Author Topic: sir Malcolm Arnold  (Read 90131 times)

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Online Brian

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Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
« Reply #580 on: August 27, 2021, 12:38:44 PM »
Interesting - I think that he may have attended the recording sessions.
This disc (1/2) says "in the presence of the composer" on the back cover, too.

Offline Roasted Swan

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Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
« Reply #581 on: August 27, 2021, 12:49:48 PM »
Interesting - I think that he may have attended the recording sessions.

He did - but I think he was at the Hickox recordings as well......

Offline vandermolen

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Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
« Reply #582 on: August 27, 2021, 09:40:27 PM »
He did - but I think he was at the Hickox recordings as well......
Yes, I was thinking that too RS and I recall a nice photo of Arnold and Hickox at a recording session. I especially like Hickox's recordings of symphonies 1 and 2 and 5 and 6.
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

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Offline Roasted Swan

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Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
« Reply #583 on: August 31, 2021, 01:32:14 AM »
In case it was missed - Sakari Oramo conducted a really fine account of Symphony No.5 at the Proms a few days ago.  It can still be heard on the BBC Sounds app for the next month here;

https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/m000z1lq

Really well played - perhaps the very last 'big tune' was a bit slower than I'm used to hearing but the closing bars of the symphony - the bleak in memoriam - was very moving indeed.  A good Prom all round - just a little disappointed that John Foulds was represented by his genial but ultimately lightweight Le Cabaret Overture.  This was always meant to be an inconsequential work so I'm sorry that a rare Foulds outing at the Proms did not represent him with something of greater musical merit (fun and well-played though it was).  The Walton Viola Concerto always moves me - another well played slightly pensive performance.

Offline vandermolen

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Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
« Reply #584 on: August 31, 2021, 02:31:18 AM »
In case it was missed - Sakari Oramo conducted a really fine account of Symphony No.5 at the Proms a few days ago.  It can still be heard on the BBC Sounds app for the next month here;

https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/m000z1lq

Really well played - perhaps the very last 'big tune' was a bit slower than I'm used to hearing but the closing bars of the symphony - the bleak in memoriam - was very moving indeed.  A good Prom all round - just a little disappointed that John Foulds was represented by his genial but ultimately lightweight Le Cabaret Overture.  This was always meant to be an inconsequential work so I'm sorry that a rare Foulds outing at the Proms did not represent him with something of greater musical merit (fun and well-played though it was).  The Walton Viola Concerto always moves me - another well played slightly pensive performance.
Looks like a very good concert. What was the Charlotte Bray work like? I've heard Arnold's 5th Symphony live - decades ago when I managed to get the composer to sign my programme. I much prefer Walton's Viola Concerto to the Violin Concerto.
"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 #585 on: August 31, 2021, 02:59:02 AM »
Looks like a very good concert. What was the Charlotte Bray work like? I've heard Arnold's 5th Symphony live - decades ago when I managed to get the composer to sign my programme. I much prefer Walton's Viola Concerto to the Violin Concerto.

I must admit the Bray rather left me unmoved.  At only a first listen it seemed rather contemporary/generic with high-lying angular string lines not signifying a lot.  At least it was short. 

The Radio 3 presenter was very enthusiastic about the Arnold and the interval talk was detailed about the composer too.  The shock is that this was the 1st Arnold symphony at the Proms in 26 years.  I know I like Arnold a lot so I'm biased but it does seem crazy that a British composer of that significance should have his significant works so under represented at a British music festival.......  Do listen to this performance - it is very fine indeed.

Offline vandermolen

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Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
« Reply #586 on: August 31, 2021, 03:46:22 AM »
I must admit the Bray rather left me unmoved.  At only a first listen it seemed rather contemporary/generic with high-lying angular string lines not signifying a lot.  At least it was short. 

