Author Topic: sir Malcolm Arnold  (Read 111881 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Roasted Swan

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 2304
  • Location: UK
Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
« Reply #700 on: September 23, 2022, 01:06:24 AM »
I think Arnold's 9th is one of his genuine masterpieces born out of unbelievably harrowing experiences for the composer.  It is NOT an easy listen and the last movement makes demands on players and audiences alike but such is the case with most great Art.  The fact that pieces such as this still languish in relative shadows and has never been performed at the Proms (given some of the music that has) tells you everything you need to know about the state of serious music in the UK.

Recently John Gibbons - who has conducted as much Arnold as any living conductor I guess - released a fairly controversial version of No.9 in which he takes the finale a lot quicker than any other commercial recording.  He knows his Arnold so you have to give consideration to his views and reasonings.  Personally I think he is wrong but it certainly makes for an interesting debate.

https://johngibbonsmusic.co.uk/blog/2022/05/talking-about-arnold-ninth-symphony/

Offline vandermolen

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • *
  • Posts: 25224
  • Location: Rotherfield, Sussex, UK
Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
« Reply #701 on: September 23, 2022, 02:32:08 AM »
I think Arnold's 9th is one of his genuine masterpieces born out of unbelievably harrowing experiences for the composer.  It is NOT an easy listen and the last movement makes demands on players and audiences alike but such is the case with most great Art.  The fact that pieces such as this still languish in relative shadows and has never been performed at the Proms (given some of the music that has) tells you everything you need to know about the state of serious music in the UK.

Recently John Gibbons - who has conducted as much Arnold as any living conductor I guess - released a fairly controversial version of No.9 in which he takes the finale a lot quicker than any other commercial recording.  He knows his Arnold so you have to give consideration to his views and reasonings.  Personally I think he is wrong but it certainly makes for an interesting debate.

https://johngibbonsmusic.co.uk/blog/2022/05/talking-about-arnold-ninth-symphony/
Most interesting. I bought the Gibbons No.9 when it first came out but haven't got round to listening to it yet. That will be rectified very soon! I've always liked the 9th - the Penny version is my favourite.
"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 aligreto

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 28803
  • Location: Ireland
Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
« Reply #702 on: September 23, 2022, 02:32:50 AM »
I think Arnold's 9th is one of his genuine masterpieces born out of unbelievably harrowing experiences for the composer.  It is NOT an easy listen and the last movement makes demands on players and audiences alike but such is the case with most great Art.  The fact that pieces such as this still languish in relative shadows and has never been performed at the Proms (given some of the music that has) tells you everything you need to know about the state of serious music in the UK.

Recently John Gibbons - who has conducted as much Arnold as any living conductor I guess - released a fairly controversial version of No.9 in which he takes the finale a lot quicker than any other commercial recording.  He knows his Arnold so you have to give consideration to his views and reasonings.  Personally I think he is wrong but it certainly makes for an interesting debate.

https://johngibbonsmusic.co.uk/blog/2022/05/talking-about-arnold-ninth-symphony/

That is something that I cannot envisage and, on the face of it, would also seem wrong to me but I have not heard it.
It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and leave no doubt.

Offline aligreto

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 28803
  • Location: Ireland
Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
« Reply #703 on: September 23, 2022, 02:33:39 AM »
Most interesting. I bought the Gibbons No.9 when it first came out but haven't got round to listening to it yet. That will be rectified very soon! I've always liked the 9th - the Penny version is my favourite.

Do please let us know your thoughts when you do listen to it, Jeffrey.
It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and leave no doubt.

Offline vandermolen

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • *
  • Posts: 25224
  • Location: Rotherfield, Sussex, UK
Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
« Reply #704 on: September 23, 2022, 02:38:12 AM »
Do please let us know your thoughts when you do listen to it, Jeffrey.
Will do Fergus.
Nice to hear the lovely theme tune from 'Whistle Down the Wind' played on BBC Radio 3 this morning, on my way to work.
"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 aligreto

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 28803
  • Location: Ireland
Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
« Reply #705 on: September 23, 2022, 02:39:23 AM »
Will do Fergus.
Nice to hear the lovely theme tune from 'Whistle Down the Wind' played on BBC Radio 3 this morning, on my way to work.

Life can feel good sometimes  ;D
It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and leave no doubt.

