to be a very masterful pianist. Once again he gives a very meaty interpretation, and his sharp-edged playing works very well here. The Philharmonic Concerto is also well-played and very exciting here under Yates. Need a few more listens of the Symphony before I can comment.
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: vandermolen on April 25, 2016, 10:28:23 PM
Thanks, Jeffrey. Here's a fair question for you (and everyone else), what is your favorite Arnold symphony cycle: Handley, Hickox/Gamba, or Penny?
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
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: Maestro267 on April 26, 2016, 01:17:18 AM
An intrigue about Arnold's 4th Symphony is the fact that Arnold's own recording (LPO, Lyrita) takes a whopping 54 minutes (including 18 mins each for the 1st and 3rd movts.), compared to just 37 minutes for Penny and Handley's recordings. I wonder what the composer's intentions were with the symphony...
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: Scion7 on April 26, 2016, 02:37:31 AM
Well, Arnold was a conductor-for-hire besides being a composer - I trust his conducting of his own works as far as realizing what the composer wanted.
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: Mirror Image on April 26, 2016, 05:17:00 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

Thanks, Jeffrey. For whatever reason, I haven't been too interested in hearing the composer himself conduct his own music. In fact, one of the recordings he conducted (I believe the one with his Symphony No. 4) received a 'CD From Hell' title from Hurwitz. Even though I don't care much for Hurwitz, we seem to share some commonality for the same kind of music.
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: Maestro267 on April 26, 2016, 05:53:39 AM
The original manuscript of Arnold's 7th Symphony has been rediscovered by the composer's daughter on eBay.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/04/25/missing-symphony-by-one-of-englands-greatest-composers-discovere/ (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/04/25/missing-symphony-by-one-of-englands-greatest-composers-discovere/)
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: Mirror Image on April 26, 2016, 06:20:06 AM
The original manuscript of Arnold's 7th Symphony has been rediscovered by the composer's daughter on eBay.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/04/25/missing-symphony-by-one-of-englands-greatest-composers-discovere/ (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/04/25/missing-symphony-by-one-of-englands-greatest-composers-discovere/)

I read about this last night. Amazing! I'm sure preparations will be made to record it (or at least I hope they will).
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: Mirror Image on April 26, 2016, 06:25:15 AM
Forgive me for doing this, but I think some biographical information is needed in this thread since Arnold's music is seeing some interest lately around here:

(http://www.bruceduffie.com/arnold4.jpg)

Sir Malcolm Arnold's 60-year career has shown him to be perhaps the most versatile and prolific of the many British composers who emerged in the post-World War II era. Born in Northampton in 1921, Arnold was trained as a composer and trumpeter at the Royal College of Music from 1938 to 1941 (under Gordon Jacob for composition and Ernest Hall for trumpet), after which he won a trumpet position with the London Philharmonic Orchestra. After a promotion to principal trumpet in 1942, Arnold's career there was interrupted by two years of military service (1944-1945) and a year with Adrian Boult and the BBC Symphony (during the 1945-1946 season). Arnold returned to the London Philharmonic in 1946, but soon found that composition was exercising an increasingly strong hold over his musical attention. Upon receiving the Mendelssohn scholarship in 1948 (which, in addition to prestige, provided the young composer with funds to spend a year in Italy), Arnold resigned from the orchestra to devote himself to composition (and, later, conducting) on a full-time basis.

Arnold's output over the next 50 years was prodigious: nine symphonies, 20 concertos, five ballets (including a version of Sweeney Todd in 1959), and a seemingly inexhaustible supply of smaller pieces for all kinds of ensembles. A successful secondary career as a film composer resulted in over 80 scores, including the Academy Award-winning Bridge on the River Kwai. Arnold has been the recipient of many public and academic honors, including honorary doctorates from the universities of Exeter, Durham, and Leicester, and the Ivor Novello Award for "Outstanding Services to British Music" in 1986. Named Commander of the British Empire in 1970, he was further honored in 1993 when his name appeared among those selected as Knights of the British Empire.

His resistance to identification with any of the various and ubiquitous "schools" of composition during the latter half of the twentieth century earned him the unbridled displeasure of many critics and fellow composers. On the surface, his music seems more intended to welcome audiences than to put his formidable technical skills on display, or to make musical or artistic "progress." While at times the overly accessible surface contours of his work (particularly the large-scale orchestral pieces) obscure the fundamental tensions that drive the music at a deeper level, Arnold's sense of craftsmanship -- an aristocratic pride that prohibits him from engaging in what he sees as vulgar twentieth century techniques, while also perhaps causing his music-making to fall short of its deeply expressive potential -- has resulted in an enviable consistency of output. Arnold named Berlioz as an inspiration; influence also came from a composer who provided England with its wartime anthem and who was always more popular in England than on the Continent -- the similarly anti-modernist and individualist Jean Sibelius.

[Article taken from All Music Guide]
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: vandermolen on April 26, 2016, 07:52:05 AM
Interesting post John. Thank you. I finally listened to No.9 this morning. In the end I played the Gamba version as it was closest to hand. Had my attention gripped throughout an extraordinary work. The mahlerian last movement is incredibly moving as it is clear that, in it, Arnold is 'signing out' even though he had many more years to live. The last movement echoes that of Mahler's 9th Symphony although one section reminded me of the slow movement of Shostakovich's 8th Symphony. Been listening to his film music on my way to and back from work today.
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: Jeffrey Smith on April 26, 2016, 07:53:25 AM
I read about this last night. Amazing! I'm sure preparations will be made to record it (or at least I hope they will).

The music is known and recorded.  The hubbub is simply about the original autograph copy....unless someone notices important differences between the autograph and the published versions.
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: Mirror Image on April 26, 2016, 07:55:25 AM
Interesting post John. Thank you. I finally listened to No.9 this morning. In the end I played the Gamba version as it was closest to hand. Had my attention gripped throughout an extraordinary work. The mahlerian last movement is incredibly moving as it is clear that, in it, Arnold is 'signing out' even though he had many more years to live. The last movement echoes that of Mahler's 9th Symphony although one section reminded me of the slow movement of Shostakovich's 8th Symphony. Been listening to his film music on my way to and back from work today.

It certainly is an exhilarating symphony, Jeffrey. Glad you enjoyed yet again. I have Gamba's performance on the way, so it'll be interesting to compare/contrast his performance with Penny and Handley.
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: Mirror Image on April 26, 2016, 07:56:15 AM
The music is known and recorded.  The hubbub is simply about the original autograph copy....unless someone notices important differences between the autograph and the published versions.

Thanks for this, Jeffrey. I'm sure there aren't any differences between the version we know and the original, but, if there is, I'd love to hear his original thoughts.
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: André on April 26, 2016, 10:59:59 AM
Thanks, Jeffrey. For whatever reason, I haven't been too interested in hearing the composer himself conduct his own music. In fact, one of the recordings he conducted (I believe the one with his Symphony No. 4) received a 'CD From Hell' title from Hurwitz. Even though I don't care much for Hurwitz, we seem to share some commonality for the same kind of music.

A "CD from Hell" from Hurwitz is something that is either truly appalling or that shakes the hurwitzer to his foundations (anus sphincter contracting painfully). I have 2 Arnold discs where he conducts his own music: symphony no 3 (Everest) and the disc of Overtures (on Reference).
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51YTVs6pfIL.jpg)

The latter is from his late years and is utterly different from other discs of his overtures. Be that as it may, it just happened to be my first ever disc of Arnold's music and it caught my attention instantly.

Therefore, forgive me for not believing Hurwitz' musical or physiological malaises to be of any import to my appreciation  ;D
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: Sergeant Rock on April 26, 2016, 11:42:20 AM
Thanks, Jeffrey. For whatever reason, I haven't been too interested in hearing the composer himself conduct his own music. In fact, one of the recordings he conducted (I believe the one with his Symphony No. 4) received a 'CD From Hell' title from Hurwitz. Even though I don't care much for Hurwitz, we seem to share some commonality for the same kind of music.

A "CD from Hell" from Hurwitz is something that is either truly appalling or that shakes the hurwitzer to his foundations...Therefore, forgive me for not believing Hurwitz' musical or physiological malaises to be of any import to my appreciation  ;D

The Hurwitzer's bitch about Arnold's performance of the Fourth concerns the tempi:

"He stretches the first and third movements to a fairly ridiculous length, and the entire work takes more than 54 minutes, as opposed to a bit less than 40 from Handley (Decca/Conifer), Hickox (Chandos) or Penny (Naxos). Even the finale hangs fire, sounding labored, even tortured, rather than rhythmically taut and vigorous. The result, however interesting in terms of the instrumental detail that it reveals, materially misrepresents the music’s rhythmic energy, urgency, and wit. Listening becomes a punishment..."


The main thing I took from that negative review is "instrumental detail." I love detail. And since I can usually appreciate broader interpretations of anyone's music, the review actually encouraged me to order the CD. (I also have trouble believing the composer "misrepresents" his own music.) That Jeffrey lists it as his favorite helped persuade me too.

Sarge
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: Mirror Image on April 26, 2016, 07:06:25 PM
A "CD from Hell" from Hurwitz is something that is either truly appalling or that shakes the hurwitzer to his foundations (anus sphincter contracting painfully). I have 2 Arnold discs where he conducts his own music: symphony no 3 (Everest) and the disc of Overtures (on Reference).
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51YTVs6pfIL.jpg)

The latter is from his late years and is utterly different from other discs of his overtures. Be that as it may, it just happened to be my first ever disc of Arnold's music and it caught my attention instantly.

Therefore, forgive me for not believing Hurwitz' musical or physiological malaises to be of any import to my appreciation  ;D

That is a great Arnold disc, Andre. I, too, own it. I need to give it another spin as it's been too long. Oh, I don't subscribe to a lot of what Hurwitz writes, but I just feel that sometimes I actually agree with him. Having not heard the Arnold conducted performance of his 4th, I can't say whether I believe him or not, but, at this juncture, I can say that I have a lot of Arnold in my collection and I really don't need anymore (not that you were suggesting I buy anything just a general comment).
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: Mirror Image on April 26, 2016, 07:10:26 PM
The Hurwitzer's bitch about Arnold's performance of the Fourth concerns the tempi:

"He stretches the first and third movements to a fairly ridiculous length, and the entire work takes more than 54 minutes, as opposed to a bit less than 40 from Handley (Decca/Conifer), Hickox (Chandos) or Penny (Naxos). Even the finale hangs fire, sounding labored, even tortured, rather than rhythmically taut and vigorous. The result, however interesting in terms of the instrumental detail that it reveals, materially misrepresents the music’s rhythmic energy, urgency, and wit. Listening becomes a punishment..."


The main thing I took from that negative review is "instrumental detail." I love detail. And since I can usually appreciate broader interpretations of anyone's music, the review actually encouraged me to order the CD. (I also have trouble believing the composer "misrepresents" his own music.) That Jeffrey lists it as his favorite helped persuade me too.

Sarge

I'm pretty mixed when it comes to interpretations. On one hand, I do like a broader approach, but on the other hand, I don't want a conductor to get too bogged down in a passage where I feel doesn't need to be expanded by slowing it down. I can appreciate a lot of different kinds of interpretations as long as I believe the conductor knows what they're doing and yields results that make my ears perk up and allow me to feel the music along with them. It's all subjective really.
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: vandermolen on April 26, 2016, 10:15:01 PM
I think that Arnold's drawn out performance of Symphony 1 works well and is my favourite version. I need to listen to other recordings of Symphony 4 which is the one I know least.
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: Mirror Image on April 27, 2016, 03:24:13 AM
I think that Arnold's drawn out performance of Symphony 1 works well and is my favourite version. I need to listen to other recordings of Symphony 4 which is the one I know least.

