Author Topic: sir Malcolm Arnold  (Read 98457 times)

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Online vandermolen

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Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
« Reply #640 on: November 15, 2021, 12:11:02 AM »
The reason this is bullshit is the exact same could be said about any major composer's final work.  Take Shostakovich No. 15 where he quotes random works from his youth.  The publisher could say he didn't go in the dark direction of the 14th and the 15th proved evidence of mental decline.   Same with RVW No. 9.  This is a major assertion with no evidence and should be challenged.
Interesting point. Prokofiev's 7th Symphony (which I think highly of) is sometimes regarded in this way as well.
"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 relm1

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Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
« Reply #641 on: November 15, 2021, 07:11:39 AM »
Interesting point. Prokofiev's 7th Symphony (which I think highly of) is sometimes regarded in this way as well.

Yes, definitely a good example.  Any composer who pushes their creative boundary will be perplexing when that cycle comes to an end because each work has a sort of "different approach".  I love Arnold's symphonies and find them all quite individual.  Just imagine if he had died at No. 7, which is probably his darkest, couldn't the same claim apply that he was in a declining mental place and lost his spirited youthfulness in that work.  The accusation is sort of challenge proof because any good composer develops themselves over time.  If they aren't, then they are repeating themself which is worse...that's as if they have nothing more to say but keep saying it.  Maybe that reviewer was up against a deadline and just had to run with their initial impressions.

Offline aligreto

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Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
« Reply #642 on: January 17, 2022, 01:52:55 PM »
I have a very limited exposure to Malcolm Arnold's music. I plan to listen to more of it in 2022. I have already started with this CD [Arnold Overtures] conducted by the composer himself:





Sussex Overture: This is lively, upbeat and tuneful music that is well presented here. The music is well orchestrated with much orchestral colour on show. Arnold was making sure that his music was being portrayed to best advantage here. It is well played and recorded and he was in total control. Good for him.

Beckus The Dandipratt: I like the overall tone, atmosphere and musical language of this work. On the surface there is a quirky air of levity about it but its foundation is based on a slightly disconcerting and menacing tone.

The Smoke: This is another interesting and engaging Arnold work with regard to musical language, overall dynamics and the sense of atmosphere in the music. This is a very fine musical composition.

The Fair Field: This is definitely atmospheric and evocative music which will hopefully evoke good memories in some listeners' consciousness. It is a fine piece of writing and, once again, is well scored.

Commonwealth Christmas Overture: This work opens in quite a festive mood [including the relevant bells] which is, to be honest, quite twee but the music soon develops into something more meaningful. It is an interesting work, up to a point; at some points it is celebratory and at others it is quite contemplative [not that the two need be mutually exclusive] and one could look at it globally as a sort of a variation on an annual theme. The scoring in the central section certainly raised one of my eyebrows. As I progressed through the work my ultimate conclusion was that it was banal, urbane and unexciting overall.

It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and leave no doubt.

Online vandermolen

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Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
« Reply #643 on: January 18, 2022, 12:59:45 AM »
I have a very limited exposure to Malcolm Arnold's music. I plan to listen to more of it in 2022. I have already started with this CD [Arnold Overtures] conducted by the composer himself:





Sussex Overture: This is lively, upbeat and tuneful music that is well presented here. The music is well orchestrated with much orchestral colour on show. Arnold was making sure that his music was being portrayed to best advantage here. It is well played and recorded and he was in total control. Good for him.

Beckus The Dandipratt: I like the overall tone, atmosphere and musical language of this work. On the surface there is a quirky air of levity about it but its foundation is based on a slightly disconcerting and menacing tone.

The Smoke: This is another interesting and engaging Arnold work with regard to musical language, overall dynamics and the sense of atmosphere in the music. This is a very fine musical composition.

The Fair Field: This is definitely atmospheric and evocative music which will hopefully evoke good memories in some listeners' consciousness. It is a fine piece of writing and, once again, is well scored.

Commonwealth Christmas Overture: This work opens in quite a festive mood [including the relevant bells] which is, to be honest, quite twee but the music soon develops into something more meaningful. It is an interesting work, up to a point; at some points it is celebratory and at others it is quite contemplative [not that the two need be mutually exclusive] and one could look at it globally as a sort of a variation on an annual theme. The scoring in the central section certainly raised one of my eyebrows. As I progressed through the work my ultimate conclusion was that it was banal, urbane and unexciting overall.
Interesting review - thanks Fergus.
"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

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Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
« Reply #644 on: January 19, 2022, 03:00:53 AM »
Interesting review - thanks Fergus.

Cheers Jeffrey. I am looking forward to further exploration.
It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and leave no doubt.

Offline kyjo

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Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
« Reply #645 on: January 19, 2022, 09:35:09 AM »
Just curious - what does everyone consider to be the greatest recording of the masterful 5th Symphony? So far I’ve only heard Hickox/LSO on Chandos and been satisfied with it, but I’d like to hear other recordings as well.
"Music is enough for a lifetime, but a lifetime is not enough for music" - Sergei Rachmaninoff

Offline vers la flamme

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Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
« Reply #646 on: January 19, 2022, 01:01:50 PM »
Just curious - what does everyone consider to be the greatest recording of the masterful 5th Symphony? So far I’ve only heard Hickox/LSO on Chandos and been satisfied with it, but I’d like to hear other recordings as well.

Penny/Ireland on Naxos is a good one.

Offline J.Z. Herrenberg

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Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
« Reply #647 on: January 19, 2022, 02:57:50 PM »
Penny/Ireland on Naxos is a good one.


Arnold's own interpretation on Lyrita is excellent, too.
Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything. -- Plato

Offline Roasted Swan

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Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
« Reply #648 on: January 19, 2022, 11:46:41 PM »

Arnold's own interpretation on Lyrita is excellent, too.

