Malcolm Arnold Festival returns
Written by Steve Scoles on October 2, 2019
Partnerships is the theme of the 14th Malcolm Arnold Festival. This annual weekend, packed with live music, films and talks on the multi-faceted composer and his music. Featuring the BBC Concert Orchestra as well as talented performers from around the region and family-friendly concerts suitable for all ages, the Festival takes place in the composer’s birthplace, Northampton, on Saturday 12 and Sunday 13 October at Royal & Derngate, St Matthew’s Church and Malcolm Arnold Academy.
Introducing the theme of Partnerships, Festival Director Paul Harris said, “We have highlighted some fascinating and fruitful friendships, including those of fellow-composers, Ruth Gipps and Shostakovich. As always, we’ve tried to include music from many of the different genres represented in the composer’s extensive output. There is a plethora of orchestral music; we’re delighted to be welcoming five different orchestras to perform overtures, symphonies, film scores, dances and ballets and there is music for chamber ensemble, duos, solo instruments and voice.”
This year’s Gala Concert, on Sunday 13 October, features the BBC Concert Orchestra under their Conductor Laureate, Barry Wordsworth, showcasing two masterworks by Arnold both from the coronation year, 1953; Homage to the Queen, a suite from his ballet, and the contrasting yet characteristic Symphony No.2, alongside major works by Shostakovich; his Age of Gold suite and ever-popular Piano Concerto No.2 with soloist, Rose McLachlan.
On Saturday 12 October, the evening’s programme will be given by the Northampton Symphony Orchestra under Chief Conductor and festival regular, John Gibbons. Pieces include Arnold’s dramatic Peterloo Overture, together with the composer’s film music to Stolen Face – a ‘Hammer Horror’ picture, along with Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto No. 2, performed by Rhythmie Wong, and Tchaikovsky’s Romeo and Juliet Overture.