I refer to Symphony No. 4 as Arnold's 'Barnum & Bailey' symphony, because the first movement really reminds me of circus music. The interesting thing about this first movement is towards the end the circus turns tragic and the clowns, acrobats, and ringmaster seem to be in some sort of mourning. :)
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold (1921-2006) - chamber music
Post by: Scion7 on April 27, 2016, 05:53:52 AM
The Oboe Sonatina Op.28 (1951)  is on one of the Nash CD's - correct?
I have the performace by Katsya Watanabe and David Johnson from 2009.



Oboe Sonatina, Op. 28
ARNOLD-Watanabe, Johnson
Leggiero-Andante con moto-Vivace
1951

NOT 1952, by the way - that is a mistake some references make that I've seen online.  According to Craggs 1998 book, Malcolm Arnold-A Bio-Biography, it was composed in 1951.

Strange piece - the opening is serious, but has a nice melodic feel.
The Andante is melancholy and has a haunting tune.  Hopefully the Nash folks took it at the same tempo as this performance did.  I can't imagine it slower or faster.
Then, it finishes off with a happy-go-lucky Vivace !


Arnold composed this sonatina, and also a concerto for oboe -
the Oboe Concertino is an orchestrated version of the sonatina by Roger Steptoe,
and it is therefore a hybrid work not entirely Arnold's - has Rafe elements to it.
I can see why Steptoe, like Ravel with Mussorgsky, saw the orchestrated potential for the piece.



Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: Mirror Image on April 28, 2016, 03:21:14 AM
I don't know the Oboe Sonatina, but, yes, I do believe it's in the Hyperion series (w/ the Nash Ensemble) of chamber music. Arnold's chamber works are largely unexplored territory for me. I also felt that revisiting the symphonies (I only lack listening to Symphonies 1 & 2 again) that there was so much I missed from the previous listen. These are really complex works, but I found them immediately attractive. The concerti are still a blindspot for me in a way as I've heard so much of that music about six years ago, but haven't revisited it since, although I do believe I heard the Guitar Concerto not too long ago. Very nice work.
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: Mirror Image on April 28, 2016, 05:18:14 PM
Cross-posted from the 'Listening' thread:

Now:

(http://cps-static.rovicorp.com/3/JPG_500/MI0000/957/MI0000957204.jpg?partner=allrovi.com)

English, Scottish, Cornish, & Irish Dances
Excerpts from the ballet 'Solitaire'


The lighter side of Arnold is no less enjoyable. Enthralling disc.

Such an awesome recording. Does anyone else here own it?
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: Heck148 on April 28, 2016, 05:23:40 PM
Cross-posted from the 'Listening' thread:

Such an awesome recording. Does anyone else here own it?
Yes...I've had it for a long time - just today listening in the car...neat disc...really fun music...
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: Mirror Image on April 28, 2016, 05:36:21 PM
Yes...I've had it for a long time - just today listening in the car...neat disc...really fun music...

Indeed! It's been in my collection for a long time as well. I wish Thomson had conducted more of Arnold's music, especially the symphonies. Imagine Thomson in the 9th. I'm salivating just thinking about it. :)
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: Mirror Image on April 28, 2016, 06:04:18 PM
For those interested, here's Tony Palmer's documentary film on Arnold on YT:

https://www.youtube.com/v/W93ye83wJ6w

I haven't watched myself, but I really hope it stays on YT.
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold [1921-2006] - chamber music cont.
Post by: Scion7 on April 28, 2016, 07:21:23 PM
Sonata for Flute and Piano, Op.121  (1977)
Allegro-Andantino-Maestoso con molto ritmico

Has a weird last movement - kind of like a showtune in parts - not my favorite chamber work from Arnold but worthwhile.


Quintet for Flute, Violin, Viola, Horn and Bassoon, Op.7  (1944)
Allegro con brio-Andante con moto-Allegretto con molto

A serious work that also has some light-hearted comedic melody 'chase' lines.


Sonatina for Flute & Piano, Op.19  (1948)
Allegro-Andante-Allegretto languido

Sometimes violent piano in the first movement; the Andante is another wonderful, haunting tune that Arnold often comes up with - and the 3rd movement is another happy-go-lucky type of ending that is sort of jarring considering movements I and II.


Sonatina for Recorder and Piano, Op.41  (1953)
Cantilena-Chaconne-Rondo

Another melodic piece - Arnold seems to pull these out of his hat at-will.  The Rondo is very nice.  The limited range of the recorder keeps the work from getting too "serious."


Fantasy for Recorder and Strings (or Quartet version), Op.140   (1990)
Andante e mesto-Allegro-Lento e mesto-Allegretto-Vivace

I find a lot of Arnold 'schizophrenic' - he can turn a piece from a melancholy, thought-provoking movement to a sunny, optimistic section immediately following. This certainly is the case between the 2nd and 3rd movements.


Sonatina for Clarinet & Piano, Op.29  (1951)
Allegro con brio-Andantino-Furioso

Arnold could write very well for the clarinet.  Again, a wistful second movement - followed up by a eastern-feel aggressive final movement.


Anybody that can compose such fine chamber music is a right decent sod in my book.  Chambernut should be on here someplace helping out on this thread.  Probably off lying around with his bird and a pint.
 
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold [1921-2006]
Post by: Scion7 on April 28, 2016, 11:38:03 PM
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gnA1IMnLZr4

(http://s32.postimg.org/6mntp14b9/Arnold_Purple.jpg)

A serious problem with obesity need not, and did not, hinder his enthusiasm.   :)
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold [1921-2006]
Post by: Scion7 on April 29, 2016, 03:19:41 AM
Ah, a very nice piece I found on YouTube (that does not appear to have been issued on LP or CD) :

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e4RcOPeQscs

Divertimento, Op.137, for wind octet   (1988)
(2 oboes, 2 B-flat clarinets, 2 bassoons, 2 horns)
Allegro-Larghetto-Vivace-Allegro-Alla Marziale

Commissioned for Camerata Wind soloists with financial assistance for Northwest Arts
Dedicated to Janet Hilton


Performance Notes by  © Piers Burton-Page (sorry Piers, I nicked it) :

For some reason best known to the composer's subconscious, the new Divertimento for Wind Octet also turns out to be one of the most tightly-organised of the composer's much more recent pieces! Is this, perhaps, a response to the suggestion of looseness inherent in the title Divertimento?

What we are confronted with is a five-movement work, again with some of the movements virtually running into one another, and again with some close-knit thematic integration. Listen out for the opening flourish that runs through the entire ensemble and forms the very first thing they play. The rising seventh occurs again and again throughout the whole piece, very obviously, and bind it together with classical rigidity. The octet ensemble is classical, too: pairs of oboes, clarinets, horns and bassoons, with the first member of each pairing given occasional moments in which to shine - the first clarinet in particular, for Janet Hilton is not just a close musical friend, but the commissioner and dedicatee of this octet!

Arnold begins, then, with a three-four allegro that is very much in the nature of a prologue; it is very short, and sets out the basic material, much of it stated in unison and most of it fortissimo. The ensuing larghetto, in common time, is also short, and seems principally concerned to develop the inherent somewhat spare lyricism contained in the motif of sevenths that is again prominent. The third-movement vivace is in compound triple time, and moves with vehement speed and almost hectic energy. There is plenty of virtuoso writing, particularly for the clarinet; some wild dynamic contrasts; and not one but two abrupt cut-offs - a favourite Arnold device this! A four-bar maestoso coda wittily echoes a theme from the first movement. The fourth movement is a three-four allegro, very fast and again almost scherzo-like, and there is more than a hint of a sardonic waltz about it before the music peters out in a clarinet solo. Arnold stipulates a lunga pausa before the final movement, a four-four piece marked 'alla marziale'. The rhythms are indeed march-like, and the march tune is not so much a cousin as a twin brother to the sevenths motif heard at the outset. This march is much the most substantial part of the Divertimento, a weighty piece exploring a variety of moods and even setting the march theme against a variety of new material that includes a fanfare-like flourish, and a sinuous, even chromatic motif first given out on the oboe and quickly taken up by the horn. Once again a lean clarinet heralds the ending, which is forceful and very brief. We shall, hopefully, have been entertained - but also challenged! Malcolm Arnold completed his Divertimento for Wind Octet in May 1988, at his home in Attleborough, Norfolk.

Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: vandermolen on April 29, 2016, 04:05:49 AM
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gnA1IMnLZr4

(http://s32.postimg.org/6mntp14b9/Arnold_Purple.jpg)

A serious problem with obesity need not, and did not, hinder his enthusiasm.   :)
He thinned out a lot in his later years!
I listened to two versions of Symphony 4 (Arnold on Lyrita and Hickox on Chandos).
The Arnold version is almost 15 minutes longer!
Whilst Arnold's drawn out version of Symphony No.1 works very well in adding gravitas to the work I felt that it made much less sense in Symphony 4 and much prefer the Hickox recording where there is a much greater sense of urgency. Some sections reminded me of Leonard Bernstein's 'Symphonic Dances from West Side Story'. I hardly know Symphony 4 possibly because for many years I only possessed the Lyrita recording and didn't make much sense of it. I now have a much higher opinion of the score. No.8 is the other one I hardly know so will be listening to that again soon.
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on April 29, 2016, 04:07:51 AM
Yes...I've had it for a long time - just today listening in the car...neat disc...really fun music...

Indeed! It's been in my collection for a long time as well. I wish Thomson had conducted more of Arnold's music, especially the symphonies. Imagine Thomson in the 9th. I'm salivating just thinking about it. :)

Good, clean fun!
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold [1921-2006]
Post by: Scion7 on April 29, 2016, 08:58:23 AM
LPO–0013
© 2004 London Philharmonic Orchestra Ltd
Recorded live at the Royal Festival Hall, London, on 24 September 2004
Total playing time: 69:08
DDD Stereo
Released September 2006

(https://www.lpo.org.uk/recordings-and-gifts/index.php?option=com_tessitura_bridge&task=thumbnail&width=650&height=400&path=/images/merchandise/CD0013RIC.jpg) 



Oops!  Scrolling back to page 5 or so, I see that Vandermolen already covered this one.
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold [1921-2006]
Post by: Mirror Image on April 29, 2016, 10:47:20 AM
LPO–0013
© 2004 London Philharmonic Orchestra Ltd
Recorded live at the Royal Festival Hall, London, on 24 September 2004
Total playing time: 69:08
DDD Stereo
Released September 2006

(https://www.lpo.org.uk/recordings-and-gifts/index.php?option=com_tessitura_bridge&task=thumbnail&width=650&height=400&path=/images/merchandise/CD0013RIC.jpg) 



Oops!  Scrolling back to page 5 or so, I see that Vandermolen already covered this one.

I haven't heard that recording. How is audio quality and performances?

On another note...

I've really been digging this recording today:

(https://www.chandos.net/hiresart/CHAN%2010293.jpg)
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold [1921-2006]
Post by: Scion7 on April 29, 2016, 11:04:57 AM
Sounds fine - the advances in live recording (and shushing up that old man in row three with the hacking cough) have made this sound much better technically than any early studio stereo recording.

I really like the Philharmonic Concerto.  The "Chacony" should appeal to your Shostaphenia ... Dmitrisociative disorder.   :D

I've been catching up on this composer since reading this thread and found especially in the chamber music a real swiftee giftee.
I was still in England when he conducted the DP concerto and the furor in the press both pro and con lasted perhaps a week with the various talking heads on the BBC.  This probably added more fuel to the angst of those ultra-modernist critics who already disliked him.
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: Mirror Image on April 29, 2016, 11:10:30 AM
Sounds fine - the advances in live recording (and shushing up that old man in row three with the hacking cough) have made this sound much better technically than any early studio stereo recording.

I really like the Philharmonic Concerto.  The "Chacony" should appeal to your Shostaphenia ... Dmitrisociative disorder.   :D

I've been catching up on this composer since reading this thread and found especially in the chamber music a real swiftee giftee.
I was still in England when he conducted the DP concerto and the furor in the press both pro and con lasted perhaps a week with the various talking heads on the BBC.  This probably added more fuel to the angst of those ultra-modernist critics who already disliked him.

