Malcolm Arnold (1921- 2006) [Composer Of The Week]

Episodes

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201901Arnold's Many Personalities20191111

Donald Macleod journeys through some of the contrasting sides of Sir Malcolm Arnold and his music.

Sir Malcolm Arnold was a prolific composer, writing music in many different genres ranging from nine symphonies and over twenty concertos, to chamber music, music for brass bands and nearly one hundred and twenty film scores. These many works for film include classics such as Hobson’s Choice, Whistle Down the Wind, the St Trinian’s films, and The Bridge on the River Kwai for which he won an Oscar. He composed works for some of the very top performers in the music industry including Julian Bream, Julian Lloyd Webber, Larry Adler, Frederic Thurston, Benny Goodman, and collaborated with the likes of Deep Purple and Gerard Hoffnung. His music crossed social boundaries and gave pleasure to so many, and yet his personal life was marred by alcoholism, depression and periods of hospitalisation. He’s been described as a larger than life character, outrageous, Falstaffian, Bohemian, and some of the stories which circulated about Arnold have become the stuff of legend.

Across the week Donald Macleod traces Sir Malcolm Arnold’s life through exploring five different influences upon the composer’s music, from his love of Cornwall and Ireland, to his own mental and emotional wellbeing. In today’s programme the focus is upon the many different and contrasting sides of Arnold’s character and its impact upon his music.

Some of Arnold’s best loved scores may be full of fun, such as his music for the Hoffnung festivals, but his works could also have a much darker character as well. The slow movement in his second symphony depicts lamenting shades of Mahler, and his first string quartet has influences of Bartok. In his early career Arnold also led a double life between trumpeter, and composer. The composer won the day, and yet despite his often highly turbulent personal life, Arnold could compose music which has stood the test of time. His ever popular first set of English Dances for example, was composed not long after he’d been released from an asylum.

The Belles of St Trinian’s (Prelude)
Paul Janes, piano
BBC Philharmonic Orchestra
Rumon Gamba, conductor

Symphony No 2, Op 40 (Lento)
London Symphony Orchestra
Richard Hickox, conductor

String Quartet No 1, Op 23
Maggini Quartet

Clarinet Sonatina, Op 29
Michael Collins, clarinet
Michael McHale, piano

English Dances Set 1, Op 27
The Philharmonia
Bryden Thomson, conductor

Produced by Luke Whitlock, for BBC Wales

If you are experiencing emotional stress, help and support is available.
Emotional distress
https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/articles/4WLs5NlwrySXJR2n8Snszdg/emotional-distress-information-and-support

Mental health
https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/articles/1NGvFrTqWChr03LrYlw2Hkk/information-and-support-mental-health

Donald Macleod explores some of the different sides of Malcolm Arnold.

Donald Macleod offers a weekly guide to composers and their music.

201902Arnold's Celtic Connections20191112

Donald Macleod explores the influence of Cornwall and Ireland upon Malcolm Arnold and his music.

Sir Malcolm Arnold was a prolific composer, writing music in many different genres ranging from nine symphonies and over twenty concertos, to chamber music, music for brass bands and nearly one hundred and twenty film scores. These many works for film include classics such as Hobson’s Choice, Whistle Down the Wind, the St Trinian’s films, and The Bridge on the River Kwai for which he won an Oscar. He composed works for some of the very top performers in the music industry including Julian Bream, Julian Lloyd Webber, Larry Adler, Frederic Thurston, Benny Goodman, and collaborated with the likes of Deep Purple and Gerard Hoffnung. His music crossed social boundaries and gave pleasure to so many, and yet his personal life was marred by alcoholism, depression and periods of hospitalisation. He’s been described as a larger than life character, outrageous, Falstaffian, Bohemian, and some of the stories which circulated about Arnold have become the stuff of legend.

Across the week Donald Macleod traces Sir Malcolm Arnold’s life through exploring five different influences upon the composer’s music, from his eclectic interest in different kinds of musical genres, to his own mental and emotional wellbeing. In today’s programme the focus is upon the influence of Cornwall and Ireland upon Arnold’s life and creativity.

Sir Malcolm Arnold spent much time holidaying in Cornwall and eventually living there. It would become a significant home for Arnold, often providing the inspiration and setting to compose many works including his Four Cornish Dances, Three Sea Shanties and Fantasy for Guitar. Ireland would also provide a similar role for Arnold, although his troubled personal life also had a great influence upon his music including the Eighth Symphony, and his Philharmonic Concerto.

