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Sir Malcolm Arnold’s preference for classical forms is fully explored in this representative but uniquely distinctive programme. Orchestrations of earlier works form the lyrical Concertino for Flute and Strings and a Saxophone Concerto whose bold statements foreshadow the gritty and powerful Symphony for Strings. Arnold’s virtuoso Fantasy for Recorder and String Quartet is a late work, and the Cello Concerto was the composer’s last in this form; a piece which speaks directly from the soul, appearing here in its première recording.
Malcolm Arnold: Concertino for Flute and Strings, Op. 19a (arr. D. Ellis from Flute Sonatina)
Malcolm Arnold: Fantasy for Recorder and String Quartet, Op. 140 (2001 revised version)
I. Andante e mesto
III. Lento e mesto
Malcolm Arnold: Saxophone Concerto (arr. D. Ellis from Piano Sonata)
I. Allegro ma non troppo
II. Andante con moto
III. Alla marcia
Malcolm Arnold: Symphony for Strings, Op. 13
I. Allegro ma non troppo
II. Andantino, quasi allegretto
III. Allegro feroce
15th September 2011
“Arnold’s Cello Concerto, written in 1988 for Julian Lloyd Webber, fully justifies its resurrection thanks to its characteristic mix of vitality, broad melody and taut compositional procedures. Raphael Wallfisch and the NCO relish its expressive and enlivening potential, the orchestra coming into its own again in the much earlier, flavoursome Symphony for Strings”
“[The Cello's Concerto] idiom ought to be too thin, but somehow it isn't: instead it's lean, clean, and uncannily precise...the Symphony for Strings remains one of his most impressive creations restlessly and probingly inventive. All the performances are excellent, each of them palpably savouring the composer's diamond-sharp craftsmanship; Raphael Wallfisch's mellow-toned virtuosity excells even in this company.”
“The Northern Chamber Orchestra and the Manchester Sinfonia respectively deliver crisp, intelligent readings, supporting two stellar soloist performances. In the Cello Concerto, Wallfisch encapsulates Arnold's peculiarly British musical sensibility brilliantly, giving us pithy severity one moment and personal, lyrical expansiveness the next. John Turner's recorder performance is a virtuoso tour de force.”
“[The Cello Concerto] emerges as an attractively clean-cut, formidably concentrated offering...The Symphony for Strings comprises another tautly argued, three-movement creation...The performances span a period of some five years (and emanate from no fewer than four different venues) but are never less than expert and thoroughly dedicated. No true Arnold enthusiast will want to miss this valuable release.”
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