Author Topic: sir Malcolm Arnold  (Read 61146 times)

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Offline vandermolen

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Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
« Reply #440 on: April 22, 2020, 04:15:10 AM »
Fully agreed (again). Am happy to have them all, the Seventh - to answer Alek Hidell - only as a broadcast recording uploaded from the 'Art-Music Forum' as will have done most of us here. Still, my favourite remains the Fifth under Arnold himself (available in a couple of guises with EMI) - the one it all began with back in the 1970s (for me).  :)
Yes, for me too - on LP.
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

'The test of a work of art is, in the end, our affection for it, not our ability to explain why it is good' (Stanley Kubrick).

Offline vandermolen

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Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
« Reply #441 on: April 22, 2020, 04:17:08 AM »
This is one of my favourite Arnold CDs. It's a unique combination of two of my favourite Arnold symphonies. I like all the odd numbered ones + No.6
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

'The test of a work of art is, in the end, our affection for it, not our ability to explain why it is good' (Stanley Kubrick).

Offline Roasted Swan

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Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
« Reply #442 on: April 22, 2020, 07:33:42 AM »
This is one of my favourite Arnold CDs. It's a unique combination of two of my favourite Arnold symphonies. I like all the odd numbered ones + No.6


Never quite sure why - but No.6 is the only one I DON'T really enjoy.  Never quite bought into the 'jazz tribute' bit and also the string writing is so darn hard every recording I have is a bit of a mess and the icing on the cake is the ending which I simply don't like.

Offline vandermolen

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Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
« Reply #443 on: April 22, 2020, 11:46:57 AM »
Never quite sure why - but No.6 is the only one I DON'T really enjoy.  Never quite bought into the 'jazz tribute' bit and also the string writing is so darn hard every recording I have is a bit of a mess and the icing on the cake is the ending which I simply don't like.
There was a very tormented section (first movement I think) which was used to gripping effect, in connection with Arnold's complete mental breakdown, in a TV documentary about the composer. It has stayed with me ever since. I quite like the bizarre 'jazz intrusion'. I'm less keen on 2 (one of the most popular) 4, and 8 but need to listen to them again.
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

'The test of a work of art is, in the end, our affection for it, not our ability to explain why it is good' (Stanley Kubrick).

Offline Roasted Swan

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Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
« Reply #444 on: April 22, 2020, 01:13:19 PM »
There was a very tormented section (first movement I think) which was used to gripping effect, in connection with Arnold's complete mental breakdown, in a TV documentary about the composer. It has stayed with me ever since. I quite like the bizarre 'jazz intrusion'. I'm less keen on 2 (one of the most popular) 4, and 8 but need to listen to them again.

No.2 was the first LP of Arnold I had - given to me by my uncle - using the same picture that is on that EMI twofer mentioned earlier - I'm pretty sure that was a studio photo of the 2nd Symphony session.  I like that Symphony a lot and am very fond of 8 too.  No.7 is finally clicking with me - I think the "3 family portraits" thing is a bit of a red-herring. (PS:  I'm another Cancerian!)

Offline Symphonic Addict

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Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
« Reply #445 on: April 22, 2020, 03:45:42 PM »
Those timing differences in symphonies as conducted by Arnold are indeed peculiar. I should give them a spin at some point.

Offline Alek Hidell

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Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
« Reply #446 on: April 22, 2020, 07:19:09 PM »
This was a great album. The CD is absurdly priced on Amazon.com but you can get it as an MP3 download.
However, the CD with the blue cover is available much more cheaply and includes Arnold's unique performance of Symphony No.1. Tam O' Shanter and the double Piano Concerto are great fun as well, although the PC has its serious moments.