Three Shanties, Op 4 (Allegro vivace)
Jaime Martin, flute
Jonathan Kelly, oboe
Emma Johnson, clarinet
Claire Briggs, horn
Susanna Cohen, bassoon

Four Cornish Dances, Op 91
The Philharmonia,
Bryden Thomson, conductor

Fantasy for Guitar, Op 107
Sean Shibe, guitar

Symphony No 8, Op 124 (Allegro)
National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland
Andrew Penny, conductor

Philharmonic Concerto, Op 120
London Philharmonic Orchestra
Bernard Haitink, conductor

Produced by Luke Whitlock, for BBC Wales

If you are experiencing emotional stress, help and support is available.
Emotional distress
https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/articles/4WLs5NlwrySXJR2n8Snszdg/emotional-distress-information-and-support

Mental health
https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/articles/1NGvFrTqWChr03LrYlw2Hkk/information-and-support-mental-health

Donald Macleod delves into Malcolm Arnold's Celtic connections.

Donald Macleod offers a weekly guide to composers and their music.

201903Arnold's Hoover And Floor Polisher20191113

Donald Macleod traces some of the many diverse musical influences upon Sir Malcolm Arnold’s works.

Sir Malcolm Arnold was a prolific composer, writing music in many different genres ranging from nine symphonies and over twenty concertos, to chamber music, music for brass bands and nearly one hundred and twenty film scores. These many works for film include classics such as Hobson’s Choice, Whistle Down the Wind, the St Trinian’s films, and The Bridge on the River Kwai for which he won an Oscar. He composed works for some of the very top performers in the music industry including Julian Bream, Julian Lloyd Webber, Larry Adler, Frederic Thurston, Benny Goodman, and collaborated with the likes of Deep Purple and Gerard Hoffnung. His music crossed social boundaries and gave pleasure to so many, and yet his personal life was marred by alcoholism, depression and periods of hospitalisation. He’s been described as a larger than life character, outrageous, Falstaffian, Bohemian, and some of the stories which circulated about Arnold have become the stuff of legend.

Across the week Donald Macleod traces Sir Malcolm Arnold’s life through exploring five different influences upon the composer’s music, from his love of Cornwall and Ireland, to his own mental and emotional wellbeing. In today’s programme the focus is upon the many eclectic influences upon Arnold’s own music.

Sir Malcolm Arnold didn’t like to be boxed into being one type of composer. His range of works testify to this, including both traditional symphonies, to more obscure works including a concerto for Eater, Waiter, Food and Orchestra. His Organ Concerto demonstrates the influences of Handel and Bach, and Jazz permeates through his Concerto for Two Pianos (3 Hands). A Grand, Grand Overture is very different, and not only displays his mastery as an orchestrator, but includes some rather unusual soloists, three hoovers and a floor polisher.

Suite Bourgeoise for flute, oboe and piano (Tango)
Nancy Ruffer, flute
John Anderson, oboe
Helen Crayford, piano

Concerto for Organ and Orchestra, Op 47
Ulrik Spang-Hanssen
Royal Aarhus Academy of Music Symphony Orchestra
Douglas Bostock, conductor

A Grand Grand Overture, Op 57
Jane Glover, hoover
Christopher Laing, hoover
Bill Oddie, hoover
Donald Swann, hoover
Philharmonia Orchestra
Michael Massey, conductor

Symphony No 4, Op 71 (Allegro)
Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra
Vernon Handley, conductor

Concerto for Two Pianos (3 Hands), Op 104
David Nettle, piano
Richard Markham, piano
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Vernon Handley, conductor

Produced by Luke Whitlock, for BBC Wales

If you are experiencing emotional stress, help and support is available.
Emotional distress
https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/articles/4WLs5NlwrySXJR2n8Snszdg/emotional-distress-information-and-support

Mental health
https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/articles/1NGvFrTqWChr03LrYlw2Hkk/information-and-support-mental-health

Donald Macleod explores Malcolm Arnold's diverse musical influences.

Donald Macleod offers a weekly guide to composers and their music.

201904Arnold The People's Composer20191114

Donald Macleod traces Malcolm Arnold’s own interest in being a composer for the people.

Sir Malcolm Arnold was a prolific composer, writing music in many different genres ranging from nine symphonies and over twenty concertos, to chamber music, music for brass bands and nearly one hundred and twenty film scores. These many works for film include classics such as Hobson’s Choice, Whistle Down the Wind, the St Trinian’s films, and The Bridge on the River Kwai for which he won an Oscar. He composed works for some of the very top performers in the music industry including Julian Bream, Julian Lloyd Webber, Larry Adler, Frederic Thurston, Benny Goodman, and collaborated with the likes of Deep Purple and Gerard Hoffnung. His music crossed social boundaries and gave pleasure to so many, and yet his personal life was marred by alcoholism, depression and periods of hospitalisation. He’s been described as a larger than life character, outrageous, Falstaffian, Bohemian, and some of the stories which circulated about Arnold have become the stuff of legend.