The Radio 3 presenter was very enthusiastic about the Arnold and the interval talk was detailed about the composer too.  The shock is that this was the 1st Arnold symphony at the Proms in 26 years.  I know I like Arnold a lot so I'm biased but it does seem crazy that a British composer of that significance should have his significant works so under represented at a British music festival.......  Do listen to this performance - it is very fine indeed.
Will do if I can. I'm with you about Foulds by the way. Seeing 'A World Requiem' live in London (same performance as released by Chandos) was a very moving experience.
"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 #587 on: September 02, 2021, 06:45:51 PM »


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.

Arnold's 1st is one of the darkest and most disturbing first symphonies written by anyone IMO, and I enjoyed reading your description of it. His most accessible symphonies are probably nos. 2, 4, and 5, though they're all great!
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Offline André

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Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
« Reply #588 on: September 03, 2021, 10:05:41 AM »
In case it was missed - Sakari Oramo conducted a really fine account of Symphony No.5 at the Proms a few days ago.  It can still be heard on the BBC Sounds app for the next month here;

https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/m000z1lq

Really well played - perhaps the very last 'big tune' was a bit slower than I'm used to hearing but the closing bars of the symphony - the bleak in memoriam - was very moving indeed.  A good Prom all round - just a little disappointed that John Foulds was represented by his genial but ultimately lightweight Le Cabaret Overture.  This was always meant to be an inconsequential work so I'm sorry that a rare Foulds outing at the Proms did not represent him with something of greater musical merit (fun and well-played though it was).  The Walton Viola Concerto always moves me - another well played slightly pensive performance.

I enjoyed all the performances. The talk between the host and guest was interesting, too. I didn’t know Arnold’s 5th contained a tone row !

Offline relm1

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Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
« Reply #589 on: September 03, 2021, 03:27:06 PM »
Arnold's 1st is one of the darkest and most disturbing first symphonies written by anyone IMO, and I enjoyed reading your description of it. His most accessible symphonies are probably nos. 2, 4, and 5, though they're all great!

What are other examples of "darkest and most disturbing first symphonies" since this is just one of those?  Actually, this might be worth a thread of its own...top five darkest first symphonies.

Offline amw

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Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
« Reply #590 on: September 03, 2021, 04:37:24 PM »
Technically Arnold's first symphony is the Symphony for Strings op. 13, which I actually prefer to most of the numbered symphonies, but that's a side issue. (The only numbered Arnold symphony I rate is 7. I will someday revisit all of them to be sure about that, I guess.)

(Darkest first symphonies: KA Hartmann, 'Attempt at a Requiem'? But also not technically his first symphony.)

Offline relm1

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Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
« Reply #591 on: September 06, 2021, 03:28:35 PM »
(Darkest first symphonies: KA Hartmann, 'Attempt at a Requiem'? But also not technically his first symphony.)

Listening now...I'm LOVING KA Hartmann,'s No. 1, so thanks for suggesting!

Offline Mirror Image

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Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
« Reply #592 on: September 07, 2021, 06:25:14 AM »
Listening now...I'm LOVING KA Hartmann,'s No. 1, so thanks for suggesting!

Is this your first exposure to Hartmann’s music?
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Offline relm1

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Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
« Reply #593 on: September 08, 2021, 03:21:02 PM »
Is this your first exposure to Hartmann’s music?

Yes.  I realize this is the Malcolm Arnold thread so how did we get here?  Regarding Hartmann, it is so clear how Germanic music evolved from Mahler -> Schoenberg -> Berg/Webern -> Hartmann -> Henze.  To me, I har Hartmann and Henze as counterparts.  I'll confess being new to Hartmann but what i heard felt transitional.  You can hear the Berg and Henze in him. 
« Last Edit: September 08, 2021, 03:27:14 PM by relm1 »

Offline Mirror Image

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Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
« Reply #594 on: September 08, 2021, 04:34:53 PM »
Yes.  I realize this is the Malcolm Arnold thread so how did we get here?  Regarding Hartmann, it is so clear how Germanic music evolved from Mahler -> Schoenberg -> Berg/Webern -> Hartmann -> Henze.  To me, I har Hartmann and Henze as counterparts.  I'll confess being new to Hartmann but what i heard felt transitional.  You can hear the Berg and Henze in him.