Very nice except that I do not suffer from Shostaphenia ... Dmitrisociative disorder. I DO NOT HAVE A PROBLEM!!!! >:( :P

My coach tells me the first step to this disorder is admitting I have a problem...
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: Scion7 on April 29, 2016, 11:19:22 AM
Of COURSE you don't.   0:)


(pssst ... Karl - is the sedative ready?)
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on April 29, 2016, 11:22:57 AM
Dart gun at the ready!
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: Scion7 on April 29, 2016, 11:28:03 AM
Get the air bubble out.   ;D
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold [1921-2006]
Post by: André on April 29, 2016, 11:46:59 AM
Quote

On another note...

I've really been digging this recording today:

(https://www.chandos.net/hiresart/CHAN%2010293.jpg)

With good reason. It's an excellent conspectus of some of the composer's Overtures - really, tone poems the size of Dvorak's -, but I have to recommend the composer's recording (on Reference, already discussed here) as one that brings these works' sheer dimension into much bigger focus - again by dint of slower, bigger readings.  He also interprets other overtures than those on the Chandos - so really, the two are complementary both in terms of approach and repertoire.


Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold [1921-2006]
Post by: vandermolen on April 29, 2016, 12:02:22 PM
LPO–0013
© 2004 London Philharmonic Orchestra Ltd
Recorded live at the Royal Festival Hall, London, on 24 September 2004
Total playing time: 69:08
DDD Stereo
Released September 2006

(https://www.lpo.org.uk/recordings-and-gifts/index.php?option=com_tessitura_bridge&task=thumbnail&width=650&height=400&path=/images/merchandise/CD0013RIC.jpg) 



Oops!  Scrolling back to page 5 or so, I see that Vandermolen already covered this one.
Yes, it's a great CD - one of my Arnold favourites, especially for Symphony 6 but it's a great programme generally. I also like the 'Inn of the Sixth Happiness' film music. The film features Robert Donat's poignant final appearance 'we shall not meet again I think' are his final words in the film - a great actor and a great CD.
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold [1921-2006]
Post by: Scion7 on April 29, 2016, 12:11:51 PM
(http://s32.postimg.org/mcc5nzavp/Back.jpg)  (http://www.newfocusrecordings.com/site/assets/files/2321/fcr123_cover.750x0.jpg)

The physical CD is available at least from CD Universe.  A very nice program - the Arnold selection, 5 Pieces for Violin and Piano, Op.84  (1965), has jazz elements in the Moto perpetuo.
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: relm1 on April 29, 2016, 12:37:12 PM
For those interested, here's Tony Palmer's documentary film on Arnold on YT:

https://www.youtube.com/v/W93ye83wJ6w

I haven't watched myself, but I really hope it stays on YT.

The documentary is excellent - watch the whole thing.  It is quite tragic how demented and alone he was.  A really troubled and sad shell of a person.
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: Mirror Image on April 29, 2016, 12:42:17 PM
The documentary is excellent - watch the whole thing.  It is quite tragic how demented and alone he was.  A really troubled and sad shell of a person.

I watched 'Part I' last night and I'll continue with 'Part II' tonight. Indeed, it's certainly disheartening to see his own mental decline.
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: André on April 29, 2016, 01:06:17 PM
Right now listening to this:

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51ETZTZS90L.jpg)

Arnold's First symphony - already jolly and sarcastic in I, quietly anguished and enigmatic in II, etc.

And his 5th, possibly his most 'popular' work in the genre. As with Beethoven, Mahler, Prokofiev, Tchaikovsky, Shostakovich: a 'people's symphony'.
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold [1921-2006]
Post by: Scion7 on April 29, 2016, 01:21:51 PM
Duo for Flute & Viola, Op.10  (1945)
ARNOLD
Andante quasi allegretto-Allegro-Allegretto ma non troppo

First performance December 1946 in London.

Another sound work for the players, and enjoyable to hear, although the first two movements are much stronger than the last.


Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: relm1 on April 29, 2016, 02:26:39 PM
What do you all think of seven through nine? It seems they got increasingly terse and grim along with his deteriorating sanity.   It doesn't have quite the Mahler sense of existential strife but clearly personal demons. Then again, maybe I'm reading too much into that documentary.
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: vandermolen on April 29, 2016, 02:47:22 PM
Right now listening to this:

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51ETZTZS90L.jpg)

Arnold's First symphony - already jolly and sarcastic in I, quietly anguished and enigmatic in II, etc.

And his 5th, possibly his most 'popular' work in the genre. As with Beethoven, Mahler, Prokofiev, Tchaikovsky, Shostakovich: a 'people's symphony'.
That is a GREAT CD combining possibly my two favourite Arnold symphonies. I think that No.1 was written after he shot himself through the foot to get out of military service and No.5 commemorates friends who died young:
Like this CD too:


Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: Mirror Image on April 29, 2016, 04:06:55 PM
Right now listening to this:

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51ETZTZS90L.jpg)

Arnold's First symphony - already jolly and sarcastic in I, quietly anguished and enigmatic in II, etc.

And his 5th, possibly his most 'popular' work in the genre. As with Beethoven, Mahler, Prokofiev, Tchaikovsky, Shostakovich: a 'people's symphony'.

I'm quite anxious to revisit Handley's Arnold series. I do own the original Conifer recordings with Handley, but one plus of that budget set is the remastered 24-bit audio, but I remember the original recordings had a great sound to them. I'll have to listen to Symphony No. 1 tonight.
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: Mirror Image on April 29, 2016, 04:10:16 PM
What do you all think of seven through nine? It seems they got increasingly terse and grim along with his deteriorating sanity.   It doesn't have quite the Mahler sense of existential strife but clearly personal demons. Then again, maybe I'm reading too much into that documentary.

I love all of those symphonies, but the 9th gets my vote for the best Arnold symphony of them all. The feeling of resignation and hopelessness run deep throughout that symphony. That last movement Lento is one of the most magnificent things I've ever heard in music. The thematic material is so straightforward, but underneath this lies a deep pool of loneliness, anguish, and heartbreak.
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: relm1 on April 29, 2016, 05:21:38 PM
I love all of those symphonies, but the 9th gets my vote for the best Arnold symphony of them all. That feeling of resignation and hopelessness run deep throughout that symphony. That last movement Lento is one of the most magnificent things I've ever heard in music. The thematic material is so straightforward, but underneath this lies a deep pool of loneliness, anguish, and heartbreak.

I agree with you.  Where would you place him in the 20th century British symphonic group?  Post Britten but a peer to Alwyn?  Sub-Walton?  His own thing?  I hear zero of Vaughan Williams so he seems a different approach the British sound.
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold [1921-2006]
Post by: Scion7 on April 29, 2016, 05:30:29 PM
An unashamed eclectic . . . a valedictory Ninth (1986) clearly modelled on Tchaikovsky and Mahler. The Second (1953) follows in the line of English Pastorals that stretches back to Holst and Vaughan Williams and even earlier, and was and remains widely played; while the Third (1957), in somewhat similar vein . . .  The early influence of Sibelius, textural and emotional, is replaced by the more all-embracing aspirations and even the thematic contours of Mahler. Along with Berlioz, these composers were regularly described by Arnold as forming his private pantheon.    - from The New Grove

I pretty much agree with the editors' consensus on Arnold.
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: Mirror Image on April 29, 2016, 05:32:39 PM
I agree with you.  Where would you place him in the 20th century British symphonic group?  Post Britten but a peer to Alwyn?  Sub-Walton?  His own thing?  I hear zero of Vaughan Williams so he seems a different approach the British sound.

Yes, he doesn't really belong to the same musical world as Vaughan Williams nor do I really align him with composers like Alwyn, Walton, or Britten. He certainly shared nothing in common with those post-RVW composers like Moeran, Finzi, or Howells. Sigh...I think it's best we just give Arnold his own category. :)
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: relm1 on April 29, 2016, 06:08:46 PM
Yes, he doesn't really belong to the same musical world as Vaughan Williams nor do I really align him with composers like Alwyn, Walton, or Britten. He certainly shared nothing in common with those post-RVW composers like Moeran, Finzi, or Howells. Sigh...I think it's best we just give Arnold his own category. :)
But that would make him an innovator. I don't think I've heard anything from him would I see as his being innovative (and I have all the symphonies).  I do find him quite unique but borrowing too.  There is some pastiche, pop music,  and Brittish pomp too. It's a complicated mix but I do not see him as an innovator at all.    That does not mean I do not fully enjoy it. Maybe he's something like a popular version of Hoddinott. 
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: Mirror Image on April 29, 2016, 06:13:12 PM
But that would make him an innovator. I don't think I've heard anything from him would I see as his being innovative (and I have all the symphonies).  I do find him quite unique but borrowing too.  There is some pastiche, pop music,  and Brittish pomp too. It's a complicated mix but I do not see him as an innovator at all.    That does not mean I do not fully enjoy it. Maybe he's something like a popular version of Hoddinott.

Being an innovator and having a unique compositional voice are two different things in my view. What I meant is that no one really sounds like Arnold. He didn't innovate anything and didn't need to --- he borrowed from popular music, folk music, and melded it all into a unique synthesis.
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: vandermolen on April 29, 2016, 10:57:31 PM
I think that Mahler is the most obvious influence on Arnold with the juxtaposition of the serious and grotesque/banal material. I consider this an asset and part of Arnold's appeal.
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold [1921-2006]
Post by: Scion7 on April 30, 2016, 12:23:41 AM
However, Arnold was also a prolific composer of (very good!) chamber music - which only occasionally reflects a Mahlerian feel. I hear Jazz elements and also some English music house comedic influences, and I wonder how aware he was of Bliss, Bowen, Alwyn, Bax, et al - not so much to be influenced in his sound, but by the challenge of their extensive chamber works.  In a few pieces there is an impression of Rafe's influence.  And while it is sad that he had depression over much of his life, its influence on his composing is what gave his music his edge in a lot of ways.
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold [1921-2006] - brass
Post by: Scion7 on April 30, 2016, 01:30:22 AM
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51NOJRfR8NL.jpg)
     



From start to finish, great listening.
Also, points out the mistaken notion that Arnold's works post-Symphony Nr.9 were "not memorable," as the critic stated on page one of this thread.
The Little Suite No.3 for Brass, Op.131  (1987) and Brass Quintet No.2, Op.132  (1988)  -  as well as the previously mentioned Divertimento for Wind Octet, Op.137  (1988),  puts that myth to bed.
Note to fans of Anthony Braxton - you will find that the leap from his music to this CD is not large.  ;)
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: vandermolen on April 30, 2016, 05:20:04 AM
There's an early work called 'Larch Trees' I think which shows some VW influence.
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: Mirror Image on April 30, 2016, 05:32:28 AM
I think that Mahler is the most obvious influence on Arnold with the juxtaposition of the serious and grotesque/banal material. I consider this an asset and part of Arnold's appeal.

Exactly and he's not unlike Shostakovich or Schnittke in this regard either.
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: vandermolen on April 30, 2016, 05:39:50 AM
Exactly and he's not unlike Shostakovich or Schnittke in this regard either.
Very much agree. Thinking about it I agree that Sibelius and Walton (whom Arnold was friends with) were also influences but Mahler stands out most.
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: Mirror Image on April 30, 2016, 05:44:30 AM
Very much agree. Thinking about it I agree that Sibelius and Walton (whom Arnold was friends with) were also influences but Mahler stands out most.

