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Malcolm Arnold

Publisher: Novello & Co

Concerto No 1 for Flute & Strings (1954)
Publisher
Paterson Publications
Category
Soloist(s) and Orchestra
Year Composed
1954
Duration
13 Minutes
Solo Instrument(s)
flute
Orchestration
Programme Note
Malcolm Arnold Concerto No 1 for Flute & Strings (1954)
Composed in 1954, nearly twenty years before the Flute Concerto No. 2, the Concerto for Flute and Strings bears the hallmarks of a younger, brasher style. The dissonances are sardonic rather than melancholy, sarcastic rather than despairing, and although the first movement is tinged with the melancholy of G Minor, the clear optimism of G major lends vigour to the ebullient rhythms of the finale. Here there is no hard-won battle for the final triumph of a single major chord; indeed, there is scarcely a battle at all, even during the whirlwind flurry of the G minor passage-work in the first movement. This Allegro energico is typical of Arnold's preoccupations during these years; biting dissonances are emphasised by sharply pointed rhythms, anxious ostinato figures in the orchestra bring disquiet to long-breathed melodies in the solo line and the solo line itself encompasses lyrical cantilena, brittle staccato arpeggios and brilliant running figures, revealing the varied qualities of the instrument in the hands of a virtuoso.

The Andante is also paralleled by similar movements in Arnold's output around this time. The apparent complacency of its bland opening is soon shaken by questioning harmonies and jagged rhythms but even the most violent outbursts cannot prevent the final achievement of tranquillity. The finale, like others of this period marked by Arnold to be played "with fire", is an extrovert dash through G major. It is not without a pointed play of cross-rhythms to give bite to those insistent tonic chords, however, and it has a carefully judged rhythmic framework in the orchestra to set off those passages where the soloist hurtles full-tilt through bars of semiquavers.


© 1980 Margaret Archibald

  • Ensemble
    Academy of St Martin in the Fields
    Soloist(s)
    James Galway, flute / Gareth Hulse, oboe / Anthony Pay, clarinet / Rachel Gough and Philip Eastop, winds
    Conductor
    Sir Neville Marriner
  • Ensemble
    New Zealand Chamber Orchestra
    Soloist(s)
    Alexa Still, flute
    Conductor
    Nicholas Braithwaite
    Koch International Classics:
  • Ensemble
    New Zealand Chamber Orchestra
    Soloist(s)
    Alexa Still, flute / Emmanuelle Boisvert, violin / Pauline Martin, piano
    Conductor
    Nicholas Braithwaite
    Koch:
  • Ensemble
    London Festival Orchestra
    Soloist(s)
    Anna Pyne, flute / Malcolm Messiter, oboe
    Conductor
    Ross Pople
    Arte Nova:
  • Ensemble
    London Musici/ Royal Philharmonic Orchestra/ BOurnemouth Symphony Orchestra/ English Chamber Orchestra
    Soloist(s)
    Nicholas Daniel/ Karen Jones/ Michael Collins/ Richard Watkins/ David Nettle/ Richard Markham/ Tommy Reilly/ Eduardo Fernandez
    Conductor
    Mark Stephenson/ Vernon Handley/ Okko Kamu
    Conifer Records Limited:
  • Ensemble
    Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra
    Soloist(s)
    Janet Hilton (clarinet), Alan Civil (horn), Gordon Hunt (oboe), Richard Adeney (flute)
    Conductor
    Norman Del Mar
    EMI Classics:
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