Author Topic: sir Malcolm Arnold  (Read 56275 times)

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Offline Irons

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Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
« Reply #400 on: November 26, 2019, 12:28:09 AM »
What's your point?  Lots of people had poor mental health and bad luck.

I'm supposing the point is that Arnold's mental health issues made him the composer he turned out to be.
The familiar rat-a-tat of enemy machine-guns joined the melee. It was like an orchestra from hell, it’s tune being played out by the instruments of death. - The Sun Will Always Shine, John R McKay.

Offline vandermolen

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Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
« Reply #401 on: November 26, 2019, 01:10:07 AM »
I'm supposing the point is that Arnold's mental health issues made him the composer he turned out to be.

I think that's probably true. The very 'dark' sections of symphonies 6 and 7 come to mind.
"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 dissily Mordentroge

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Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
« Reply #402 on: November 26, 2019, 02:22:20 AM »
Test
The Human Race is Insane

Offline Papy Oli

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Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
« Reply #403 on: November 26, 2019, 02:53:45 AM »
What's your point?  Lots of people had poor mental health and bad luck.

The point from Carshot was, I think, that Arnold's mental and family situation was even darker than what was already bleakly conveyed in the BBC programme I alluded to 2 posts above his, therefore accentuating the contrast I had mentioned in my message.
Olivier

Online vers la flamme

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Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
« Reply #404 on: November 26, 2019, 03:01:10 AM »
Having read some of these dark biographical details about his life, my interest in this composer is now piqued. Call it morbid fascination, if you must, but I want to hear his music now. I like what I heard of the 9th symphony, is this a good place to start? Or must one work his way up to it?

Offline Papy Oli

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Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
« Reply #405 on: November 26, 2019, 03:09:51 AM »
I found the 9th to have the stronger impact but the rest of the cycle very interesting too.

Besides the symphonies, I can recommend this one for his overtures, from the bonkers (grand grand festival overture) to the very moving (Peterloo), through the drunken stroll (Tom O'Shanter):




Check also his various dances.
Olivier

Offline relm1

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Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
« Reply #406 on: November 26, 2019, 07:14:48 AM »
I found the 9th to have the stronger impact but the rest of the cycle very interesting too.

Besides the symphonies, I can recommend this one for his overtures, from the bonkers (grand grand festival overture) to the very moving (Peterloo), through the drunken stroll (Tom O'Shanter):




Check also his various dances.

Good recommendation.  I loved the Grand Grand Festival Overture so much because it really pokes fun at itself and just won't end.  It reminded me of that Viktor Borge bit where he's conducting an orchestra and stuck on the penultimate note, not sure how to end the piece as he scurries around looking for the final page which is of course just a downbeat.  I'm sure it was a hoot to hear at its premiere.

Online vers la flamme

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Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
« Reply #407 on: December 07, 2019, 06:29:56 AM »
I am very, very impressed with this CD and this work...:



... Malcolm Arnold's 9th symphony, Andrew Penny/Ireland NSO on Naxos. So sparse, pained, beautiful. It has been some time since my first listen to a new composer has spoken to me quite so directly. I was not expecting to enjoy this so much.

Having gotten that out of the way, I do now want to explore more of his music. I'm thinking this may be a good next step:



... if a composer's 9th symphony is this great, then it follows (per the Beethoven Theorem) that the 5th symphony must also be great, no?  :D

... but I am more than open to suggestions from those who actually know Arnold's music well. I will likely be following up on Papy Oli's recommendation for that Overtures CD as well.

Online André

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Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
« Reply #408 on: December 07, 2019, 06:45:28 AM »
The 5th is Arnold’s most popular symphony. It is not without dark undercurrents, but bitterness and anger are kept at bay. Watch for the Big Tune, it’s irresistible.

Offline Christo

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Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
« Reply #409 on: December 07, 2019, 06:51:39 AM »
The 5th is Arnold’s most popular symphony. It is not without dark undercurrents, but bitterness and anger are kept at bay. Watch for the Big Tune, it’s irresistible.
Agreed, it's been my favourite since I was sixteem (closely followed by No. 9).  :)
… music is not only an 'entertainment’, nor a mere luxury, but a necessity of the spiritual if not of the physical life, an opening of those magic casements through which we can catch a glimpse of that country where ultimate reality will be found.    RVW, 1948

Online vers la flamme

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Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
« Reply #410 on: December 07, 2019, 07:04:04 AM »
I ended up ordering the Andrew Penny disc with symphonies 5 and 6. I couldn't resist after listening to some of the first movement of the 5th. It sounds awesome.