Offline vandermolen

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • *
  • Posts: 25224
  • Location: Rotherfield, Sussex, UK
Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
« Reply #706 on: September 23, 2022, 02:45:03 AM »
Life can feel good sometimes  ;D
Yes, and such a contrast between Whistle Down the Wind and the 9th Symphony, both, in their way, entirely characteristic of Arnold and testament to his versatility and genius.

As a teacher in a Girls' school, I've always related to his 'Belles of St Trinians' theme music!  ;D
« Last Edit: September 23, 2022, 02:46:40 AM by vandermolen »
"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 aligreto

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 28803
  • Location: Ireland
Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
« Reply #707 on: September 23, 2022, 02:54:00 AM »

As a teacher in a Girls' school, I've always related to his 'Belles of St Trinians' theme music!  ;D

Total, unadulterated bias on your part  ;)  ;D
It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and leave no doubt.

Offline relm1

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 1891
  • Location: California
Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
« Reply #708 on: September 23, 2022, 05:37:19 AM »
Re: Symphony No. 9, I really liked the world premiere.  Very well paced and probably the closest we have to Arnold's conducting approach.

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

Offline Roasted Swan

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 2304
  • Location: UK
Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
« Reply #709 on: September 23, 2022, 06:16:13 AM »
Re: Symphony No. 9, I really liked the world premiere.  Very well paced and probably the closest we have to Arnold's conducting approach.

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

And remember Groves really had to push the BBC to perform the work after the score-reading panel took fright with its sparse scoring and basically assumed Arnold had lost it......  Groves was a great champion of many British composers and their works but possibly this was his finest hour.

Offline vandermolen

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • *
  • Posts: 25224
  • Location: Rotherfield, Sussex, UK
Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
« Reply #710 on: September 23, 2022, 12:27:23 PM »
Total, unadulterated bias on your part  ;)  ;D
8)
"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

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • *
  • Posts: 25224
  • Location: Rotherfield, Sussex, UK
Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
« Reply #711 on: September 26, 2022, 12:14:26 AM »
Do please let us know your thoughts when you do listen to it, Jeffrey.
I've been listening to it this morning Fergus (Symphony No.9). It had me gripped throughout. It's a while since I listened to any other recording (I have those be Penny, Handley and Gamba) but this one struck me as being as good as any (I rate the Penny version very highly and enjoy the interview at the end). Gibbons's recording didn't sound to me like he was rushing through the finale, which I found to be a convincing reading. The pared down instrumentation can be seen as evidence of diminishing powers due to mental collapse - however, I don't see it that way and regard this movement (and the work as a whole really) as a bleakly poetic traversal through a barren landscape, whether physical or metaphorical as Arnold moved towards the end of his life. The influence of Mahler's 9th Symphony (finale) seems quite clear in the last movement.
« Last Edit: September 26, 2022, 12:17:23 AM by vandermolen »
"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 foxandpeng

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 1258
  • Location: Cheshire, UK
  • Currently Listening to:
    Mostly post-1900. Brits. Northern Europeans. Others.
Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
« Reply #712 on: September 27, 2022, 05:38:50 AM »
The pared down instrumentation can be seen as evidence of diminishing powers due to mental collapse - however, I don't see it that way and regard this movement (and the work as a whole really) as a bleakly poetic traversal through a barren landscape, whether physical or metaphorical as Arnold moved towards the end of his life.


For what it is worth, I agree entirely! Debilitating mental health can be as great a catalyst to creativity as it can be erosive. I certainly think that #9 reflects Arnold's harrowing depths just as much as earlier works showcase his playful ingenuity and pleasure.
“A quiet secluded life in the country, with the possibility of being useful to people ... then work which one hopes may be of some use; then rest, nature, books, music, love for one's neighbour — such is my idea of happiness"

Tolstoy

Offline vandermolen

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • *
  • Posts: 25224
  • Location: Rotherfield, Sussex, UK
Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
« Reply #713 on: September 27, 2022, 11:46:03 AM »
For what it is worth, I agree entirely! Debilitating mental health can be as great a catalyst to creativity as it can be erosive. I certainly think that #9 reflects Arnold's harrowing depths just as much as earlier works showcase his playful ingenuity and pleasure.
An interesting point Danny, with which I agree.
"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).