Author Topic: sir Malcolm Arnold  (Read 90574 times)

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Offline Mirror Image

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Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
« Reply #560 on: July 21, 2021, 06:02:35 PM »
What is your thought of seeing Kurt Douglass as the mighty gladiator in Spartacus in the height of his prowess and seeing him after his stroke as a disabled man with limited mobility?  Should others not be allowed to see this once mighty warrior as a crippled if you are "don't need visual "proof" that he becomes broken mortal?  I hope this doesn't come across as rude, I don't mean it to be.  My dad was a mighty tough guy, a military man who eventually became broken and lame in his dying moments.  That was life.  It isn't a bad thing and not something others should dictate what the image of their life should be.  It is what life is.  A process of dying and not everyone is that comfortable with it.  If you don't like that, then you sort of need to deal with it.  It is life.

I’m not going to say you came across rude, but preachy certainly comes to mind. We all know we’re not going to get out of this life alive. Some of us prefer to not see it acted out in front of us, especially in a documentary on a composer that we admire. You don’t need visuals to know about Arnold’s condition. This is the problem that I had with Palmer’s documentary as well. Like most of his films that I’ve seen on composers, the goal seems to be to provoke controversy and shock instead of talking about the composer’s music and giving the viewer something of value. This, to me, is of greater interest than his mental condition.
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Offline Mirror Image

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Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
« Reply #561 on: July 21, 2021, 06:11:00 PM »
I was not comfortable with the filming of those sequences - or at least their inclusion in the documentary.  I don't need visual "proof" that Arnold was suffering from a condition and neither do I require that as an explanation for aspects of his behaviour historically.  I simply know that if it was me or a relative of mine I would not want it shown to the world - especially if I was not in a position to make an informed decision on my own behalf.

I concur completely. I came to the documentary wanting to know more about Arnold’s music and there’s very little discussion of it in Palmer’s film. In several of the Palmer films I’ve seen on composers, I came away confused and saddened. Not because of what the composers went through but because the documentaries could’ve been so much more had they actually stayed on track with talking about the music. Anyone can buy a book on a composer and read a biography about their life. I think some of the best programs on composers I’ve seen have been the Tilson Thomas series Keeping Score. These are informative and he sticks with the music and keeps his own personal interjections about the composer’s life to a minimum. He’s not out to stir the pot or shock people. I think he just wanted to share his knowledge of the composer and what an impressive fountain of knowledge he is!
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Offline Roasted Swan

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Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
« Reply #562 on: July 21, 2021, 10:14:13 PM »
What is your thought of seeing Kurt Douglass as the mighty gladiator in Spartacus in the height of his prowess and seeing him after his stroke as a disabled man with limited mobility?  Should others not be allowed to see this once mighty warrior as a crippled if you are "don't need visual "proof" that he becomes broken mortal?  I hope this doesn't come across as rude, I don't mean it to be.  My dad was a mighty tough guy, a military man who eventually became broken and lame in his dying moments.  That was life.  It isn't a bad thing and not something others should dictate what the image of their life should be.  It is what life is.  A process of dying and not everyone is that comfortable with it.  If you don't like that, then you sort of need to deal with it.  It is life.

Having been with both my parents when they died of dementia, I am not sure I need lecturing about the arc of life.  My personal opinion was that I did not feel that the film was "better" for showing those sequences.  Clearly mental health and battles with it were a defining aspect of what made Arnold the composer he was but I don't need a visual prompt for the point to be made.  Clearly, those who were responsible for Arnold's welfare at that time felt that these images would be more powerful than words alone.  I respect that decision but - as I said - it is not the choice I would make for myself or my own - that's about privacy not denial.

Offline vandermolen

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Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
« Reply #563 on: July 22, 2021, 03:55:13 AM »
I think that much depends on the motive for showing distressing sequences - if they are integrated into the overall narrative and help us to understand the man and/or his music better, then there may be an argument for showing them. However, in the documentary on Vaughan Williams ('O Thou Transcendent') which Palmer made, I felt that images of dying children during the Biafran Famine, which accompanied the Ninth Symphony, were purely gratuitous and added nothing to our understanding of the composer or his music. I think that this was less the case with the distressing images of Arnold (which is what stands out most in my memory when I recall the film) but I can understand both arguments about them being there.
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

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Offline relm1

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Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
« Reply #564 on: July 22, 2021, 05:08:31 AM »
Having been with both my parents when they died of dementia, I am not sure I need lecturing about the arc of life.  My personal opinion was that I did not feel that the film was "better" for showing those sequences.  Clearly mental health and battles with it were a defining aspect of what made Arnold the composer he was but I don't need a visual prompt for the point to be made.  Clearly, those who were responsible for Arnold's welfare at that time felt that these images would be more powerful than words alone.  I respect that decision but - as I said - it is not the choice I would make for myself or my own - that's about privacy not denial.

Fair enough.