Across the week Donald Macleod journeys through Sir Malcolm Arnold’s life by exploring five different influences upon the composer’s music, from his love of Cornwall and Ireland, to his own mental and emotional wellbeing. In today’s programme the focus is upon Arnold’s interest to be a composer for the people, and the music he composed away from the rigidity of the concert hall.

Malcolm Arnold had a passion for Cornwall, and one of his best loved works, The Padstow Lifeboat, was composed for the launching of the new lifeboat in Padstow because the coxswain was a great brass band enthusiast. Arnold also wrote many works for brass bands, including a Fantasy. This was commissioned for the National Brass Band Championships in 1974, and as a test piece, received nineteen first performances at the Royal Albert Hall. Arnold often composed for youth orchestras as well, although his dependence upon alcohol sometimes caused issues when working with young musicians.

The Padstow Lifeboat, Op 94
Grimethorpe Colliery Band
Malcolm Arnold, conductor

Divertimento for flute, oboe and clarinet, Op 37
James Galway, flute
Gareth Hulse, oboe
Antony Pay, clarinet

Little Suite No 1, Op 53
City of London Sinfonia
Richard Hickox, conductor

Fantasy for Brass Band, Op 114
Grimethorpe Colliery Band
Elgar Howarth, conductor

Concerto for Two Violins, Op 77
Igor Gruppman, violin
Vesna Gruppman, violin
San Diego Chamber Orchestra
Donald Barra, conductor

Produced by Luke Whitlock, for BBC Wales

If you are experiencing emotional stress, help and support is available.
Emotional distress
https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/articles/4WLs5NlwrySXJR2n8Snszdg/emotional-distress-information-and-support

Mental health
https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/articles/1NGvFrTqWChr03LrYlw2Hkk/information-and-support-mental-health

Donald Macleod explores Arnold the people's composer.

Donald Macleod offers a weekly guide to composers and their music.

201905Malcolm Arnold's Demons20191115

Donald Macleod explores Malcolm Arnold’s personal demons including alcoholism and subsequent breakdowns.

Sir Malcolm Arnold was a prolific composer, writing music in many different genres ranging from nine symphonies and over twenty concertos, to chamber music, music for brass bands and nearly one hundred and twenty film scores. These many works for film include classics such as Hobson’s Choice, Whistle Down the Wind, the St Trinian’s films, and The Bridge on the River Kwai for which he won an Oscar. He composed works for some of the very top performers in the music industry including Julian Bream, Julian Lloyd Webber, Larry Adler, Frederic Thurston, Benny Goodman, and collaborated with the likes of Deep Purple and Gerard Hoffnung. His music crossed social boundaries and gave pleasure to so many, and yet his personal life was marred by alcoholism, depression and periods of hospitalisation. He’s been described as a larger than life character, outrageous, Falstaffian, Bohemian, and some of the stories which circulated about Arnold have become the stuff of legend.

Across the week Donald Macleod journeys through Sir Malcolm Arnold’s life by exploring five different influences upon the composer’s music, from his love of Cornwall and Ireland, to his interest in being a composer for the people. In today’s programme the focus is upon Arnold’s personal life including alcoholism, emotional and mental breakdowns, to periods in hospital and asylums.

Sir Malcolm Arnold had a dependence upon alcohol for much of his life. He also had a history of poor mental and emotional health, and at times was violent towards others. On many occasions he was admitted to a hospital, or an asylum, and experienced insulin shock treatment, and electro convulsive therapy. His life was far from idyllic, and yet his music gave great pleasure to so many, including his film scores for Hobson’s Choice and The Sound Barrier, to what many consider his best symphony, the Fifth.

Hobson’s Choice (Overture)
London Symphony Orchestra
Richard Hickox, conductor

The Sound Barrier
London Symphony Orchestra
Richard Hickox, conductor

Five Blake Songs, Op 66 No 3 (Allegretto – “How sweet I roamed from field to field”)
Five Blake Songs, Op 66 No 4 (Andante con moto – “My silks and fine array”)
Pamela Bowden, contralto
BBC Northern Orchestra
Malcolm Arnold, conductor

Symphony No 5, Op 74
City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra
Malcolm Arnold, conductor

Produced by Luke Whitlock, for BBC Wales

If you are experiencing emotional stress, help and support is available.
Emotional distress
https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/articles/4WLs5NlwrySXJR2n8Snszdg/emotional-distress-information-and-support

Mental health
https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/articles/1NGvFrTqWChr03LrYlw2Hkk/information-and-support-mental-health

Donald Macleod delves into Malcolm Arnold's personal demons.

Donald Macleod offers a weekly guide to composers and their music.