Thanks, vandermolen! I've added both to my (absurdly long) wishlist. And thanks to Christo, too, for the info he provided.
"When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why they are poor, they call me a communist." - Hélder Pessoa Câmara

Offline vandermolen

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Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
« Reply #447 on: April 22, 2020, 09:42:21 PM »
No.2 was the first LP of Arnold I had - given to me by my uncle - using the same picture that is on that EMI twofer mentioned earlier - I'm pretty sure that was a studio photo of the 2nd Symphony session.  I like that Symphony a lot and am very fond of 8 too.  No.7 is finally clicking with me - I think the "3 family portraits" thing is a bit of a red-herring. (PS:  I'm another Cancerian!)
Good to know  :)
Actually I don't dislike No.2 it is just not one of my favourites. I prefer Arnold's own performance to the one by Groves, good as that is (I had the LP).
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

'The test of a work of art is, in the end, our affection for it, not our ability to explain why it is good' (Stanley Kubrick).

Offline Maestro267

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Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
« Reply #448 on: April 23, 2020, 03:34:56 AM »
Inspired somewhat by this thread and the symphony discussion, I've begun what I hope to be a complete playthrough of the 9 symphonies in order. Listening to No. 3 now (after 1 & 2 yesterday), and I keep forgetting about that wonderful series of chords (ending with B minor) just before the slow movement's final climax. That sequence reminds me a bit of the chord sequence just before the horn comes in for the finale of Stravinsky's The Firebird.

Offline Symphonic Addict

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Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
« Reply #449 on: April 23, 2020, 10:37:40 AM »
In my experience what I've felt is that there is a Nielsenian tinge in the Symphony No. 1 and a Sibelian one in the No. 2 (1st movement). The Chandos recordings are incredibly clear, potent, vigorous in Nos. 1-4. Nos. 5 and 6 sound better in the Naxos recordings (powerful bass drum in No. 5).

Offline vers la flamme

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Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
« Reply #450 on: May 24, 2020, 01:36:25 PM »
I've been listening to Arnold's symphonies a lot recently. The ones that really do it for me are 5, 6, 9 & now 4, which I just heard for the first time, but was quite impressed; I found it to be kind of a spiritual sibling to the 5th. I'm listening to the Penny/Ireland cycle on Naxos. These performances are really brilliant, top notch, to the point where I seriously wonder why I've never heard of this conductor or orchestra in any other context.

As for Arnold, his music is sometimes dark, but always colorful, even at its most sparse. I can't put my finger on what it is about his music that is so captivating, as it doesn't exactly seem like the kind of thing I would normally jive with.

I think once I've had my fill with the symphonies (I have the disc with 1 & 2 en route to me, which will complete the Penny cycle for me) I will try and check out the concertos. The man wrote a ton of them, and actually was extremely prolific in many genres before he, like Sibelius, essentially retired and didn't write much of anything for the last few decades of his life.

Offline kyjo

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Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
« Reply #451 on: May 24, 2020, 02:09:39 PM »
Just heard the 7th under Handley. I had never heard this work in a most formidable way as today. It's absolutely riveting and full of surprises which make sense along the three movements. The 2nd movement has that spooky and lugubrious atmosphere you often find in some Shostakovich's works. The accelerando near the minute 11 gave me chills, such a striking effect. Now, the transition that reaches the English dance in the 3rd movement also was a shocking moment, rather surrealistic. Even more shocking is the ending: several fortes in F major like it concluded 'happy'. This is an incredible work, and I think it's my favorite by this composer.

I ought to listen to the Handley recording. I’ve only heard the Penny recording which is good, but, as others have commented, lacks the last amount of drama and character.
« Last Edit: May 24, 2020, 02:15:07 PM by kyjo »
"Music is enough for a lifetime, but a lifetime is not enough for music" - Sergei Rachmaninoff

Offline Symphonic Addict

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Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
« Reply #452 on: May 24, 2020, 02:21:45 PM »
I ought to listen to the Handley recording. I’ve only heard the Penny recording which is good, but, as others have commented, lacks the last amount of drama and character.

It's definitely better, Kyle. You won't go wrong with it (I hope!).

