Monday, 6 June 2011

The Malcolm Arnold Festival 2011

All Nine Symphonies to be performed at 
The Malcolm Arnold Festival 2011

Tickets are now on sale for The Malcolm Arnold Festival, and this year it’s celebrating the composer’s 90th birthday with a unique opportunity to hear all of the composer’s nine symphonies, performed by eight orchestras, in just one weekend. 
The Festival - which is in its 6th year at the Royal & Derngate in Northampton - is to be officially opened on October 21st by the actor Robert Hardy. Fondly remembered for his role as Siegfried Farnon in All Creatures Great and Small, Hardy first appeared at the 2nd Malcolm Arnold Festival, where he reprised his 1956 role in The Tempest (an Old Vic production for which Arnold had written the incidental music).
In addition to Arnold’s wonderful music - which he always viewed as a ‘gesture of friendship’ between himself and the listener - a celebrity guest will introduce each of the symphonies. Piers Burton Page - Arnold’s first biographer – will introduce the 1st and 2nd symphonies, while the legendary orchestral trombonist Denis Wick will introduce the 3rd symphony.  
Professional timpanist Ben Hoffnung introduces Arnold’s personal favourite: the 5th symphony. The piece itself contains a tuba solo at the end of the first movement, which was written as a tribute to Ben’s father, Gerard Hoffnung. As a keen disciple of jazz, Arnold developed a respect for his fellow musicians and not only enjoyed writing for individual instruments, but tried to express the personalities of specific players. The work also includes references to horn-player Dennis Brain and clarinettist Jack Thurston.
The Cambridge Symphony Orchestra, the Slaithwaite Philharmonic and the Hull Philharmonic join a huge roster of players, which includes no less than three youth orchestras. Andrew Penny, who has recorded all of Arnold’s symphonies for Naxos, conducts both the Hull Philharmonic and the East Riding Youth Orchestra.
The weekend will also be punctuated by talks and many of Arnold’s shorter and smaller-scale works, written at around the same time as each symphony.