Offline Mirror Image

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Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
« Reply #565 on: July 22, 2021, 05:25:14 AM »
Having been with both my parents when they died of dementia, I am not sure I need lecturing about the arc of life.  My personal opinion was that I did not feel that the film was "better" for showing those sequences.  Clearly mental health and battles with it were a defining aspect of what made Arnold the composer he was but I don't need a visual prompt for the point to be made.  Clearly, those who were responsible for Arnold's welfare at that time felt that these images would be more powerful than words alone.  I respect that decision but - as I said - it is not the choice I would make for myself or my own - that's about privacy not denial.

All valid points and it’s actually a shame that you had to reiterate this opinion when what you wrote initially is as clear as it could be.
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Offline SonicMan46

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Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
« Reply #566 on: August 12, 2021, 06:50:28 AM »
Arnold Symphonies - which set and does one need at least two different ones?   :laugh:

In the last few days, I've been listening to my Malcolm Arnold collection, just 12+ CDs, but includes all of the Symphonies - this morning selected the ones below for a review and liked both Handley's & Penny's performances; the rest are all w/ Penny.  On Amazon, the Penny & Hickox (Chandos) recordings are now boxed, and I believe a number of sets w/ Arnold conducting exits; the Handley on Conifer does not seem to be in a box? 

Now, I know many have given their opinions on which sets and even which individual performances are their favorites - but any new thoughts - at the moment I'm happy w/ what I own and really do not need a duplicate set, but fickleness affects us all here -  8)  Dave

 

Offline Daverz

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Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
« Reply #567 on: August 12, 2021, 10:09:05 AM »
Arnold Symphonies - which set and does one need at least two different ones?   :laugh:

In the last few days, I've been listening to my Malcolm Arnold collection, just 12+ CDs, but includes all of the Symphonies - this morning selected the ones below for a review and liked both Handley's & Penny's performances; the rest are all w/ Penny.  On Amazon, the Penny & Hickox (Chandos) recordings are now boxed, and I believe a number of sets w/ Arnold conducting exits; the Handley on Conifer does not seem to be in a box? 

Now, I know many have given their opinions on which sets and even which individual performances are their favorites - but any new thoughts - at the moment I'm happy w/ what I own and really do not need a duplicate set, but fickleness affects us all here -  8)  Dave

 

The Handley recordings were in a box for all of 5 minutes.



https://www.amazon.com/Sir-Malcolm-Arnold-Complete-Recordings/dp/B01KBHXR3S

If I only wanted one single box, I'd probably get the Naxos.  I love the Hickox recordings, but he only recorded up to No. 6 before he died.  I don't know the Gamba recordings that fill out that set.

Offline Roasted Swan

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Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
« Reply #568 on: August 12, 2021, 10:36:07 AM »
Arnold Symphonies - which set and does one need at least two different ones?   :laugh:

In the last few days, I've been listening to my Malcolm Arnold collection, just 12+ CDs, but includes all of the Symphonies - this morning selected the ones below for a review and liked both Handley's & Penny's performances; the rest are all w/ Penny.  On Amazon, the Penny & Hickox (Chandos) recordings are now boxed, and I believe a number of sets w/ Arnold conducting exits; the Handley on Conifer does not seem to be in a box? 

Now, I know many have given their opinions on which sets and even which individual performances are their favorites - but any new thoughts - at the moment I'm happy w/ what I own and really do not need a duplicate set, but fickleness affects us all here -  8)  Dave

 

For what its worth - I happen to know that Arnold used to listen to the Penny cycle most himself........

Offline Mirror Image

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Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
« Reply #569 on: August 13, 2021, 05:22:25 AM »
Arnold Symphonies - which set and does one need at least two different ones?   :laugh:

In the last few days, I've been listening to my Malcolm Arnold collection, just 12+ CDs, but includes all of the Symphonies - this morning selected the ones below for a review and liked both Handley's & Penny's performances; the rest are all w/ Penny.  On Amazon, the Penny & Hickox (Chandos) recordings are now boxed, and I believe a number of sets w/ Arnold conducting exits; the Handley on Conifer does not seem to be in a box? 

Now, I know many have given their opinions on which sets and even which individual performances are their favorites - but any new thoughts - at the moment I'm happy w/ what I own and really do not need a duplicate set, but fickleness affects us all here -  8)  Dave

 

I’d finish getting all of the Penny series on Naxos. For me, it’s the best complete symphony cycle. The Hickox is good, but, of course, he passed away before he could finish it and I just don’t rate Gamba too highly in the last three symphonies (even though he’s generally quite good in Arnold’s music --- his disc of overtures is excellent for example). I’m pretty ambivalent about the Handley cycle, although he’s quite good in the concerti, but there aren't a lot of recordings of these works outside of this box.
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Offline SonicMan46

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Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
« Reply #570 on: August 13, 2021, 06:06:12 AM »
The Handley recordings were in a box for all of 5 minutes...............