Speaking of the Sibelius influence, I was listening to Symphony No. 2 last night and was awestruck by some of these Sibelian musical passages that reminded me of Sibelius' own symphonies. I hear a minimal Walton influence, though. I read that Arnold also cited Berlioz as an influence. I think Arnold was quite aware of the music of other composers, but, like any good composer, he just found his own avenue and pursued it relentlessly.
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold [1921-2006]
Post by: Mirror Image on April 30, 2016, 05:52:54 AM
However, Arnold was also a prolific composer of (very good!) chamber music - which only occasionally reflects a Mahlerian feel. I hear Jazz elements and also some English music house comedic influences, and I wonder how aware he was of Bliss, Bowen, Alwyn, Bax, et al - not so much to be influenced in his sound, but by the challenge of their extensive chamber works.  In a few pieces there is an impression of Rafe's influence.  And while it is sad that he had depression over much of his life, its influence on his composing is what gave his music his edge in a lot of ways.

This is certainly true. His chamber music speaks of a very different composer than what we're used to hearing in the orchestral works, especially the symphonies. More jazzy and perhaps even a bit of a Neoclassical feel to some of the music. For such a prolific composer, I'm amazed at the consistency in his oeuvre. His music never is reduced to mere note-spinning. There always seems to be some kind of ongoing narrative in the music.
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold [1921-2006]
Post by: Mirror Image on April 30, 2016, 06:55:22 AM
LPO–0013
© 2004 London Philharmonic Orchestra Ltd
Recorded live at the Royal Festival Hall, London, on 24 September 2004
Total playing time: 69:08
DDD Stereo
Released September 2006

(https://www.lpo.org.uk/recordings-and-gifts/index.php?option=com_tessitura_bridge&task=thumbnail&width=650&height=400&path=/images/merchandise/CD0013RIC.jpg) 



Oops!  Scrolling back to page 5 or so, I see that Vandermolen already covered this one.

I just bought this recording. Looking forward to hearing it.
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: relm1 on April 30, 2016, 06:59:36 AM
Being an innovator and having a unique compositional voice are two different things in my view. What I meant is that no one really sounds like Arnold. He didn't innovate anything and didn't need to --- he borrowed from popular music, folk music, and melded it all into a unique synthesis.

I agree with you.  It isn't so much that he "belongs in his own category" but that he falls in several categories in a distinct way.  Very, very few belong in their own category.
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: Mirror Image on April 30, 2016, 07:01:23 AM
I agree with you.  It isn't so much that he "belongs in his own category" but that he falls in several categories in a distinct way.  Very, very few belong in their own category.

I suppose my comment was a bit 'over the top'. I certainly agree with your sentiments here.
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: vandermolen on April 30, 2016, 09:22:01 AM
Speaking of the Sibelius influence, I was listening to Symphony No. 2 last night and was awestruck by some of these Sibelian musical passages that reminded me of Sibelius' own symphonies. I hear a minimal Walton influence, though. I read that Arnold also cited Berlioz as an influence. I think Arnold was quite aware of the music of other composers, but, like any good composer, he just found his own avenue and pursued it relentlessly.
Totally agree.
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold [1921-2006]
Post by: vandermolen on April 30, 2016, 09:22:44 AM
I just bought this recording. Looking forward to hearing it.
Am sure you'll really like it. Let us know what you think. :)
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold [1921-2006] - Chamber joy
Post by: Scion7 on April 30, 2016, 09:30:05 AM
Oboe Quartet, Op.61 (1957)
Allegro non troppo-Allegretto-Vivace con brio
Written for Leon Goossens on the occasion of his 60th birthday - first perfoimance: Cambridge, University Music School, 2 May 1957 by Leon Goossens (oboe) and the Carter String Trio - wasn't published until 1966.

Another schizophrenic piece - the opening is light, airy - the 2nd movement is strange and mysterious and could be the soundtrack for filling Dracula's boxes with his native earth  - the Vivace has a melody that stays with you and is a sort of 'Pied Piper' dance.  A real provocative work due to its veering from one course to another.



String Quartet No.1, Op.23  (1949)
Allegro commodo - Vivace - Andante- Lento - Tempo primo - Allegro con spirito



A serious work throughout - very modernistic, but not as aggressive as some - the technique does not venture into Bartok String Quartet 3 or 4 territory.

String Quartet No.2, Op.118  (1975)
Allegro - Maestoso con molto rubato, Allegro vivace - Andante - Allegretto, Vivace, Lento



Dedication: Hugh Maguire   First perfoimance: Dublin, the Castle, 9 June 1976, by the Allegri String Quartet

More melodic, less extreme than the first quartet.  The 2nd movement reminds me of the Bach sonatas for violin.  The last movement changes gears a couple of times with some nice plucking in the Vivace.  The only slight disappointment was in the third movement - seemed a bit aimless to these ears. Another very serious work.

Phantasy for String Quartet 'Vita Abundans'  (1941)



Nicely constructed, with an ascending scale overlaid with an almost Indian-sounding motif. Won 2nd place in the 1941 W.W. Cobbett prize for composition.
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: André on April 30, 2016, 12:00:42 PM
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51CCKHERZ9L.jpg)

First listen ever to the concerto for two pianos (three hands) which seems to be on many a compilation. Once again Arnold confounds by making sounds that remind one of MacDowell, Ravel, Gershwin, but that could never come from another hand than... Arnold

Too bad Sony did not retain the (beautiful) original jackets from the Conifer discs.

I just ordered these, my interest in Arnold being rekindled by this discussion:

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/613JigbE4VL.jpg)
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/91uW82Gs%2BeL._SX522_.jpg)
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/81jOblGOhpS._SX522_PJautoripBadge,BottomRight,4,-40_OU11__.jpg)

I have these works already (plus the Naxos set), but Arnold, like VW is a major composer who deserves exposure and warrants duplication.

Is the Chandos Hickox box set recommended ?
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: Scion7 on April 30, 2016, 12:44:08 PM
^ Yes, those are ugly covers - ugh.
At least the British Composers series are dignified visually.  I have that set, too.
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold [1921-2006] - fine cuisine
Post by: Scion7 on April 30, 2016, 06:09:52 PM
Listening to the Organ Concerto, and making grilled mesquite chicken sandwiches on toasted sesame seed buns with 4-blend Mexican shredded (melted) cheese, lettuce, tomato, and mayo.  Yarm yarm yarm nom nom nom.  :)   I worked hard in the yard today - I deserve them.
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold [1921-2006]
Post by: Mirror Image on April 30, 2016, 07:14:13 PM
Am sure you'll really like it. Let us know what you think. :)

Will do, my friend. 8)

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51CCKHERZ9L.jpg)

First listen ever to the concerto for two pianos (three hands) which seems to be on many a compilation. Once again Arnold confounds by making sounds that remind one of MacDowell, Ravel, Gershwin, but that could never come from another hand than... Arnold

Too bad Sony did not retain the (beautiful) original jackets from the Conifer discs.

I just ordered these, my interest in Arnold being rekindled by this discussion:

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/613JigbE4VL.jpg)
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/91uW82Gs%2BeL._SX522_.jpg)
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/81jOblGOhpS._SX522_PJautoripBadge,BottomRight,4,-40_OU11__.jpg)

I have these works already (plus the Naxos set), but Arnold, like VW is a major composer who deserves exposure and warrants duplication.

Is the Chandos Hickox box set recommended ?

(Wipes drool from mouth and goes searching Amazon...)

Is the Chandos set recommendable? Absolutely, although I haven't heard the Gamba performances of Symphonies 7-9 yet. Hickox's performances are very fine IMHO.
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: Mirror Image on April 30, 2016, 08:17:31 PM
I received the Complete Conifer Recordings set today and I'm looking forward to digging into everything this box set has to offer. It must be said that I do own the original Conifer releases of Handley's cycle (w/ those cool looking covers), but one reason I bought this set was 1. to have Handley's cycle in remastered sound and 2. to have access to a lot of other recordings that have been OOP for years. I suppose a third reason would be the price was right. Hard to pass it up. It's funny that these cheap budget box sets end up being worth a good bit once they go OOP, which, without a doubt in my mind, will happen sooner or later.
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: vandermolen on April 30, 2016, 10:46:15 PM
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51CCKHERZ9L.jpg)

First listen ever to the concerto for two pianos (three hands) which seems to be on many a compilation. Once again Arnold confounds by making sounds that remind one of MacDowell, Ravel, Gershwin, but that could never come from another hand than... Arnold

Too bad Sony did not retain the (beautiful) original jackets from the Conifer discs.

I just ordered these, my interest in Arnold being rekindled by this discussion:

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/613JigbE4VL.jpg)
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/91uW82Gs%2BeL._SX522_.jpg)
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/81jOblGOhpS._SX522_PJautoripBadge,BottomRight,4,-40_OU11__.jpg)

I have these works already (plus the Naxos set), but Arnold, like VW is a major composer who deserves exposure and warrants duplication.

Is the Chandos Hickox box set recommended ?
Those are amongst my favourite Arnold discs Andre, especially the two conducted by Arnold himself. It includes my favourite recording of Symphony 1 (much longer than other versions) and Symphony 5 is the version I grew up with. EMI issued a double CD set including Arnold conducting symphonies 1 and 5 and an older recording of him conducting Symphony 2 (instead of Groves). I love the double piano concerto too, which is great fun as well as serious.  :)

Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold (1921-2006)
Post by: Scion7 on May 01, 2016, 08:18:06 AM
"Toy" Symphony, Op.62 (1957)  -- this was written for children/children's orchestra?  I listened to it on YouTube - can't say I like it.

Fantasy on a Theme of John Field, Op.116 (1975) - ah, this is more like it.   :)

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/61zSh82%2BuTL.jpg)

Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: vandermolen on May 01, 2016, 09:15:33 PM
"Toy" Symphony, Op.62 (1957)  -- this was written for children/children's orchestra?  I listened to it on YouTube - can't say I like it.

Fantasy on a Theme of John Field, Op.116 (1975) - ah, this is more like it.   :)

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/61zSh82%2BuTL.jpg)


That is an excellent disc.
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: Scion7 on May 01, 2016, 11:42:49 PM
H.R.H.The Duke of Cambridge, Op.60  (1957)
       March for Military Band 

Written to celebrate the Royal Military School of Music's centenaiy in 1957.
Dedication: Lt.-Co. David McBain
First perfoimance:   Twickenham, Kneller Hall, 28 June 1957
Band of tlie RMSM (Kneller Hall), conducted by Rodney Bashford

(http://s32.postimg.org/r6hr171d1/Irish_Guards.jpg)

The only Malcolm Arnold track on the LP / CD.
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold [1921-2006]
Post by: Scion7 on May 02, 2016, 01:20:27 AM
Concerto for 28 Players, Op.105  (1970)
Vivace-Larghetto-Allegro
Commissioned by the Stuyvesant Foundation
First performance: London, Queen Elizabeth Hall, 25 April 1970.
English Chamber Orchestra, conducted by Malcolm Arnold

Excellent composition-the Vivace has a modernistic tune that reminded me in parts of the soundtrack-theme for "Patton" and there are some nice soft-loud dynamics; the Larghetto is strong in the strings, and the Allegro is a gallop and a march tune, but then the tempo slows drastically down.  I'm starting to think the Vivace may be one of the best things he ever did?


Variations for Orchestra on a Theme of Ruth Gipps, Op.122  (1977)
Introduction and Theme: Allegro moderato-Variation I: Vivace-Variation II: Alla marcia-Variation III: Lento-Variation IV: Vivace-Variation V: Allegretto-Variation VI (Finale): Maestoso
First perfoimance:   London, Queen Elizabeth Hall, 22 February 1978.
Chanticleer Orchestra, conducted by Ruth Gipps

Powerful work with lots of chromaticism and dynamics.  I hope Ms. Gipps appreciated it.  8)


Little Suite no.3 (A Manx Suite), Op.142   (1990)
Allegretto-Allegro-Allegretto-Lento-Allegretto
Commissioned by: Department of Education for the Manx Youth Orchestra under the
patronage of the Isle of Man Bank Ltd in celebration of the Bank's 125th anniversary
First perfoimance:   Douglas (IoM), Villa Marina, 8 December 1990.
Manx Youth Orchestra, conducted by Malcolm Arnold

Much more light-weight - it's a pleasant time-passer (or waster).  It's possible I've heard this before on a Classical station and it just never stuck.  There are much worse things for a school orchestra to be spending time on.


