Malcolm Arnold

Born in Northampton in 1921, Malcolm Arnold is one of the towering figures of the 20th century, with a remarkable catalogue of major concert works to his credit, including nine symphonies, seven ballets, two operas, one musical, over twenty concertos, two string quartets, and music for brass-band and wind-band. He also wrote132 film scores, among these are some of the finest works ever composed for the medium including Bridge on the River Kwai (for which, in 1958, he was one of the first British composers ever to win an Oscar), Inn of the Sixth Happiness (for which he received an Ivor Novello Award in 1958), Hobson's Choice and Whistle Down the Wind.

Arnold began his professional musical life in July 1941 as second trumpet with the London Philharmonic Orchestra. Acknowledged as one of the finest players of the day, he eventually became the orchestra's Principal Trumpet. By the end of the 1940s he was concentrating entirely on composition. The long and close relationship established between Malcolm Arnold and the LPO continues unabated, with the orchestra performing and recording the composer's music widely.

In 1969 he was made a Bard of the Cornish Gorseth and was awarded the CBE in 1970. He holds Honorary Doctorates of Music from the Universities of Exeter, Durham and Leicester - and in America from the Miami University, Oxford, Ohio; he was made a Fellow of the Royal College of Music in 1983 and is an Hon. R.A.M. and an Hon. F.T.C.L. In 1985 Malcolm Arnold received an Ivor Novello Award for "Outstanding Services to British Music", the Wavendon Award in 1985, and a knighthood in the 1993 New Years Honours List for his services to music. In 1994 the Victoria College of Music appointed Malcolm Arnold as their President. In 2001 he was made a Fellow In 2001 he was made a Fellow of the British Academy of Composers and Songwriters. In 2004 he was also honoured with the Incorporated Society of Musician's Distinguished Musician Award for his lifetime's achievements as one of the greatest composers of the 20th century. In 1989 he received the Freedom of Northampton. In 2003 he was awarded an honorary degree by the University of Winchester. On 29th June, 2006, the University of Northampton conferred on Malcolm Arnold an Honorary Doctorate.

Throughout his life Malcolm Arnold has maintained a strongly held social conscience. In May 1957, as a guest of the Union of Czechoslovak Composers, he represented the British Musicians Union at the Prague Spring Festival. It was at this time that Arnold first met and became friends with - Shostakovich. To mark the Centenary of the Trades Union Congress, he was commissioned to write the Peterloo Overture; a work premiered by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra at the Festival Hall on 7 June 1968.

His most popular works have a global audience and his finest body of music, the nine symphonies, are available in numerous recordings including two complete cycles on the Chandos and Naxos labels and, from September 2006, on Decca. Malcolm Arnold's music has and continues to be performed and recorded extensively by leading orchestras both nationally and internationally. His work in musical education has been impressive and consistent. He helped establish and support, through the writing of works and fundraising, the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain. His belief in contemporary music led him to be an influential advocate for Pierre Boulez's entry into British musical life.Special musical tributes took place throughout 2006 to mark Malcolm Arnold's 85th anniversary year.

A revival by the Royal Ballet of the Malcolm Arnold/Fredrick Ashton acclaimed ballet Homage to the Queen, opened on 5 June at the Royal Opera House. Commissioned to honour the Queen's Coronation, this work was first performed by the Royal Ballet at Covent Garden on 2 June, 1953. On 23 September 2006 the Northern Ballet Theatre embarked on a UK tour with the world premiere of a new full length Arnold ballet,The Three Musketeers. The first Arnold Festival will take place on 21st and 22nd October at the Royal and Derngate Theatre in Northampton, the composer's birthplace.

Year / Artwork Title Importance Medium
1933 Beckus the Dandipratt (Comedy Overture) 4.00 stars CD
Comments:

BBC Philharmonic cond. Rumon Gamba

1933 Fairfield Overture 4.00 stars CD
Comments:

BBC Philharmonic cond. Rumon Gamba

1942 Trio for Flute, Viola and Bassoon Opus 6 4.00 stars CD
Comments:
The Nash Ensemble
1943 Three Shanties for Wind Quintet Opus 4 4.00 stars CD
Comments:
The Nash Ensemble
1944 Quintet for Flute, Violin, Viola. Horn and Bassoon Opus 7 4.00 stars CD
Comments:
The Nash Ensemble
1946 Duo for Flute and Viola Opus 10 4.00 stars CD
Comments:
The Nash Ensemble
1947 Violin Sonata Opus 17 4.00 stars CD
Comments:
The Nash Ensemble
1947 Violin Sonata No 1 Opus 15 4.00 stars CD
Comments:
The Nash Ensemble
1948 The Smoke (Overture) 4.00 stars CD
Comments:

BBC Philharmonic cond. Rumon Gamba

1948 Flute Sonatina Opus 19 4.00 stars CD
Comments:

Judith Pearce - Flute

1949 Symphony No 1 4.00 stars CD
Comments:

Ireland National Symphony Orchestra cond. Andrew Penny

1950 English Dances Set No 1 4.00 stars CD
Comments:

Queensland Symphony Orchestra cond. Andrew Penny

1951 English Dances Set No 2 4.00 stars CD
Comments:

Queensland Symphony Orchestra cond. Andrew Penny

1951 Sussex Overture 4.00 stars CD
Comments:

BBC Philharmonic cond. Rumon Gamba

1951 Clarinet Sonatina Opus 29 4.00 stars CD
Comments:

Michael Collins - Clarinet

1951 Oboe Sonatina Opus 28 4.00 stars CD
Comments:

Gareth Hulse - Oboe

1952 Divertimento for Flute, Oboe and Clarinet Opus 37 4.00 stars CD
Comments:
The Nash Ensemble
1952 Concerto for Oboe and Strings, Opus 39 4.00 stars CD
Comments:
London Festival Orchestra cond. Ross Pople
1953 Violin Sonata No 2 Opus 43 4.00 stars CD
Comments:
The Nash Ensemble
1953 Symphony No 2 4.00 stars CD
Comments:

