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Malcolm Arnold

Publisher: Novello & Co

Symphony No 2 (1953)
Paterson Publications
Sub Category
Large Orchestra
Year Composed
30 Minutes

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Programme Note
Malcolm Arnold Symphony No 2 (1953)
Sir Malcolm Arnold’s Second Symphony was commissioned by the Winter Garden’s Society, Bournemouth, and is dedicated to Charles Groves and the Bournemouth Municipal Orchestra, “in celebration of the Diamond Jubilee of the orchestra”; they gave the first performance on 25th May 1953. The composer himself says of this symphony:

“The work is in E flat, the movement rising successively by a major third in tonality, so that the final movement is back in the home key again (i.e. 1. E flat, 2. G minor, 3. B minor, 4. E flat).

1. Allegretto
The first movement is in sonata form – first subject on the solo clarinet, second subject on the flute and oboe in A major. In the recapitulation, the first subject is played by the wind only and the strings join in with the second subject in the tonic key of E flat. The three chords which open the movement play an important part in the general scheme, from accompanying the first subject to making up a melodic passage on their own. If this movement expresses the quiet joy of being alive on a fine summer’s day, then it is successful.

2. Vivace
The Second movement, a scherzo, could be called a variation on two chords (B flat – G – F sharp – D: C – A – E – C sharp) which are stated by the four horns in the first few bars.

3. Lento
The third movement is elegiac in character and builds up to a slow march played by the wind only. The quiet but insistent tolling of a bell is of importance throughout the movement.

4. Allegro con brio
The last movement is based on two themes and is very light-hearted. The first is a gay dance introduced by the woodwind; the second is played by the brass in three-part counterpoint.

  • Ensemble
    National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland
    Andrew Penny
  • Ensemble
    Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra
    Sir Charles Groves
  • Ensemble
    London Symphony Orchestra
    Richard Hickox
  • Ensemble
    Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
    Vernon Handley
  • Ensemble
    Royal Philharmonic Orchestra/Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra/Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra/ BBC Concert Orchestra
    Vernon Handley
    Conifer Records Limited:
  • Ensemble
    Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra / Royal Philharmonic Orchestra / City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra / Philharmonia Orchestra
    Malcolm Arnold
    EMI Classics:
  • 10 FEB 2018
    Riverside Church, New York, NY
    Manhattan School of Music
    Nathan Hetherington, Brian Worsdale, conductor

    Other Dates:
    12 May - Riverside Church, New York, NY
  • 18 DEC 2016
    ACS International School, Cobham, UK
    Stoneleigh Youth Orchestra
    Robert Hodge, conductor
  • 02 MAR 2016
    Adelaides, Bath Street, Glasgow
    Glasgow Symphony Orchestra
    Tommy Fowler, conductor
  • 18 OCT 2015
    Derngate Theatre, Northampton, UK
    Northamptonshire County Youth Orchestra
    Andy Kirkwood and Richard Roper, conductor
  • 28 JUN 2015
    Shiplake College, Henley on Thames, UK
    Henley Symphony Orchestra
    Ian Brown, conductor
  • 27 JUN 2015
    Northampton High School, UK
    Northamptonshire County Youth Orchestra
    Richard Roper, conductor
  • 18 JUN 2014
    Roach Hall, James Forbes Academy Hawthorn, Australia
    Scotch College Symphony Orchestra
    John Ferguson, conductor
  • 09 NOV 2013
    St Michaels Church, Macclesfield
    King Edward Musical Society
    Anthony Houghton, conductor
  • 04 JUN 2012
    Piggotts Music Camp
    Piggotts Music Camp
    Adrian Brown, conductor
  • 21 OCT 2011
    Derngate Theatre, Northampton
    Cambridgeshire Symphony Orchestra
    Stephen Bingham, conductor
  • 01 APR 2011
    All Saints Church, Carshalton
    Sutton Music Service
  • 09 JUL 2010
    St Helens Town Hall, UK
    St Helens Sinfonietta
  • 19 MAR 2010
    San Diego, CA
    SDSU Symphony Orchestra
    Matthew Rowe, conductor
  • 09 OCT 2009
    Ulster Hall, Belfast
    Ulster Orchestra
    John Lubbock, conductor
  • 01 FEB 2008
    Oakland, Rutland
    Oakham School
  • 24 NOV 2007
    St. Martin's Church, Ealing, London
    Ealing Symphony Orchestra
  • 28 NOV 2006
    St. John's, Smith Square, London
    Kensington Symphony Orchestra
    Russell Keable, conductor
  • 26 NOV 2006
    St. Paul's Church, London
    Stoneleigh Youth Orchestra
    Adrian Brown, conductor
  • 04 MAR 2006
    St. Giles Church, Northampton
    Northampton Symphony Orchestra
    Graham Tear, conductor
  • 04 FEB 2006
    St. John's, Waterloo
    Westminster Philharmonic Orchestra
    Jonathan Butcher, conductor
  • 13 JUL 2005
    Grant Park Music Festival
    Jay Pritzker Pavilion, Chicago
    Grant Park Symphony Orchestra
    James Paul, conductor
  • 23 MAR 2005
    Duke's Hall, Royal Academy of Music
    Orchestra of Wells Cathedral School
    Christopher Adey, conductor
  • 25 SEP 2004
    Esplanade Theare on the Bay, Sinapore
    Evergreen Symphony Orchestra
  • 12 JUN 2004
    Morning on 3, BBC Radio 3
    London Symphony Orchestra
    Richard Hickox, conductor
  • 28 AUG 2003
    Central Halls, Edinburgh
    NAYO's Festival of British Youth Operas

    Other Dates:
    30 August - RSAMD, Glasgow
  • 19 FEB 2003
    - Glen Pavilion, Dunfermline, Scotland
    NAYO's Festival of British Youth Orchestras

    Other Dates:
    21 February - - Madras College, St Andrews
  • 16 FEB 2003
    Guy Nelson Hall, Warwick
    City of Coventry Youth Symphony Orchestra
    Brian Chappell, conductor
  • 07 DEC 2002
    Ferneham Hall, Fareham
    Havant Symphony Orchestra
  • 06 DEC 2002
    Christchurch, Sutton
    Borough Youth Orchestra
  • 30 OCT 2002
    Lochgelly Centre Theatre, Scotland
    Fife Youth Orchestra
    Graeme Wilson, conductor

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