Little Suite Nr.2, Op,78    (1962)
Overture (Allegro moderato)-Ballad (Andantino)-Dance (Vivace)
Written for the Fainham Festival
First perfoimance: Famham, Parish Church, 13 May 1963.
Combined orchestra of Farnham Grammar School and Tiffin
School, conducted by Dennis Bloodworm First London: Royal Festival Hall, 15 May 1964.
London Junior and Senior Orchestras, conducted by Oliver Broome

The first movement is sort of dispensable, the Ballad is nice, the Dance moves along but not a lot to it.


Little Suite Nr.1, Op.53  (1948)
Prelude: Maestoso-Dance: Allegretto-March: Allegro con brio
In 1955, Arnold renamed "To Youth" (Written for the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain) to  "Little Suite No. 1 (for orchestra)" which became Opus 53, with the central movement retitled Dance (Allegretto)

More "Arnold lite" - I like the 3rd movement more than the first two.

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51WZRlmtMVL.jpg)

Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold [1921-2006]
Post by: Scion7 on May 02, 2016, 03:08:41 AM
On YT, there is a live recording of A Grand Grand Overture, Op.57 for organ, 3 vacuum cleaners, fluteoor polisher, 4 riflutees & orchestra, (1956) - with Arnold conducting the Hoffnung (alias Morley College) Symphony Orchestra in-concert.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QZ0xAOlzYZE

A studio version with better acoustics but not as much 'spirit'  -  along with other fine overtures like A Sussex Overture, Opus 31, and The Smoke, Op.21.  An alternative to the Arnold Overtures (Reference Recordings) disc -->

(http://s32.postimg.org/5q071dkyt/smaller_Covers.jpg)

Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold [1921-2006]
Post by: vandermolen on May 02, 2016, 03:56:10 AM
On YT, there is a live recording of A Grand Grand Overture, Op.57 for organ, 3 vacuum cleaners, fluteoor polisher, 4 riflutees & orchestra, (1956) - with Arnold conducting the Hoffnung (alias Morley College) Symphony Orchestra in-concert.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QZ0xAOlzYZE

A studio version with better acoustics but not as much 'spirit'  -  along with other fine overtures like A Sussex Overture, Opus 31, and The Smoke, Op.21.  An alternative to the Arnold Overtures (Reference Recordings) disc -->

(http://s32.postimg.org/5q071dkyt/smaller_Covers.jpg)


Following discussions here have just ordered the Chandos disc.
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold (1921-2006) - Safety Dance
Post by: Scion7 on May 02, 2016, 02:54:25 PM
4 Scottish Dances, Op.59  (1957)

My fave rave-up of all the dances - the LPO and Arnold are excellent.

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/71tRykuPt4L._SX522_.jpg)




4 Welsh Dances, Op.138  (1989)
4 Irish Dances, Op.126  (1988)
4 Cornish Dances, Op.91  (1968)
English Dances, set 1, Op.27  (1950)
English Dances, set 2, Op.33  (1951)

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/711vPiW35rL._SX522_.jpg)



Penny is an alternative, but personally I think the Arnold/LPO set on Lyrita is better recorded and has the better performances, and it sounds like everyone was having a smashing good time.
All the dances are very tuneful and exciting - the contrast between them and his three "Little Suites" for orchestra is striking.
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: André on May 02, 2016, 03:08:42 PM
Listening to this:

(http://cps-static.rovicorp.com/3/JPG_400/MI0000/953/MI0000953955.jpg?partner=allrovi.com)

The first movement is labeled 'Energico'. And yet the atmosphere is that of suspense, unease, anguish even. What a composition !

Following the listening of this set, and before I listen to the incoming (*) Hickox one, I'll revisit the Penney on Naxos. I have extremely fond memories of it.

(*) Incoming: in my mailbox, that is. It's not new, just that I've ordered it this week.  ;D
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: vandermolen on May 02, 2016, 09:53:54 PM
Listening to this:

(http://cps-static.rovicorp.com/3/JPG_400/MI0000/953/MI0000953955.jpg?partner=allrovi.com)

The first movement is labeled 'Energico'. And yet the atmosphere is that of suspense, unease, anguish even. What a composition !

Following the listening of this set, and before I listen to the incoming (*) Hickox one, I'll revisit the Penney on Naxos. I have extremely fond memories of it.

(*) Incoming: in my mailbox, that is. It's not new, just that I've ordered it this week.  ;D
It was this CD which alerted me to how good Symphony 6 was. Following that I noted its use in a disturbing sequence in a film about Arnold to illustrate his mental breakdown.
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: Sergeant Rock on May 02, 2016, 10:08:57 PM
Listening to this:

(http://cps-static.rovicorp.com/3/JPG_400/MI0000/953/MI0000953955.jpg?partner=allrovi.com)

It was this CD which alerted me to how good Symphony 6 was.

That was my first Arnold CD. I didn't buy it specifically for the Symphony, though, but rather Tam O'Shanter, the first Arnold piece I ever heard. It was on a LP of overtures borrowed from the library when I was a teen. The record came with a conductor's baton! Great fun, great listen.

Sarge
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold (1921-2006)
Post by: Scion7 on May 03, 2016, 12:25:47 AM
Now - this is a little strange:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QL6E9y9llz8

The Fantasy for Audience and Orchestra, Op.106  (1970) 

- there is some very attractive instrumental passages - but mixed in with this silly audience participation singing that horrid little tune - ugh.  ???  Commissioned by the BBC - it remains unpublished - and this is the first and only (?) performance - First performance: London, Royal Albert Hall, 12 September 1970.
BBC Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Colin Davis.
Rule Britannia . . . I would have had to have had a few to get into this in 1970 - far too the serious young man. Bizarre.  :-\
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold (1921-2006)
Post by: Scion7 on May 03, 2016, 03:14:38 AM
The piano music is not comparable with his other work, although none of it is terrible.
The Piano Sonata (1942)  and the Three Pieces (1943) show how much improved the Three Fantasies, Op.129 (1986) [dedicated to Eileen Gilroy] are.

The Three Pieces (1937) would be a good break between heavy/serious pieces by other composers at a piano recital - they are light and melodic and very short.

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51tXwhAncyL.jpg)

Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold (1921-2006) - Fantasy odds 'n' ends
Post by: Scion7 on May 03, 2016, 01:23:16 PM
Fantasies:

Fantasy for Solo Bassoon, Op.86   (1966)
Fantasy for B flat Clarinet, Op.87  (1966)
Fantasy for Flute, Op.89   (1966)
Fantasy for Oboe solo, Op.90  (1966)
Nice stuff, these short pieces sound like they were written for students - the Clarinet fantasy is a little more profound.
 
Fantasy for Horn, Op.88   (1966)
Fantasy for Bb Trumpet, Op.100  (1969)
Fantasy for Trombone, Op.101   (1969)
Fantasy for Tuba, Op.102  (1969)
These are all well-written and fun. They are collected with other longer pieces on the Nimbus set of Arnold brass works. The trumpet fantasy is especially well-written - Arnold's instrument!

Fantasy for Guitar, Op.107   (1971)
A serious work of about twelve minutes long, divided into: Prélude-Scherzo-Arietta-Fughetta-Arietta-March-Postlude
It was dedicated to guitarist Julian Bream, who premiered it at Queen Elizabeth Hall, London, in May 1971.
Introspective.

The Fantasy for Harp, Op.117  (1975) is something different. 
  I. Lament 
  II. March 
  III. Nocturne 
  IV. Scherzo
This is dedicated to Osian Ellis, and was first performed by him in January 1976 in London.
Clocking in at about eleven minutes, this is a serious work. Played as a continuous movement,
the opening is beautiful and the piece works its way through a variety of somber moods.
This has a fantastic nocturne segment.  Why some critics said Arnold didn't show emotion is unfathomable after hearing a piece like this.  It might be successful as a transcription for piano - but it would have to be carefully done.

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/517JvHRcCTL.jpg)

Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold (1921-2006)
Post by: Scion7 on May 04, 2016, 02:16:32 PM
What do you think about the Harmonica Concerto, Op.46  (1954)? 
Grazioso-Mesto-Con brio
1954

This is an instrument which is very rarely found in a classical music composition.

Critic Ivan March, back in 1994,  stated in Gramophone:

"Malcolm Arnold work, one of this composer's best miniature concertos, written in 1954 for the BBC Proms, is very appealing too. The music is exuberantly melodic in the manner of the English Dances-Arnold was a happier man then and could conjure up brass whoops with confident panache-the orchestra most effectively scored (minus woodwind) to give the soloist a strong, reedy profile. The Mesto centre-piece excludes strings; it is unexpectedly dirge-like, with dark brass sonorities and percussion providing a sombre accompaniment. The mood lightens wittily and irrepressibly in the spirited Con brio finale, which has another unforgettable swinging melody floating over a rocking bass rhythm."

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51M3d15-ApL._SX450_.jpg)   (http://s32.postimg.org/obiheqgo5/sm_Harm_Con_Vinyl.jpg)
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: André on May 05, 2016, 09:40:28 AM
Never heard of the Harmonica Concerto. I couldn't find any reference to it on Amazon.

Meanwhile, listening to the Clarinet # 2, Horn # 1, Flute # 2 concertos and Piano Duet concertos.
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold (1921-2006) re: harmonica concerto
Post by: Scion7 on May 05, 2016, 11:08:27 AM
Never heard of the Harmonica Concerto. I couldn't find any reference to it on Amazon..

The back cover was posted above, with the RCA vinyl LP cover of a different recording.



Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: André on May 05, 2016, 03:21:28 PM
Thanks, Scion !
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: vandermolen on May 05, 2016, 09:52:03 PM
I have the Harmonica Concerto on a great old RCA LP with Larry Adler and Morton Gould conducting:
http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/SB-6786-LARRY-ADLER-Plays-Arnold-Bengamin-Vaughan-Williams-Ex-LP-Record-/301848825949
Pity it's never been on CD. I listened to the Chandos Arnold Ballet music CD yesterday which I enjoyed, especially 'Elektra' which is a very dark work indeed (as is appropriate), reminiscent of the sound-world of Symphony 7. I also liked the Suite 'Homage to the Queen' which is, also appropriately, in a more popular style.
The Arnold Harmonica Concerto was also on a BBC Radio Classics CD which is still very cheap online:
https://www.amazon.co.uk/BBC-Radio-Classics-Imperial-Harmonica/dp/B000026G78/ref=sr_1_1?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1462514857&sr=1-1&keywords=Harmonica+BBC+radio+classics
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: vandermolen on May 06, 2016, 06:12:54 AM
Just listened to the Guitar Concerto for the First time (Bream/Rattle/EMI). What a wonderful work, very restrained (for Arnold) eloquent and poetic. I enjoyed the Takemitsu coupling too. Many thanks for the recommendations here for the Arnold Guitar Concerto.
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold (1921-2006)
Post by: Scion7 on May 06, 2016, 07:42:09 AM

Concerto for Flute and String Orchestra No.1, Op.45  (1954)

(https://img.discogs.com/5CDXFSfO-jkiPQjM2vuF3kqc90Q=/fit-in/600x597/filters:strip_icc():format(jpeg):mode_rgb():quality(90)/discogs-images/R-5348599-1391177487-3733.jpeg.jpg)  (https://img.discogs.com/PMKeeKH4zX7JSZNe9iI503sUAV8=/fit-in/600x466/filters:strip_icc():format(jpeg):mode_rgb():quality(90)/discogs-images/R-5348599-1391177510-7720.jpeg.jpg)

Tuneful 10 minutes.   :)
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: André on May 06, 2016, 03:33:43 PM
Symphony no 9, second movement, starting at 1:00. The theme is almost that of Juliet in Prokofiev's ballet. Hard to miss: it is developed at length in the rest of the movement. BTW this is labeled 'Allegretto'. And yet it unolds slowly and almost sadly.
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: Mirror Image on May 06, 2016, 03:52:23 PM
Symphony no 9, second movement, starting at 1:00. The theme is almost that of Juliet in Prokofiev's ballet. Hard to miss: it is developed at length in the rest of the movement. BTW this is labeled 'Allegretto'. And yet it unolds slowly and almost sadly.

