- Fantasy for recorder & string quartet, Op. 140
- Shakespearean Cello Concerto, Op. 136
Arnold: Orchestral Worksby Raphael Wallfisch
The Naxos label has provided a forum for the revival of numerous works by composer Malcolm Arnold, who does not quite fit into any of the established categories of British music in the 20th century. He lived a long time, maintaining his style in the face of changing trends and adding a certain reflective, personal quality in his old age. This collection of pieces from each end of Arnold's long career is a mixed bag, including not only different soloists but different orchestras and conductors, and enlarging the Arnold canon with a couple of orchestral arrangements of smaller works (the charming "Concertino for flute and strings, Op. 19a," and "Saxophone Concerto" are arrangements of a flute and piano sonata and a piano sonata, respectively). It's not an essential disc nor even a first choice for Arnold, but it contains some delightful examples of the composer's artistry. The outer movements of the "Concertino for flute and strings" each slyly begin with almost pastoral material; the tunes run into complications until they are ensnarled in quite thorny sounds. Another highlight is the "Fantasy for recorder and string quartet, Op. 140," composed for virtuosa Michala Petri in 1991. The five short movements of the work have an attractive mix of quiet neo-antiquity and difficult extended techniques (several kinds of tonguing are required). Flutist Esther Ingham handles the technical challenges cleanly, and in fact all the musicians seem attuned to Arnold's lively mood. Some of the music is probably second-drawer Arnold, but those who enjoy this unpredictable composer will find some overlooked gems here.
- Release Date:
Performance CreditsRaphael Wallfisch Primary Artist
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