Prolific composer Malcolm Arnold (1921-2006): an appreciation

Posted on: November 30, 2021

“Five years ago, an advertisement was placed on eBay…. It turned out to be the manuscript of Malcolm Arnold’s Seventh Symphony, a work that had been thought lost,” writes Hugh Morris in Friday’s (11/26) New York Times. “It is probable that Arnold, during the period he suffered acutely from debilitating mental illness and was placed under the financial jurisdiction of the United Kingdom’s Court of Protection, bartered the score to help cover a debt…. He wrote nine symphonies, seven ballets, more than 20 concertos and 132 film scores, winning an Academy Award for ‘The Bridge on the River Kwai,’ before dying in 2006, at 84…. This year, the 100th anniversary of Arnold’s birth, … Arnold’s documents from the time he was under the care of the Court of Protection … will be relocated to the National Archives…. His work was stubbornly, unfashionably tonal, and frequently witty… Arnold’s hugely varied output included a crossover milestone: conducting the Concerto for Group and Orchestra, for the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and the rock band Deep Purple, whose organist, Jon Lord, wrote it…. His orchestrations gleam…. He was a first-rate trumpeter, eventually gaining the principal chair in the London Philharmonic, and he knew exactly what worked and what didn’t.”