...and is absolutely gorgeous.
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: André on May 06, 2016, 04:25:58 PM
Indeed. It is heart-rendingly beautiful. And the last movement (Lento) is absolutely shattering by its calm resignation, its refusal to shake heavens, its low dynamic marks - it practically never rises above mf, its ghostly countenance. It's a miracle that Arnold found the guts to utter the serene last chord.
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: Mirror Image on May 06, 2016, 05:01:52 PM
Indeed. It is heart-rendingly beautiful. And the last movement (Lento) is absolutely shattering by its calm resignation, its refusal to shake heavens, its low dynamic marks - it practically never rises above mf, its ghostly countenance. It's a miracle that Arnold found the guts to utter the serene last chord.

...then there's the last movement. 8) I agree with every word you wrote above (of course). Resignation both spiritually and emotionally seems to be the main undercurrent in Arnold's 9th.
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: vandermolen on May 06, 2016, 10:22:36 PM
...then there's the last movement. 8) I agree with every word you wrote above (of course). Resignation both spiritually and emotionally seems to be the main undercurrent in Arnold's 9th.
Very much agree with you and Andre.
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: Christo on May 07, 2016, 10:56:15 AM
Very much agree with you and Andre.
+1
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: relm1 on May 17, 2016, 04:10:27 PM
Right now listening to this:

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51ETZTZS90L.jpg)

Arnold's First symphony - already jolly and sarcastic in I, quietly anguished and enigmatic in II, etc.

And his 5th, possibly his most 'popular' work in the genre. As with Beethoven, Mahler, Prokofiev, Tchaikovsky, Shostakovich: a 'people's symphony'.

I finally received this CD (took like a month to get!) and found it relevatory.  It makes me need to hear more.  There is a wonderful and unique combination of wistfulness, tunefulness, edginess, and melancholy but all mixed with taught dramatic craftiness.   The music is nowhere near as simple as I thought on first listening years ago.  Arnold is very unique but also familiar and I am actively seeking out more.
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: vandermolen on May 17, 2016, 11:07:00 PM
I finally received this CD (took like a month to get!) and found it relevatory.  It makes me need to hear more.  There is a wonderful and unique combination of wistfulness, tunefulness, edginess, and melancholy but all mixed with taught dramatic craftiness.   The music is nowhere near as simple as I thought on first listening years ago.  Arnold is very unique but also familiar and I am actively seeking out more.
It's a great CD - fine performances of my two favourite Arnold symphonies. They are all excellent but my favourites are the odd numbered ones + the disturbing No.6. Also worth hearing Arnold's own ultra slow version of No.1.
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: André on May 20, 2016, 10:45:36 AM
reposted from the 'What are you listening to?' thread.


(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/41DRy0vg%2BNL.jpg)

Symphony no 9, with Andrew Penny. Last time I heard it, earlier this month, it was the Handley version. I'm not sure which one is more to my taste. Every time I hear this extraordinary work I fall in a trance and forget aount mundane considerations such as playing and interpretation. Of course this is made even harder by the fact that this is 'difficult' music, by which I mean it is by some margin his most profound score, exploring as it does all the facets of his style - doleful, disquieting, achingly sad, jolly, sarcastic, biting - to a degree previously firmly kept in check.

(reposted in the Malcolm Arnold thread)
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: Mirror Image on May 20, 2016, 06:44:38 PM
As I mentioned several times, for me, the 9th is more about resignation and 'throwing in the towel' which is, essentially, Arnold's bowing out of this existence and perhaps his last word on where he stands in his own life. The Penny performance is still my favorite even after I heard Gamba and Handley.
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: Maestro267 on September 23, 2016, 12:19:54 AM
Today (September 23rd) marks the 10th anniversary of Arnold's passing. I'll spin something in his honour today.
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: vandermolen on September 23, 2016, 01:32:14 AM
Today (September 23rd) marks the 10th anniversary of Arnold's passing. I'll spin something in his honour today.
Me too. Thanks for mentioning this significant anniversary.
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: cilgwyn on September 23, 2016, 03:15:00 AM
I'm going to have to put on the Ninth again later after reading these posts!
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: Maestro267 on September 23, 2016, 06:29:24 AM
As I write, I'm about halfway through the Lento finale of the Ninth Symphony. It's taken me a while, but now I see how powerful this work really is, despite it's apparent sparsity. Written in 1986, so this work has been with us (albeit for its initial years just as notes on Arnold's manuscript paper) for 30 years this year.
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: André on September 23, 2016, 10:25:51 AM
I'll go for something cheerful and typically arnoldian: his Guitar Concerto.
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: vandermolen on September 23, 2016, 10:34:43 AM
Like Andre, I've gone for some lighter Arnold. This CD (should the picture appear) that I bought as it was a gap in my OCD CD Arnold collection. It is, in point of fact, a charming disc and features a lovely note from Arnold himself in the booklet:
'Hearing these Robert Irving recordings once more is like meeting an old and well-loved friend for, although they are now reaching middle age , they sound as fresh as they did some 40 years ago [Arnold wrote this in 1996], when I sat in the studio and heard Robert [Irving] and the wonderful Philharmonia play my compositions.'

Also included is Arnold conducting his movie score for 'The Sound Barrier' - a lovely disc.

Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: Sergeant Rock on September 23, 2016, 10:52:10 AM
As I write, I'm about halfway through the Lento finale of the Ninth Symphony. It's taken me a while, but now I see how powerful this work really is, despite it's apparent sparsity.

It has grown in my estimation too. The last time I listened to Arnold's complete symphony cycle, I ranked it dead last. Hearing it again today (in memoriam), I can't understand why I didn't appreciate it more. It's a masterpiece, no doubt.

Sarge
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: SymphonicAddict on March 03, 2017, 05:50:18 PM
In my marathon of symphonies of many composers, the turn was now for Malcolm Arnold. The cycle of symphonies of Naxos is absolutely astounding!!! This is the kind of music and symphonies that I enjoy more. Definitely, the best symphony is the 5th, one of the greatest British symphonies ever. Also I liked a lot the 3rd, 4th, 7th and 8th, but all 9 are excellent, without any exception.
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: André on March 04, 2017, 04:49:47 PM
I concur with your assessment.

For 1, 3, 4 and 5 as well as the Symphonic Dances and the Overtures I suggest a listen to Arnold's own recordings. Absolutely fascinating (and very well recorded). Arnold as conductor is uniformly slower than others in his own music, sometimes startlingly so. He is not afraid to underline the dark currents that go through his works.
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: SymphonicAddict on March 04, 2017, 07:48:47 PM
I concur with your assessment.

For 1, 3, 4 and 5 as well as the Symphonic Dances and the Overtures I suggest a listen to Arnold's own recordings. Absolutely fascinating (and very well recorded). Arnold as conductor is uniformly slower than others in his own music, sometimes startlingly so. He is not afraid to underline the dark currents that go through his works.

I'll try to get some recordings you're talking about  :)
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: vandermolen on March 05, 2017, 01:48:58 AM
This is a very nice set:


It's ridiculously expensive on Amazon.com but cheaper on Amazon.UK
Andre is right that Arnold conducts his own powerful First Symphony, which is possibly my favourite, much slower than any other version. The cycles on Naxos, Chandos and the Vernon Handley set are all good.
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: cilgwyn on August 10, 2017, 03:04:15 AM
I finally got around to buying ths cd. I've had it on my sights for ages. I must say,the performance of the Sixth is first class. Preferable to the Hickox recording,which was the only one I had. Although,I did have an off-air tape once! This is my favourite Arnold symphony. The fifth was my favourite until I heard the Sixth. I happen to think that his Sixth is a marvellous symphony. I feel it assimilates popular and serious concert music even more successfully (and concisely!) than the Fifth. My favourite recording of the latter being Arnold's own emi recording. I also like all the other pieces on this Conifer cd. I love his Fantasy on a theme of John Field,and well remember,taping it off the radio. A lovely and very imaginative piece of music. The Sweeney Todd Suite is fun,and Tam O' Shanter too!! A wonderful selection,and a truly fantastic cd! I like the eye catching artwork,too! Very nice,indeed! Incidentally,I have a 2cd of orchestral works by the American composer,George Chadwick;and I think his Tam O'Shanter Overture is very fine,too. In fact,I actually think it's probably even finer;and in a fair world,imho,it would be a popular choice in concerts around the world. By the way,I think Chadwicks best music is very good,indeed. Imaginative,colourfully orchestrated. It deserves better than it gets! (Like Arnold at his best!) 

(http://i.imgur.com/1JOZQXW.jpg)
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: relm1 on August 10, 2017, 06:05:24 AM
I finally got around to buying ths cd. I've had it on my sights for ages. I must say,the performance of the Sixth is first class. Preferable to the Hickox recording,which was the only one I had. Although,I did have an off-air tape once! This is my favourite Arnold symphony. The fifth was my favourite until I heard the Sixth. I happen to think that his Sixth is a marvellous symphony. I feel it assimilates popular and serious concert music even more successfully (and concisely!) than the Fifth. My favourite recording of the latter being Arnold's own emi recording. I also like all the other pieces on this Conifer cd. I love his Fantasy on a theme of John Field,and well remember,taping it off the radio. A lovely and very imaginative piece of music. The Sweeney Todd Suite is fun,and Tam O' Shanter too!! A wonderful selection,and a truly fantastic cd! I like the eye catching artwork,too! Very nice,indeed! Incidentally,I have a 2cd of orchestral works by the American composer,George Chadwick;and I think his Tam O'Shanter Overture is very fine,too. In fact,I actually think it's probably even finer;and in a fair world,imho,it would be a popular choice in concerts around the world. By the way,I think Chadwicks best music is very good,indeed. Imaginative,colourfully orchestrated. It deserves better than it gets! (Like Arnold at his best!) 

(http://i.imgur.com/1JOZQXW.jpg)

This entire series is first rate.  I do prefer Malcolm's own conducting on No. 4 and 1 though but these are all good and this particular CD is thoroughly wonderful.
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: cilgwyn on August 10, 2017, 08:58:10 AM
After listening to Vernon Handley'magnificent recording of Arnold's eighth and Seventh Symphonies I've put this Chandos set on. I find Hickox's interpretations of the symphonies a tad bland. Therefore I'm pleased to react positively to Rumon Gamba's Seventh. He takes the faster sections very fast indeed!! ??? In fact,in his hands they seem quite manic. I like the rest of the performance,too. An exciting performance with spectacular sound quality adding to the drama. I still prefer Handley;but this is very good. I think it's a pity he didn't get to record the earlier ones,on this basis.........although,he did,for the BBC! I downloaded off-air recordings of some of them at the Art Music Forum. Unfortunately (or fortunately?!) Arnold's own recordings of some of his symphonies,understandably,grabbed my attention;after finding them on Youtube. I'll have a listen to Gamba's recordings of 5 & 6,when I have the time! The eighth next. Not a favourite. I DO like the way it begins (that tune). I'm just not sure the invention is as consistent,throughout, as it is in some of his earlier symphonies. Anyway,another listen now! The controversial Ninth,I find strangely absorbing. Although,I need to listen to that one a bit more,before I can really make my mind up.