Any word on the Sony Masters set with the Vernon Handley recordings? Looks like a bargain.

Online André

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Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
« Reply #411 on: December 07, 2019, 07:12:46 AM »
All three sets of Arnold symphonies are excellent: Penny, Handley, Hickox/Gamba. They offer different but not dissimilar takes on the music and are excellent technically.

That being said, I consider mandatory the purchase of everything Arnold himself recorded. His view of his own music is entirely his own, and sometimes miles away from anybody else’s. Start with the Lyrita disc of no 4 and the Reference disc of Overtures. Day and night compared to any other.

Offline Christo

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Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
« Reply #412 on: December 07, 2019, 07:19:01 AM »
All three sets of Arnold symphonies are excellent: Penny, Handley, Hickox/Gamba. They offer different but not dissimilar takes on the music and are excellent technically.

That being said, I consider mandatory the purchase of everything Arnold himself recorded. His view of his own music is entirely his own, and sometimes miles away from anybody else’s. Start with the Lyrita disc of no 4 and the Reference disc of Overtures. Day and night compared to any other.
Agreed on all points, strongly recommended.
… music is not only an 'entertainment’, nor a mere luxury, but a necessity of the spiritual if not of the physical life, an opening of those magic casements through which we can catch a glimpse of that country where ultimate reality will be found.    RVW, 1948

Offline Maestro267

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Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
« Reply #413 on: December 07, 2019, 07:21:37 AM »
All three sets of Arnold symphonies are excellent: Penny, Handley, Hickox/Gamba. They offer different but not dissimilar takes on the music and are excellent technically.

That being said, I consider mandatory the purchase of everything Arnold himself recorded. His view of his own music is entirely his own, and sometimes miles away from anybody else’s. Start with the Lyrita disc of no 4 and the Reference disc of Overtures. Day and night compared to any other.

Arnold's own recording of the 4th Symphony is 54 minutes, compared to the average of around 35-40 minutes.

Offline Christo

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Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
« Reply #414 on: December 07, 2019, 08:06:52 AM »
Arnold's own recording of the 4th Symphony is 54 minutes, compared to the average of around 35-40 minutes.

His own BBC performance of the Seventh from 1973 (have the radio recording, not sure if it appeared on cd) lasts over 50 minutes, compared to 37:43 (Handley), 38:04 (Penny) and especially the two quickies under Yates (31:20) and Gumba (Chandos, 31:52). A staggering difference of almost twenty minutes.  ;)
… music is not only an 'entertainment’, nor a mere luxury, but a necessity of the spiritual if not of the physical life, an opening of those magic casements through which we can catch a glimpse of that country where ultimate reality will be found.    RVW, 1948

Online André

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Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
« Reply #415 on: December 07, 2019, 10:14:07 AM »
His own BBC performance of the Seventh from 1973 (have the radio recording, not sure if it appeared on cd) lasts over 50 minutes, compared to 37:43 (Handley), 38:04 (Penny) and especially the two quickies under Yates (31:20) and Gumba (Chandos, 31:52). A staggering difference of almost twenty minutes.  ;)

That live performance of the 7th (available on youtube) is jaw dropping. I didn’t make it an outright recommendation because I think the 7th is Arnold’s bleakest, angriest, most pessimistic work. It certainly sounds like that under him. So, not an entry point into his art, both as a composer and conductor, and of course not as technically excellent as the Lyrita, EMI, Reference and Everest discs he recorded. When I heard it it prompted me to listen to the other 3 recordings of the works I have. I needed to be hear them through the prism of the composer’s own performance.

Offline vandermolen

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Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
« Reply #416 on: December 07, 2019, 12:15:30 PM »
Coincidentally I've been working my way through Andrew Penny's boxed set of the symphonies in my car in chronological sequence. I listened to No.7 today which I think is one of the best, especially the first movement. Penny's performance seemed a little underpowered compared to Vernon Handley's which was my first encounter with the work. Still, I think that Penny's is a valid interpretation, if not quite so dark. I'm looking forward to listening to 8 and 9. The odd numbered ones + No.6 remain my favourites. I hardly seem to know No.4 but intend to get further acquainted with it. I have Arnold's Lyrita version as well as those by Penny, Handley and Hickox.
"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).