Concertos Take Centre Stage at This Year’s Malcolm Arnold Festival

United KingdomUnited Kingdom Concertos Take Centre Stage at This Year’s Malcolm Arnold Festival 

The 8th Malcolm Arnold Festival returns to the composer’s birthplace, Northampton, on Saturday 19th and Sunday 20th October 2013 (at Royal and Derngate) with a diverse programme to focus on the composer’s Concertos.  The Festival is to be opened by Dame Monica Mason, former Director of the Royal Ballet.

“Building on the success of recent years, over the next two Festivals, we are going to hear most of Sir Malcolm’s concertos”, explains Paul Harris, Festival Director, and this year we have the Organ, Guitar, Recorder, 2nd  Clarinet and 2nd Flute concertos.True to form, one can find every aspect of Sir Malcolm’s many-dimensional personality in these works.  His mischievous nature is particularly apparent in the 2nd Clarinet Concerto and in the Recorder Concerto.  But by contrast the slow movement theme from the very same Clarinet Concerto is one of the most melancholy you will ever hear…he is truly a multi-faceted composer.”

Dame Monica Mason is to open the Festival at 11am on Saturday 19th October.

Dame Monica danced the part of Clytemnestra in the World Premiere of Arnold’s ‘Electra’, and was Director of the Royal Ballet from 2002 to 2012.  A specially-commissioned piece, ‘A Fanfare for Malcolm’, by the talented young composer, Toby Young, who won the Malcolm Arnold composition competition in 2010, will also feature.

Both Arnold’s works for guitar and orchestra; the exceptional Guitar Concerto and the beautiful Serenade, will be performed by The Berkeley Ensemble, who are well-known for championing British music.  Their programme will also include a World Premiere by the Festival’s new musical peer, Michael Berkeley. Festival regular, John Gibbons will be conducting the Ealing Symphony Orchestra in a family-friendly afternoon concert, to include a rare performance of Arnold’s Organ Concerto, the suite from ‘Sweeney Todd’, the Recorder Concerto and a performance of the enduringly popular ‘Peter and the Wolf’ by Prokofiev.

Julian Metzger will be bringing his Piano Trio, the Pizzetti, to perform ‘The Hobson’s Choice’ Trio, as well as Five pieces for Violin and Piano.  Northampton County Youth Orchestra will be making a welcome return to perform a range of orchestral music to include the ‘Anniversary’ Overture, the rarely performed ‘Water Music’ and the stirring ‘Peterloo’.  A vocal recital, perversely entitled ‘I’ve never much cared for writing songs’, will be performed by soprano, Claire Thompson, and ‘The Turtle Drum’; Arnold’s work for young singers and small ensemble, will receive a performance by members of the Malcolm Arnold Academy.  The Royal Northern College of Music String Quartet will be playing both of the composer’s String Quartets.

The Festival concludes in suitably exuberant style with a gala concert given by the Worthing Orchestra, under John Gibbons entitled: ‘Movie Classics’ to include excerpts from popular film music including: ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ and ‘Out of Africa’, Alwyn’s dramatic ‘Odd Man Out’, Gershwin’s ‘Rhapsody in Blue’ and Malcolm Arnold’s ‘Inn of the Sixth Happiness’ and ‘You know what Sailors are’.  Making a special appearance will be clarinettist, Julian Bliss – who will be the soloist in Arnold’s hugely popular 2nd Clarinet Concerto – and the programme ends with an audience favourite; Ravel’s ‘Bolero’.

Other highlights of the Festival include a number of informative talks and events, including the launch of a new book on the Concertos by Timothy Bowers entitled Strings, Winds, Pipes, and Pianos & Food

For more information on The Malcolm Arnold Festival including the full programme, visit The Festival can also be found on Facebook and Twitter.