Transitional or not. I love Hartmann.
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Offline aligreto

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Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
« Reply #595 on: October 02, 2021, 06:43:03 AM »
Arnold: Dances [Penny]





English Dances Opp. 27 & 33
Four Scottish Dances Op. 59
Four Cornish Dances Op. 91



These Dances are very nearly my introduction to the music of Malcolm Arnold. I do have his Guitar Concerto played by Julian Bream on LP.

These are highly stylised interpretations and not at all what I was expecting, for some reason, and I am far from being disappointed with the result. The orchestration is wonderfully fulsome and expansive and the tempi are mixed, ranging from the slow and engaging to the wonderfully exciting and boisterous. The quicker tempi are really very well driven. The presentations are all very entertaining and engaging.
I cannot comment on the ethnology of the dances other than the Irish ones and, to some extent, the Scottish dances [Celtic cousins]. The Scottish dances do resonate with this Irishman so that cannot be bad! The opening and concluding dances, in particular, have that essential Scottish flavour.
I absolutely love that Arnold presented four independent Cornish dances; a separate culture and nation within the UK. It is also pertinent that this music is edgy and somewhat disconcerting and triumphal.
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Offline Symphonic Addict

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Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
« Reply #596 on: October 02, 2021, 07:40:18 AM »
Arnold: Dances [Penny]





English Dances Opp. 27 & 33
Four Scottish Dances Op. 59
Four Cornish Dances Op. 91



These Dances are very nearly my introduction to the music of Malcolm Arnold. I do have his Guitar Concerto played by Julian Bream on LP.

These are highly stylised interpretations and not at all what I was expecting, for some reason, and I am far from being disappointed with the result. The orchestration is wonderfully fulsome and expansive and the tempi are mixed, ranging from the slow and engaging to the wonderfully exciting and boisterous. The quicker tempi are really very well driven. The presentations are all very entertaining and engaging.
I cannot comment on the ethnology of the dances other than the Irish ones and, to some extent, the Scottish dances [Celtic cousins]. The Scottish dances do resonate with this Irishman so that cannot be bad! The opening and concluding dances, in particular, have that essential Scottish flavour.
I absolutely love that Arnold presented four independent Cornish dances; a separate culture and nation within the UK. It is also pertinent that this music is edgy and somewhat disconcerting and triumphal.

Really? Then you'll be in for a treat. Arnold is my second favorite English composer. Almost all what I've heard by him has left me with a good ear taste, whether the music is optimistic or troubled. A fascinating composer overall.
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Offline aligreto

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Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
« Reply #597 on: October 02, 2021, 07:53:16 AM »
Really? Then you'll be in for a treat. Arnold is my second favorite English composer. Almost all what I've heard by him has left me with a good ear taste, whether the music is optimistic or troubled. A fascinating composer overall.

I will finish the Dances CD tomorrow and then I look forward to continuing the journey.
It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and leave no doubt.

Offline aligreto

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Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
« Reply #598 on: October 03, 2021, 01:56:06 AM »
Arnold: Dances [Penny]





Four Irish Dances Op. 126
Four Welsh Dances Op. 138



Although again stylised, I do readily recognise the essential musical language in the Irish dances and slow airs. The choice of individual scoring is appropriate and somewhat representative of type here.
I like the Welsh dances. They are filled with passion, atmosphere, emotion, agitation and turbulence. The scoring is also very fine and varied and is engrossing.
It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and leave no doubt.

Offline vers la flamme

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Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
« Reply #599 on: October 03, 2021, 05:16:04 AM »
Really digging the Film Music Vol 2 disc on Chandos. What a composer.