Monday, August 07, 2006

Recommended cure for Shostakovich fatigue

The BBC Proms may have ignored him, but On An Overgrown Path can exclusively announce that Decca are doing Sir Malcolm Arnold proud in his 85th birthday year. The Malcolm Arnold Edition is the largest-ever collection of his music. It embraces 61 works, assembled in three Volumes totalling no less than 13 CDs.

At the core of The Malcolm Arnold Edition are the 44 Arnold works recorded by Conifer Classics in the 1980’s and ‘90s. The Conifer Arnold project began at a time when Arnold’s concert music was still largely ignored. It contributed greatly to the re-evaluation of Arnold as a composer of concert music and the revival of his popularity. It includes many works recorded for the first time. The composer was in attendance at many of the recording sessions.

The Conifer recordings feature one of the senior British conductors, Vernon Handley, who conducts the large orchestral works. Works for chamber orchestra are in the hands of the exciting chamber orchestra London Musici under their dynamic Music Director Mark Stephenson. The concerto soloists represent the cream of British artists, some of them the concertos’ dedicatees.

The Malcolm Arnold Edition also includes Decca recordings of Arnold’s music, from the premiere recording of the English Dances under Sir Adrian Boult to recordings by later artists. As a special bonus track Decca have included the rare 1947 recording of Sir Malcolm as principal trumpet in the first recording of his overture “Beckus the Dandipratt”, with the London Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Eduard van Beinum.

Full track listings of the Malcolm Arnold Edition and more information are available via this link.

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1 comment:

Pliable said...

The link with Shostakovich is not just a convenient headline. 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 UK 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.

The Peterloo Massacre of August 16, 1819 was the result of a cavalry charge into the crowd at a public meeting at St Peter's Field, Manchester, England. It is also called the Manchester Massacre. Eleven people were killed and over 400, including many women and children, were injured.

The meeting had been organized by the Manchester Patriotic Union Society, a political group that agitated for radical parliamentary reform and the repeal of the corn laws.