Arnold's own recording was on EMI/Warner - he did No.4 on Lyrita.  The No.5 on EMI was my introduction to the work and so I'm not the most objective "witness" here but that performance remains my favourite



I remember buying this LP so clearly with a Christmas gift voucher!  Of course in the UK the logo was Nipper not Angel......  Peterloo Overture and the 4 Cornish Dances were equally played to oblivion.  Still my go-to No.5 performance.

Offline J.Z. Herrenberg

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Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
« Reply #649 on: January 20, 2022, 12:03:45 AM »
Arnold's own recording was on EMI/Warner - he did No.4 on Lyrita.  The No.5 on EMI was my introduction to the work and so I'm not the most objective "witness" here but that performance remains my favourite



I remember buying this LP so clearly with a Christmas gift voucher!  Of course in the UK the logo was Nipper not Angel......  Peterloo Overture and the 4 Cornish Dances were equally played to oblivion.  Still my go-to No.5 performance.


Thanks for the correction! By the way, No. 4 on Lyrita is also terrific... !
Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything. -- Plato

Offline vers la flamme

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Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
« Reply #650 on: January 20, 2022, 03:54:22 AM »
Arnold's own recording was on EMI/Warner - he did No.4 on Lyrita.  The No.5 on EMI was my introduction to the work and so I'm not the most objective "witness" here but that performance remains my favourite



I remember buying this LP so clearly with a Christmas gift voucher!  Of course in the UK the logo was Nipper not Angel......  Peterloo Overture and the 4 Cornish Dances were equally played to oblivion.  Still my go-to No.5 performance.

Did this ever make it to CD?

Offline springrite

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Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
« Reply #651 on: January 20, 2022, 05:45:58 AM »
It took me a couple of decades, but I have finally fallen in love with the Arnold 9th. It moves right into the second spot just behind the 6th, and I wouldn't be surprised if it overtakes it soon.
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Offline springrite

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Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
« Reply #652 on: January 20, 2022, 05:48:03 AM »
...but my most-listened-to Arnold work over the past two months has been The Return of Odysseus!
Do what I must do, and let what must happen happen.

Offline Roasted Swan

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Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
« Reply #653 on: January 20, 2022, 09:09:57 AM »
Did this ever make it to CD?

Yes absolutely here;



with the Cornish Dances here;



The Groves/Bournemouth SO Symphony No.2 on the first disc is very good as well - Groves was a great believer in and promoter of Arnold - he premiered the 2nd Symphony I seem to remember...?

Offline kyjo

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Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
« Reply #654 on: January 20, 2022, 09:14:14 AM »
...but my most-listened-to Arnold work over the past two months has been The Return of Odysseus!

Really? That's probably one of my least favorite works I've heard by Arnold! :laugh: Glad to hear you've fallen in love with Arnold's 9th, though. While I wouldn't rank it overall as highly as the 5th or 7th symphonies, it's an important, unique, and deeply-felt work.

P.S. Thanks to those who replied to my query regarding recordings of the 5th. I'll compare some of them and report back when I get a chance! I've noticed there's also some non-commercial performances available on YT.
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Offline springrite

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Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
« Reply #655 on: January 20, 2022, 09:58:01 AM »
Really? That's probably one of my least favorite works I've heard by Arnold! :laugh: Glad to hear you've fallen in love with Arnold's 9th, though. While I wouldn't rank it overall as highly as the 5th or 7th symphonies, it's an important, unique, and deeply-felt work.

P.S. Thanks to those who replied to my query regarding recordings of the 5th. I'll compare some of them and report back when I get a chance! I've noticed there's also some non-commercial performances available on YT.
I taught The Odyssey for a couple of years. Maybe that has something to do with it...
Do what I must do, and let what must happen happen.

Online vandermolen

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Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
« Reply #656 on: January 20, 2022, 12:36:30 PM »
I like Arnold's own (EMI) recording of the 5th Symphony although the sound suddenly cuts back in the catchy third movement, which always distracts me. These are both good:
"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

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Re: sir Malcolm Arnold
« Reply #657 on: January 21, 2022, 05:34:51 AM »
I have just completed listening to another set of Arnold Overtures, this time under the baton of Gamba:





A Grand Festival Overture: This music is suitably celebratory and jocose and high spirited. It is well driven. I was very pleased with the fate of the mechanical wind instruments!

Peterloo: The whole scene is very well conceived and executed, particularly the military aspect of it. There is a great sense of drama, tension and of affray. The Lament section is a particularly fine piece of writing. The Finale section is a wonderful tribute to the dead and injured.

The Smoke: I like this short work. It is dynamic, exciting, atmospheric and very interestingly scored.

Tam O’ Shanter: This is a wonderfully dramatic and exciting work. The orchestration is wonderfully adventurous and broad in scope. It is very well driven here. It could easily be described as a riotous cacophony but that would be unfair as it is electrifying in places and Gamba does a great job in portraying this atmosphere.

A Flourish For Orchestra: This is a short but wonderfully expressive assertively performed work.

The Fair Field: This is a wonderfully atmospheric and evocative work. It is well scored and it is well delivered here with both drama and excitement by Gamba.

A Sussex Overture: This is exciting and colourful music that is also filled with both atmosphere and drama. Gamba delivers a very fine, colourful and well driven account of this flurry of a work. 

Anniversary Overture: Short but not very engaging for me. There is plenty of orchestration but not very much interesting musical content here.

Robert Kett: This work apparently refers to an historical figure involved in a siege. Keeping in tone with the theme there are plenty of military overtones. The work is also filled with drama, tension and atmosphere.

Beckus The Dandipratt: This version has quite the swagger to it.
It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and leave no doubt.