Ireland National Symphony Orchestra cond. Andrew Penny

1953 Concerto for Flute and Strings No 1, Opus 45 4.00 stars CD
Comments:
London Festival Orchestra cond. Ross Pople
1953 Recorder Sonatina Opus 41 4.00 stars CD
Comments:
Member of The Nash Ensemble
1954 Sinfonietta No 1 Opus 48 4.00 stars CD
Comments:
London Festival Orchestra cond. Ross Pople
1955 Tam O'Shanter - Overture 4.00 stars CD
Comments:

BBC Philharmonic cond. Rumon Gamba

1956 Piano Trio Opus 54 4.00 stars CD
Comments:
The Nash Ensemble
1956 A Grand, Grand Overture, Op 57 4.50 stars CD
Comments:
Written for 3 vacuum cleaners, 1 floor polisher, 4 rifles and a large orchestra.

BBC Philharmonic cond. Rumon Gamba

My recording of the original 1956 concert.

The conductor sharpens his baton on a pencil sharpener, Stravinsky checks his tempi against a metronome, the tenor controls his voice with the help of knobs on his waistcoat and the Hoffnung Music Festival is underway in a riotous happening of symphonic caricature. The Hoffnung Festival Chorus, with one or two exceptions is performing with confidence and enthusiasm and the Maestro himself looks well pleased. Visiting prima donnas are perhaps rather alarming and it is a pity the Battle Symphony ends the way it does. In contrast a piscatorial Trout Quintet brings an element of calm to the scene. This book is one not to be missed.

His books with the musical cartoons helped to boost the concerts (or visa versa)

BBC Proms 2009 performance

1957 Oboe Quartet Opus 61 4.00 stars CD
Comments:
The Nash Ensemble
1957 Symphony No 3 4.00 stars CD
Comments:

Ireland National Symphony Orchestra cond. Andrew Penny

1957 Four Scottish Dances for Orchestra (Brass-band) 4.00 stars CD
Comments:

Queensland Symphony Orchestra cond. Andrew Penny

1958 Sinfonietta No 2 Opus 65 4.00 stars CD
Comments:
London Festival Orchestra cond. Ross Pople
1959 Concerto for Guitar and Chamber Orchestra, Op 67 4.00 stars LP
Julian Bream Comments:
Julian Bream - Guitar
Melos Ensemble
1960 Symphony No 4 4.00 stars CD
Comments:

Ireland National Symphony Orchestra cond. Andrew Penny

1961 Symphony No 5 4.00 stars CD
Comments:

Ireland National Symphony Orchestra cond. Andrew Penny

1961 Quintet for Brass 4.00 stars LP
Comments:

Philip Jones Brass Ensemble

1964 Sinfonietta No 3 Opus 81 4.00 stars CD
Comments:
London Festival Orchestra cond. Ross Pople
1964 Duo for Two Chellos Opus 85 4.00 stars CD
Comments:
The Nash Ensemble
1965 Five Pieces for Violin and Piano Opus 84 4.00 stars CD
Comments:
The Nash Ensemble
1966 Fantasy for Bassoon Opus 86 4.00 stars CD
Comments:
Brian Wightman - Bassoon
1966 Fantasy for Clarinet Opus 87 4.00 stars CD
Comments:
Michael Collins - Clarinet
1966 Fantasy for Horn Opus 88 4.00 stars CD
Comments:
John Pigneguy - Horn
1966 Fantasy for Flute Opus 89 4.00 stars CD
Comments:
Judith Pearce - Flute
1966 Fantasy for Oboe Opus 90 4.00 stars CD
Comments:
Gareth Hulse - Oboe
1966 Four Cornish Dances 4.00 stars CD
Comments:

Queensland Symphony Orchestra cond. Andrew Penny

1967 Symphony No 6 4.00 stars CD
Comments:

Ireland National Symphony Orchestra cond. Andrew Penny

1968 Anniversary Overture 4.00 stars CD
Comments:

BBC Philharmonic cond. Rumon Gamba

1968 Peterloo Overture 4.00 stars CD
Comments:

BBC Philharmonic cond. Rumon Gamba

1973 Symphony No 7 4.00 stars CD
Comments:

Ireland National Symphony Orchestra cond. Andrew Penny

1973 A Flourish for Orchestra 4.00 stars CD
Comments:

BBC Philharmonic cond. Rumon Gamba

1977 Flute Sonata Opus 121 4.00 stars CD
Comments:
Judith Pearce - Flute
1978 Symphony No 8 4.00 stars CD
Comments:

Ireland National Symphony Orchestra cond. Andrew Penny

1986 Four Irish Dances 4.00 stars CD
Comments:

Queensland Symphony Orchestra cond. Andrew Penny

1986 Symphony No 9 4.00 stars CD
Comments:

Ireland National Symphony Orchestra cond. Andrew Penny

1988 Four Welsh Dances 4.00 stars CD
Comments:

Queensland Symphony Orchestra cond. Andrew Penny

1988 Robert Kett Overture 4.00 stars CD
Comments:

BBC Philharmonic cond. Rumon Gamba