If I only wanted one single box, I'd probably get the Naxos.  I love the Hickox recordings, but he only recorded up to No. 6 before he died.  I don't know the Gamba recordings that fill out that set.
For what its worth - I happen to know that Arnold used to listen to the Penny cycle most himself........
I’d finish getting all of the Penny series on Naxos. For me, it’s the best complete symphony cycle. The Hickox is good, but, of course, he passed away before he could finish it and I just don’t rate Gamba too highly in the last three symphonies (even though he’s generally quite good in Arnold’s music --- his disc of overtures is excellent for example). I’m pretty ambivalent about the Handley cycle, although he’s quite good in the concerti, but there aren't a lot of recordings of these works outside of this box.

Thanks Guys for the comments above - except for Symphonies 3 & 4, I have the remainder of the works w/ Penny in separate jewel boxes (bought before the Naxos box was released) - now as for Handley doing Nos. 3 & 4 on Conifer, the reviews (attached two) are excellent w/ the Fanfare commentator giving Handley the slight edge over Penny; SO, maybe I'll just keep what I have in my collection.  Dave :)

Offline relm1

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Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
« Reply #571 on: August 13, 2021, 03:14:01 PM »
Thanks Guys for the comments above - except for Symphonies 3 & 4, I have the remainder of the works w/ Penny in separate jewel boxes (bought before the Naxos box was released) - now as for Handley doing Nos. 3 & 4 on Conifer, the reviews (attached two) are excellent w/ the Fanfare commentator giving Handley the slight edge over Penny; SO, maybe I'll just keep what I have in my collection.  Dave :)

My opinion is that you should prefer the conductors own interpretations first.  He was an excellent conductor.  They are significantly different than the other recordings and emphasize the gravitas and dissonance.  Not all are commercially available.  I don't know if he conducted his symphonies after No. 7 but his version of 1-7 should be preferred.  I know 1 - 5 are commercially available and 6 and 7 are on youtube.
« Last Edit: August 13, 2021, 03:15:39 PM by relm1 »

Offline André

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Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
« Reply #572 on: August 13, 2021, 03:44:09 PM »
My opinion is that you should prefer the conductors own interpretations first.  He was an excellent conductor.  They are significantly different than the other recordings and emphasize the gravitas and dissonance.  Not all are commercially available.  I don't know if he conducted his symphonies after No. 7 but his version of 1-7 should be preferred.  I know 1 - 5 are commercially available and 6 and 7 are on youtube.

+1 to that.

Nos 4 (on disc), 7 (on YT) and the Overtures (on Reference) are stunningly different from all other versions. His interpretations should supplement a good cycle - that’s Penny or Handley for me. I find Hickox/Gamba less interesting.

Offline amw

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Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
« Reply #573 on: August 13, 2021, 06:15:25 PM »
I should probably revisit the symphonies other than No. 7, of which the two essential recordings are the composer himself, unreleased, & Martin Yates on Dutton. I have the Handley cycle from the Decca boxes but rarely if ever listen to most of it (I guess I also listen to the Symphony for Strings with some frequency).

Offline vandermolen

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Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
« Reply #574 on: August 13, 2021, 08:40:10 PM »
Gramophone Magazine (September) has a feature on Malcolm Arnold.
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Offline Brian

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Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
« Reply #575 on: August 27, 2021, 07:44:18 AM »


It's been nearly a decade since I last attempted the Malcolm Arnold symphonies, which I gave up on at that time, thinking they were very tough to crack. Since then I've come to enjoy the guitar concerto, dances, and light music. And in October, Naxos is reissuing the Penny cycle in a slimline box with a bonus disc of all the dances. Decided to start reattempting the symphonies with 1.

No. 1 - the sound world immediately reminds me of the Walton symphonies, but there is less internal consistency and more episodic variation between moods and emotions. The result is a more chaotic, disturbing journey that, while not actually very menacing or weird or dissonant minute-by-minute, succeeds in disorienting the listener. The finale is the weirdest, a sort of very loud circusy version of the finale of Sibelius 3, since it gets taken over partway through by a very jaunty carnival theme. Unlike Sibelius' tune, this is clearly ironic or sarcastic in some fashion.

Overall, honestly, this was high-intensity listening which required a lot of close attention and tired me out. Was planning to proceed to 2 directly, but that was exhausting.

Offline André

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Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
« Reply #576 on: August 27, 2021, 09:23:58 AM »
Very good post, Brian !

Offline vandermolen

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Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
« Reply #577 on: August 27, 2021, 10:57:37 AM »
For what its worth - I happen to know that Arnold used to listen to the Penny cycle most himself........
Interesting - I think that he may have attended the recording sessions.
"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 #578 on: August 27, 2021, 10:59:09 AM »
"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 vers la flamme

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Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
« Reply #579 on: August 27, 2021, 12:20:33 PM »
Interesting - I think that he may have attended the recording sessions.

Quite sure he was present at least for the recording of the 9th. The disc features a somewhat lengthy interview between composer (who was then far past his peak of lucidity, sadly, but still intriguing to hear) and conductor.