Offline vers la flamme

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Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
« Reply #453 on: May 24, 2020, 03:27:30 PM »
The 7th and 8th both are, by a wide margin, the two most difficult of the symphonies for me, and perhaps the darkest (if not the 9th). I wonder if anyone else shares this perspective with me. I'm sure I owe them both another run through or two or three at least before forming any real opinions on them.

Offline André

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Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
« Reply #454 on: May 24, 2020, 03:41:29 PM »
The 7th is definitely his darkest, starkest symphony. It is almost frighteningly intimidating - especially in Arnold’s own interpretation: grim, massive, punchy. What was he thinking ?  ???

The 8th I find harder to relate to. Must give it another airing - make that three, actually  ;D.

Offline kyjo

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Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
« Reply #455 on: May 24, 2020, 03:55:50 PM »
The 7th is definitely his darkest, starkest symphony. It is almost frighteningly intimidating - especially in Arnold’s own interpretation: grim, massive, punchy. What was he thinking ?  ???

The 8th I find harder to relate to. Must give it another airing - make that three, actually  ;D.

The 8th is my least favorite of his symphonies, though I’ve only listened once - must give it another go.
"Music is enough for a lifetime, but a lifetime is not enough for music" - Sergei Rachmaninoff

Offline Mirror Image

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Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
« Reply #456 on: May 24, 2020, 03:59:03 PM »
I ought to listen to the Handley recording. I’ve only heard the Penny recording which is good, but, as others have commented, lacks the last amount of drama and character.

You remind me, Kyle, I need to revisit Handley’s 9th. Arnold’s 9th is one of the greatest British symphonies I know. So devastatingly beautiful, poignant but also anguished. Will probably queue this up tonight.
“When a man is in despair, it means that he still believes in something.” - Dmitri Shostakovich

Offline vandermolen

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Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
« Reply #457 on: May 24, 2020, 10:08:22 PM »
I've been listening to Arnold's symphonies a lot recently. The ones that really do it for me are 5, 6, 9 & now 4, which I just heard for the first time, but was quite impressed; I found it to be kind of a spiritual sibling to the 5th. I'm listening to the Penny/Ireland cycle on Naxos. These performances are really brilliant, top notch, to the point where I seriously wonder why I've never heard of this conductor or orchestra in any other context.

As for Arnold, his music is sometimes dark, but always colorful, even at its most sparse. I can't put my finger on what it is about his music that is so captivating, as it doesn't exactly seem like the kind of thing I would normally jive with.

I think once I've had my fill with the symphonies (I have the disc with 1 & 2 en route to me, which will complete the Penny cycle for me) I will try and check out the concertos. The man wrote a ton of them, and actually was extremely prolific in many genres before he, like Sibelius, essentially retired and didn't write much of anything for the last few decades of his life.
I'm sure you'll enjoy 1 and 2. 2 is comparatively well known but I actually prefer the darker and more turbulent No.1.
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

'The test of a work of art is, in the end, our affection for it, not our ability to explain why it is good' (Stanley Kubrick).

Offline kyjo

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Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
« Reply #458 on: May 26, 2020, 09:02:13 AM »
I'm sure you'll enjoy 1 and 2. 2 is comparatively well known but I actually prefer the darker and more turbulent No.1.

Arnold’s 1st must surely be one of the darkest first symphonies by any composer! It’s an unsettling, sometimes nightmarish work, especially in the eerily spare slow movement. The finale concludes the work on a more positive note with a memorable and inspiriting chorale theme in the coda. The 2nd is a more stylistically disparate work but I enjoy it greatly. The first movement is the most untroubled movement in any of his symphonies - sheer pastoral bliss. The heart of the symphony - the slow movement - couldn’t be more different and is a tragic funeral march which rises to a terrifying climax. It’s one of Arnold’s finest symphonic movements. IMO the definitive recordings of both symphonies is Hickox and the LSO on Chandos - sheer magnificence!
"Music is enough for a lifetime, but a lifetime is not enough for music" - Sergei Rachmaninoff