(http://i.imgur.com/nY3zEhv.jpg)
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: cilgwyn on August 10, 2017, 09:01:55 AM
I can remember listening to a programme on Radio 3,back in the eighties (?) about Arnold's symphonies. Several of them had yet to receive a commercial recording. I remember being intrigued by all the descriptions of the symphonies,with their assimilation of popular music. The stuff about No's 4 (Notting Hill,exotic sounding percussion!) No 6 (Charlie Parker!) and No 7 (Irish music,The Chieftains!!) was particularly mouth watering!! ??? ;D I kept thinking.....what do they sound like?!! ::) ;D
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: Christo on August 10, 2017, 10:04:53 AM
Therefore I'm pleased to react positively to Rumon Gamba's Seventh. He takes the faster sections very fast indeed!! ??? In fact,in his hands they seem quite manic.
Did you hear Arnold conducting his Seventh (as a download from the Unsung or Art-Music forum? Much, IIRC well up to ten minutes, slower.  ???
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: cilgwyn on August 10, 2017, 10:39:12 AM
No,I haven't. I recently downloaded allot of files from there,avoiding some of the older ones,that often seemed to be in poor sound. However,after listening to Arnold's performances,with the BC Northern SO,on Youtube,I enjoyed his Fourth which was in poor sound (but listenable) by the extremely hi-tech trick of increasing the bass on my mini hi-fi!! ;D After listening to Handley and Gamba,whose tempi really did surprise me,when I first heard his recording;hearing Malcolm Arnold conducting a super slow version is a definite must!! Indeed,I have just downloaded it! I prefer to listen on a cd player;so I will wait until I get some more cdr-s,before I listen to it. I need to transfer a pile of 1966 BBC Studio recording of G & S operettas,so that will happen soon!
(I have just visited the AMF and downloaded the file,now). Is Arnold's performance of his Seventh on a par with his controversial Lyrita Fourth,I wonder? I can't wait to hear it!!

I am really warming to Gamba's Seventh. I prefer Handley;but I think his fast tempi do work for me. I remember when I first put his recording on,thinking,"Whoa,that's fast!" But I think it's an interesting and exciting performance. As to the Hickox performances. I think Hickox was a very fine conductor. That said,I find his performances of Arnold's symphonies a tad bland. I wish I could say otherwise!
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: vandermolen on August 10, 2017, 02:44:14 PM
I finally got around to buying ths cd. I've had it on my sights for ages. I must say,the performance of the Sixth is first class. Preferable to the Hickox recording,which was the only one I had. Although,I did have an off-air tape once! This is my favourite Arnold symphony. The fifth was my favourite until I heard the Sixth. I happen to think that his Sixth is a marvellous symphony. I feel it assimilates popular and serious concert music even more successfully (and concisely!) than the Fifth. My favourite recording of the latter being Arnold's own emi recording. I also like all the other pieces on this Conifer cd. I love his Fantasy on a theme of John Field,and well remember,taping it off the radio. A lovely and very imaginative piece of music. The Sweeney Todd Suite is fun,and Tam O' Shanter too!! A wonderful selection,and a truly fantastic cd! I like the eye catching artwork,too! Very nice,indeed! Incidentally,I have a 2cd of orchestral works by the American composer,George Chadwick;and I think his Tam O'Shanter Overture is very fine,too. In fact,I actually think it's probably even finer;and in a fair world,imho,it would be a popular choice in concerts around the world. By the way,I think Chadwicks best music is very good,indeed. Imaginative,colourfully orchestrated. It deserves better than it gets! (Like Arnold at his best!) 

(http://i.imgur.com/1JOZQXW.jpg)
That CD with Symphony 6 is, I agree, terrific. I always thought that the odd numbered symphonies were the best but No.6 is an exception. There is an especially manic section which was used, very appropriately in my opinion, to illustrate Arnold's mental breakdown in the TV documentary about him. Tam O'Shanter Overture is great fun too. Altogether a great CD.
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: cilgwyn on August 11, 2017, 07:20:45 AM
I bought it,mainly,for the Sixth;but I like everything on it. I remember recording the wonderful John Field Fantasy off the radio. The Sweeney Todd Suite is great fun and the Tam O'Shanter Overture is Arnold at his tuneful,witty,imaginative best. The Sixth is my favourite Arnold symphony. I think it is very powerful,and the way Arnold assimilates popular music influences into his music is very clever indeed. The only other composer I can think of that has managed this as well is Morton Gould,in his third symphony;which is unfortunately,one of the few works to impress me by the,so called,'American Malcolm Arnold'. I do like his Latin American Symphonette,though (particularly his own recording,with the LSO) and he was a fine,and underrated conductor.

I listened to Rumon Gamba's recording of Malcolm Arnold's Ninth symphony,after listening to his recording of the Seventh,which I now like very much (although,Handley's is my favourite). I found the Ninth very absorbing,indeed. In fact,it is a real suprise after the eighth,and I think one of his most inspired and fascinating creations. I can't really see why it caused so much consternation? I think it is very impressive,indeed!
Out of curiosity,I listened to off-air BBC studio recordings of Rumon Gamba conducting Arnold's Fourth and Sixth Symphony. I feel he is much more attune to Arnold's idiom than Hickox;and I think it is a pity he didn't record the whole cycle for Chandos,instead. Handley is my favourite,though.

Christo asked me if I had heard Arnold conducting his Seventh Symphony? The answer was an unfortunate.No! Apparently,he is "well up to ten minutes slower". I looked in the Chandos booklet with the Rumon Gamba set of Symphonies 7-9. According to the timings I saw there,Arnold took just under one hour! Gamba,takes around (Where's the cd?!!) thirty one minutes! That means Arnold's account is nearly twice as long!!! ??? :o I just had to download this,after reading Christo's post. It is now on my pc. I hope to put it on a cd-r as soon as possible (for my personal use!). I enjoyed Arnold's accounts of No's 4,5 & 6,with the BBC Northern SO,last night. The Youtube derived (via Audacity) recording on my cd-r of the Fourth is poor;but a bit of bass on my mini hi-fi made for a fascinating and absorbing listen. I do wish Lyrita would release these recordings on cd. If they can give us George Lloyd conducting,these are certainly worthy of the same honour! The Fourth ,in particular,needs to be heard in better sound (if possible).
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: vandermolen on August 11, 2017, 01:00:39 PM
I bought it,mainly,for the Sixth;but I like everything on it. I remember recording the wonderful John Field Fantasy off the radio. The Sweeney Todd Suite is great fun and the Tam O'Shanter Overture is Arnold at his tuneful,witty,imaginative best. The Sixth is my favourite Arnold symphony. I think it is very powerful,and the way Arnold assimilates popular music influences into his music is very clever indeed. The only other composer I can think of that has managed this as well is Morton Gould,in his third symphony;which is unfortunately,one of the few works to impress me by the,so called,'American Malcolm Arnold'. I do like his Latin American Symphonette,though (particularly his own recording,with the LSO) and he was a fine,and underrated conductor.

I listened to Rumon Gamba's recording of Malcolm Arnold's Ninth symphony,after listening to his recording of the Seventh,which I now like very much (although,Handley's is my favourite). I found the Ninth very absorbing,indeed. In fact,it is a real suprise after the eighth,and I think one of his most inspired and fascinating creations. I can't really see why it caused so much consternation? I think it is very impressive,indeed!
Out of curiosity,I listened to off-air BBC studio recordings of Rumon Gamba conducting Arnold's Fourth and Sixth Symphony. I feel he is much more attune to Arnold's idiom than Hickox;and I think it is a pity he didn't record the whole cycle for Chandos,instead. Handley is my favourite,though.

Christo asked me if I had heard Arnold conducting his Seventh Symphony? The answer was an unfortunate.No! Apparently,he is "well up to ten minutes slower". I looked in the Chandos booklet with the Rumon Gamba set of Symphonies 7-9. According to the timings I saw there,Arnold took just under one hour! Gamba,takes around (Where's the cd?!!) thirty one minutes! That means Arnold's account is nearly twice as long!!! ??? :o I just had to download this,after reading Christo's post. It is now on my pc. I hope to put it on a cd-r as soon as possible (for my personal use!). I enjoyed Arnold's accounts of No's 4,5 & 6,with the BBC Northern SO,last night. The Youtube derived (via Audacity) recording on my cd-r of the Fourth is poor;but a bit of bass on my mini hi-fi made for a fascinating and absorbing listen. I do wish Lyrita would release these recordings on cd. If they can give us George Lloyd conducting,these are certainly worthy of the same honour! The Fourth ,in particular,needs to be heard in better sound (if possible).
What an interesting post! Have you heard Morton Gould's 'West Point Symphony' cilgwyn (No.4 I think)? It is an absolute hoot - especially in the Mercury recording. Arnold also takes much longer than anyone else in his underrated Symphony 1 - my favourite along with Nos 5 and 6. That Gamba set is very good indeed and I like your point that he should have recorded the whole cycle of symphonies.
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: cilgwyn on August 14, 2017, 02:07:06 PM
Has anyone picked this up? For these works, I only have the Decca box of the Handley Conifer recordings...

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/81QieLB-BpL._SL1500_.jpg)
I think I can just about see this cd artwork with my glasses off! ??? ;D
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: cilgwyn 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!

(http://i.imgur.com/Hc7C1ww.jpg)
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: relm1 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!

(http://i.imgur.com/Hc7C1ww.jpg)

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.
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: vandermolen 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.
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: cilgwyn 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.
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: cilgwyn 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.
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: cilgwyn 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! :(
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: bwv 1080 on August 16, 2017, 07:51:43 AM
This does not get played or recorded enough

https://www.youtube.com/v/3VFw6cvWV78
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: relm1 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. 
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: vandermolen 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.
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: cilgwyn 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! :)
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: cilgwyn 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!
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: vandermolen 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.
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: Christo 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.
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: vandermolen 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.
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: cilgwyn 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
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: cilgwyn 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
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: vandermolen 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
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: kyjo on October 22, 2017, 11:42:43 AM
Time to revive this thread. I finally finished listening to all the Arnold symphonies - surely one of the most underrated (if not necessarily consistent) symphonic cycles of the 20th century. Here are my impressions of each:

1: A fine work with a distinct Sibelius influence, if lacking the personality of his later works. My favorite part of the work by far is the grandiloquent, rather Waltonian ending section.

2: The outer movements are, to a considerable degree, the most positive and optimistic in Arnold's symphonic output and are reminiscent of his orchestral dances with their catchy tunes and bright orchestration. The mood darkens quite a bit in the two central movements, though. In this way, the work rather resembles Sibelius' own 2nd symphony. The scherzo, with its biting brass and percussion outbursts, brings to mind the demonic scherzi of the first symphonies of Walton and Bernstein. The slow movement is a grim funeral march that builds to a hair-raising climax. This movement foreshadows the more nightmarish passages in his 6th and 7th symphonies. Overall, a fantastic work which is surprisingly coherent.

3: This is the Arnold symphony I remember least well. It's not bad, I just didn't find it to be memorable.

4: A work which has many fine moments but rather fails to hang together for me. Of particular note is the "big tune" second theme of the first movement, which is unabashedly tonal and bears the imprint of pop music. There's some colorful and vaguely threatening percussion writing throughout the piece, but the mood never turns as dark as I had expected considering what it was supposedly inspired by (the Nottingham Hill race riots).

5: This is Arnold's masterpiece and one of the greatest symphonies of the 20th century IMO. The first movement, marked "tempestoso", is more mysterious than tempestuous, with haunting carillon-like passages contrasting with more aggressive ones. The second movement begins with a touching, Mahlerian melody. Whether it is sincere or ironic is up for debate it seems, but I prefer to view it as the former. Clouds eventually gather and the movement progresses towards a brutal climax, but dies back away to the tranquility of the opening. The scherzo's outer sections feature jazzy woodwind figurations over a walking bass line, and in the middle section a delightful, distinctly "pop" tune becomes the center of attention. The finale opens with a militaristic "call to arms", including a humorous recurring piccolo solo. The mood becomes increasingly more agitated until a glorious, "Hollywoodesque" reprise of the theme from the second movement occurs. Though it seems like a happy ending is in store, a stroke on the tubular bells is followed by a shattering E minor chord and the music plunges into the abyss, ending on a low E played by the cellos and basses with those deathly tolling bells in the background. This is perhaps the most devastating ending I know in classical music - it never fails to shock and disturb me. Richard Whitehouse, who wrote the notes for the Naxos recording of the 5th and 6th symphonies, describes the symphony as a "brilliantly successful study in aspiration and failure" and I completely agree.

