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Paul Harris announces his plans for this year’s Malcolm Arnold Festival!

“I am delighted to be able to announce details of the third Malcolm Arnold Festival to take place at the Royal and Derngate Theatre on the weekend of October 18th and 19th. Again we have a sparkling weekend of wonderful events that include much music – some familiar, some rare, as well as a number of fascinating talks. 

The weekend begins with the unveiling of a new bronze sculpture of Sir Malcolm, (thanks to the Malcolm Arnold Society!), which will then be permanently on display at the Royal and Derngate.  One of the world’s greatest guitarists and close friend of Sir Malcolm, Julian Bream will be there as guest of honour and will unveil the bust.

The opening two events look at Sir Malcolm at the extremes of his life.  The first, which I’ve rather scurrilously entitled FOOT! will include some of his early chamber music written during the war years.  The recital, given by the ever excellent Intriplicate Plus, will include the delightful Quintet Op 7, the Trio for Flute, Viola and Bassoon and the wonderfully resourceful Duo for Flute and Viola as well as some early piano pieces.  If you haven’t worked out the significance of the title all will be revealed at the concert!  This will be followed by a talk by Philip Wood on the late works.  Dr Wood was a pupil of Sir Malcolm’s and was with him when he wrote his very last music.  The talk will include performance of the enigmatic Three Fantasies for Piano and the Divertimento for Two Clarinets.

After lunch we will be treated to a rare performance of the one-act opera The Open Window. To make this event even more exciting, one of the original cast, Niven Miller, will be our guest.Sir Malcolm wrote a significant quantity of music for the voice and we shall be hearing a good deal of it this year.  Then we welcome two wonderful young players who will give a recital of the two violin sonatas and the two flute sonatas.  Music that allows all sorts of intimate insights into Malcolm’s compositional thinking.   The evening concert is a double first!  It will be held just up the road at St Matthews Church where, as a young boy, Malcolm often performed on his trumpet, and where later his Laudate Dominum was first performed.  In fact this concert, devoted to his choral music is, as far as I know, the first time such a programme has been put together.  We will hear all the choral music plus the beautiful and haunting John Clare Cantata.

Sunday morning begins with a rare chance to hear a recording of Sir Malcolm’s appearance on Desert Island Discs as well as a surprise!  The terrific Northamptonshire County Youth Orchestra and Wind Band will then present a concert of Arnold orchestral music.  The afternoon begins with a look at Malcolm Arnold the film music composer.  This year we will focus on his music for the 1961 film No Love for Jonnie, considered to be director Ralph Thomas’s finest achievement. We will be joined by the actress Mary Peach, who starred in the film alongside Peter Finch.

Then another very exciting event – the complete guitar music played by the hugely talented young player Milos Karadaglic.  Included will be a performance of the Guitar Concerto and Julian Bream (for whom all the guitar was written) will be there!

For the final event the conductor Andrew Penny will talk about the Nine Symphonies and his celebrated recordings on Naxos.

So … again we look forward to seeing you for what promises to be another fantastic weekend”.

©Paul Harris 2008

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