6: There's a highly successful integration of "serious" and "popular" elements in this symphony, in particular. The first two movements have a shadowy, threatening feel. The second movement is notable for the jazzy drumbeat that breaks out towards the middle. The finale has a much more affirmative feeling, ending with a resounding A major coda. Somehow it feels incongruous to the first two movements.

7: Arnold's most disturbing symphony - even more so because each of the three movements was dedicated to one of his children. The first movement is a symphony in itself - it is aggressive and cataclysmic but there are also moments of romantic lyricism and grotesque parody. The cowbell plays a large role in this work - not as a symbol of pastoral tranquillity as in Mahler but rather one of terror. The second movement traverses a bleak, haunted landscape which we are led through by a despairing solo trombone. As in symphonies 2 and 5, this movement reaches a brutal climax. The finale is only slightly less disturbing, containing one section which sounds like a Celtic folk band.

8: This symphony gets off to a strong start, seeming to continue in the nightmarish vein of the 7th, however the mood becomes more introverted with the repetition of a solemn marching tune which becomes a bit tiresome after a while. The slow movement continues in the same reflective mood. As usual with Arnold, it is hard to pin down what the mood of the finale is - affirmative or ironic? After the gripping opening, I thought this symphony to be a bit disappointing.

9: The overall reflective mood of the 8th returns in the first two movements, but the textures are sparer and the ideas more haunting. The third movement is a classic Arnold scherzo with brilliant brass writing. But none of these movements prepares us for the profound utterance that is the nearly half-hour-long final Lento, which is an incredibly moving valedictory statement that finally comes to rest on an ethereal D major chord. Has Arnold finally found peace?

In order of preference, I'd rank them like so: 5, 2, 7, 9, 4, 6, 1, 8, 3
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: Sergeant Rock on October 22, 2017, 12:16:38 PM
I'd rank them like so: 5, 2, 7, 9, 4, 6, 1, 8, 3

For me: 5, 4, 2, 1, 8, 6, 9, 3, 7

I wish I liked 7 more but so far, nope. I'll give it another try soon.

Sarge
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: kyjo on October 22, 2017, 01:10:19 PM
For me: 5, 4, 2, 1, 8, 6, 9, 3, 7

I wish I liked 7 more but so far, nope. I'll give it another try soon.

Sarge

It's a strange work for sure, Sarge. I haven't completely assimilated it myself to be honest.
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: Mirror Image on October 22, 2017, 02:46:46 PM
Man, I love Arnold’s 7th! I love it’s kaleidoscopic, demented musical demeanor. I think it’s one of his most disturbing works and gives a glimpse into Arnold’s psyche as the 9th also seems to show another side of the composer that we hadn’t heard previously.
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: amw on October 22, 2017, 05:07:13 PM
7 is the only one I really like. It's kind of a musical equivalent to Sartre's Nausea, capturing the claustrophobia and absurdity of existence and the meaninglessness of musical signifiers. I mean he didn't think of it that way himself (actually it encodes the names of his children as musical ciphers and incorporates homages to them, he may have seen it as an attempt at reconciliation) but his mental state at the time evidently made him unusually receptive to such an existentialist and even nihilistic view of music. Even the "triumphant" final F major cadence, utterly conventional in nature, does not arise from the music itself and is simply arbitrarily placed after the point where Arnold stopped writing. After musical syntax and the language of "light music" that Arnold wrote in have been systematically broken down for 31 minutes, their sudden reassertion is not only meaningless but violent and shocking.

Sorry if that was pretentious. For recordings I like Gamba and Yates.
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: Sergeant Rock on October 22, 2017, 05:22:15 PM

In order of preference, I'd rank them like so: 5, 2, 7...

Man, I love Arnold’s 7th! I love it’s kaleidoscopic, demented musical demeanor. I think it’s one of his most disturbing works and gives a glimpse into Arnold’s psyche as the 9th also seems to show another side of the composer that we hadn’t heard previously.

7 is the only one I really like. It's kind of a musical equivalent to Sartre's Nausea capturing the claustrophobia and absurdity of existence[...]For recordings I like Gamba and Yates.

Three votes for Arnold 7. I'll listen again later today, probably Gamba.

Sarge
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: Mirror Image on October 22, 2017, 05:39:03 PM
Let us know how you get on with it, Sarge.
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: André on October 22, 2017, 06:28:30 PM
The 7th is indeed one of Arnold's most important works. I'd be hard put to express a preference btw 4, 5, 6, 7 and 9. I could place them in any order depending on the time of the day or the weather outside  :D.
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: Archaic Torso of Apollo on October 22, 2017, 06:38:21 PM
7 is the only one I really like. [...] his mental state at the time evidently made him unusually receptive to such an existentialist and even nihilistic view of music.

I think I said earlier that when I first heard it, I thought "this is a musical record of someone's nervous breakdown." A really unsettling piece. Keep the light on while listening.
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold BRASS QUINTET
Post by: snyprrr on October 23, 2017, 07:24:07 AM
Enjoyed the Brass Quintet yesterday (PJBE)
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold BRASS QUINTET
Post by: Archaic Torso of Apollo on October 23, 2017, 02:31:39 PM
Enjoyed the Brass Quintet yesterday (PJBE)

Yes, that's a good one. I have it on this excellent sampler disc:

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51ngabbzVhL._SY355_.jpg)

BTW there is apparently a second brass 5tet. However, I've never seen a recording of it.
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: Christo on October 23, 2017, 10:05:33 PM
The 7th is indeed one of Arnold's most important works. I'd be hard put to express a preference btw 4, 5, 6, 7 and 9. I could place them in any order depending on the time of the day or the weather outside  :D.
Exactly my favourites too.  :)
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: cilgwyn on October 24, 2017, 04:39:45 AM
My favourites,too. Although,I like them all,really;in the sense that I don't feel that any one of them has wasted my time. And they just make a very satisfying cycle. The eighth is the weakest one,for me. But even that begins well (I like the tune!). Inspiration seems more thin on the ground,after that! And then Arnold surprises me,by ending his cycle with one of his most absorbing and fascinating creations!
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: kyjo on October 24, 2017, 06:06:01 AM
My favourites,too. Although,I like them all,really;in the sense that I don't feel that any one of them has wasted my time. And they just make a very satisfying cycle. The eighth is the weakest one,for me. But even that begins well (I like the tune!). Inspiration seems more thin on the ground,after that! And then Arnold surprises me,by ending his cycle with one of his most absorbing and fascinating creations!

+1 As with the symphonic cycles of Mahler, Sibelius, RVW, and Nielsen, the Arnold cycle really takes the listener on a complex journey (although, admittedly, a more unevenly inspired one in Arnold's case).
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: Mirror Image on October 24, 2017, 07:07:57 AM
+1 As with the symphonic cycles of Mahler, Sibelius, RVW, and Nielsen, the Arnold cycle really takes the listener on a complex journey (although, admittedly, a more unevenly inspired one in Arnold's case).

Arnold’s symphonies are interesting, but I wouldn’t put them in the same company as those composers.
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: kyjo on October 24, 2017, 08:08:36 AM
Arnold’s symphonies are interesting, but I wouldn’t put them in the same company as those composers.

Oh, I wouldn't either! I was just saying that the sense of "journey" and development over the course of Arnold's symphonic cycle is similar to that of the composers I mentioned.
Title: Re: Sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: kyjo on October 24, 2017, 08:38:44 AM
So what are everyone's favorite Arnold compositions outside of the symphonies? I must confess I'm pretty unfamiliar with the rest of his output, but I've started listening to his orchestral dances which are absolutely delightful.
Title: Re: Sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: Christo on October 24, 2017, 10:16:19 AM
So what are everyone's favorite Arnold compositions outside of the symphonies? I must confess I'm pretty unfamiliar with the rest of his output, but I've started listening to his orchestral dances which are absolutely delightful.
I know only a part of his big oeuvre, was always to lazy to try them all. But some personal faves are:

From his concertos:
      Guitar Concerto, Op. 67 (1959) - his finest, IMO
      Serenade for Guitar and Strings, Op. 50 (1955) - small but great
      Flute Concerto No. 1 (Op. 45, 1954)
      Flute Concerto No. 2 (Op. 111, 1972)
Some orchestral pieces:
     Serenade for Small Orchestra, Op. 26 (1950)
     Philharmonic Concerto, Op. 120 (1976)
The Dance Suites: (both the Chandos and Naxos compilation CDs are fine): 
     English Dances, Set 1, Op. 27 (1950)
     English Dances, Set 2, Op. 33 (1951)
     Four Scottish Dances, Op. 59 (1957)
     Four Cornish Dances, Op. 91 (1966)
     Four Irish Dances, Op. 126 (1986)
     Four Welsh Dances, Op. 138 (1988)
The Sinfoniettas:
     Sinfonietta No. 1, Op. 48 (1954)
     Sinfonietta No. 2, Op. 65 (1958)
     Sinfonietta No. 3, Op. 81 (1964)
The Divertimentos:
     Divertimento No. 1, Op. 1 (1945)
     Divertimento No. 2, Op. 24 (1950), revised as Op. 75 (1961)
Title: Re: Sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: kyjo on October 25, 2017, 11:32:02 AM
I know only a part of his big oeuvre, was always to lazy to try them all. But some personal faves are:

From his concertos:
      Guitar Concerto, Op. 67 (1959) - his finest, IMO
      Serenade for Guitar and Strings, Op. 50 (1955) - small but great
      Flute Concerto No. 1 (Op. 45, 1954)
      Flute Concerto No. 2 (Op. 111, 1972)
Some orchestral pieces:
     Serenade for Small Orchestra, Op. 26 (1950)
     Philharmonic Concerto, Op. 120 (1976)
The Dance Suites: (both the Chandos and Naxos compilation CDs are fine): 
     English Dances, Set 1, Op. 27 (1950)
     English Dances, Set 2, Op. 33 (1951)
     Four Scottish Dances, Op. 59 (1957)
     Four Cornish Dances, Op. 91 (1966)
     Four Irish Dances, Op. 126 (1986)
     Four Welsh Dances, Op. 138 (1988)
The Sinfoniettas:
     Sinfonietta No. 1, Op. 48 (1954)
     Sinfonietta No. 2, Op. 65 (1958)
     Sinfonietta No. 3, Op. 81 (1964)
The Divertimentos:
     Divertimento No. 1, Op. 1 (1945)
     Divertimento No. 2, Op. 24 (1950), revised as Op. 75 (1961)

Thanks very much Johan - those should keep me busy for a while! :)
Title: Re: Sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: Sergeant Rock on October 25, 2017, 11:40:10 AM
So what are everyone's favorite Arnold compositions outside of the symphonies? I must confess I'm pretty unfamiliar with the rest of his output, but I've started listening to his orchestral dances which are absolutely delightful.

The first Arnold piece I ever heard was the Tam O'Shanter Overture. Great fun, and proof that one can depict a drunkard in music  ;D

Sarge
Title: Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
Post by: André on October 25, 2017, 11:47:46 AM
Tam O’Shanter is a hoot ! It’s been recorded a few times. Actually, his overtures are almost as good as any of Dvorak’s or Sibelius’ tone poems, which they are in all but name (they all depict places or events). The Rumon Gamba disc is comprehensive - although not complete - but his feel for the music is generic compared to the composer’s own performances. Go for it by all means (it’s available used for less than 6$):

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/71SMnhi-e%2BL._SX522_.jpg)

As for Tam O’Shanter, the Naxos disc under Paul Daniel is my reference.