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CHAN 10293
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CHAN 10293
Malcolm Arnold Overtures

Arnold: Overtures

The Classical Shop
release date: March 2005

Recorded in 24 Bit / 96Khz
album available as a Studio Master
Originally recorded in 2004


BBC Philharmonic

Rumon Gamba


Studio 7, New Broadcasting House, Manchester


Brian Pidgeon


Ralph Couzens



Stephen Rinker

Tom Parnell


Record Label


Orchestral & Concertos

Total Time - 74:28
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Malcolm Arnold Overtures



(b. 1921)
Select Complete Single Disc for

A Grand Grand Festival Overture, Op. 57 (1956)

  Allegro con brio - Molto meno mosso e maestoso -  

Peterloo, Op. 97 (1967)

  Overture for Orchestra  
  Andante con moto - Allegro vivace - Con fuoco -  

The Smoke, Op. 21 (1948)

  Overture for Orchestra  
  Vivace ma non troppo - Andante con moto - Tempo I -  

Tam o' Shanter, Op. 51 (1955)

  Overture after the Poem of Robert Burns  
  To Michael Black  
  Poco lento - Allegretto - Vivace - Allegretto - Allegro -  

A Flourish for Orchestra, Op. 112 (1973)

  Giubiloso - Allargando - Meno mosso  

The Fair Field, Op. 110 (1972)

  To William Walton with the greatest esteem and affection  
  Vivace - Allegro con brio - Lento e maestoso  

A Sussex Overture, Op. 31 (1951)

  For Herbert Menges and the Brighton Philharmonic Society  
  Allegro con brio  

Anniversary Overture, Op. 99 (1968)

  for Orchestra  
  Allegro giubiloso  
premiere recording

Robert Kett, Op. 141 (1990)

  Lento e maestoso - Alla marcia  

Beckus the Dandipratt, Op. 5 (1943)

  Comedy Overture for Full Orchestra  
  Allegro ma non troppo  
Chandos is well known for its recordings of Sir Malcolm Arnold’s music – indeed, they are generally acknowledged by most to rank amongst the finest available – and its discs of Sir Malcolm Arnold’s film music are some of its biggest sellers. This unique anthology of overtures should prove as popular, for the music is similarly illustrative and entertaining. Some of these overtures are rare in the catalogue and one has never before been recorded. They demonstrates Sir Malcolm Arnold’s versatility, for they cover a broad range of musical moods – the comic Tam O’Shanter, the pastoral A Sussex Overture, and the hilariously inventive A Grand Grand Festival Overture, a piece which was enormous fun to record, for the orchestral line-up includes vacuum cleaners and floor polishers played, on this recording, by the management of the BBC Philharmonic!

Contains the premiere recording of the Robert Kett overture.

It was the success of Arnold’s first overture, Beckus the Dandipratt (1943), which first brought Arnold’s music to popular attention. Infused with a sense of fun entirely typical of its composer, the comic overture was largely responsible for securing lucrative film work. The Smoke (1943) is a slang term for London. This overture draws on another of Arnold’s early influences: jazz, and in particular, the music of Louis Armstrong. One of the highlights of the 1955 BBC Proms was the premiere of the comic Tam o’Shanter, which narrates Robert Burns’s tale of an alcoholic who sets out from an inn late one stormy night and is pursued by a frenetic orgy of evil spirits. Arnold’s sense of humour came even more prominently to the fore in A Grand Grand Festival Overture (1956), his hilarious contribution to a music festival organised by his friend the cartoonist Gerard Hoffnung. The overture features solo parts for three vacuum cleaners and a floor polisher. A vivid sense of musical drama informs the overture Peterloo, composed in 1967 in response to a commission from the UK’s Trades Union Congress. Always attracted to themes of rebellion, Arnold captures the moments in 1819 when a gathering of Manchester political protestors was brutally quashed by the cavalry. The Anniversary Overture (1968) was written to commemorate the twenty-first anniversary of the Hong Kong Philharmonic Society in 1968; it includes a delicate episode of chinoiserie amongst the ceremonial vigour. The Fair Field (1972), a spirited waltz which metamorphoses into a march, was dedicated to Walton in the year of his seventieth birthday. A Flourish for Orchestra (1973) was composed to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the granting of a charter to the city of Bristol. With Robert Kett (1990), Arnold returned to the theme of revolution by paying homage to a rebel leader executed in themed-sixteen century for his part in causing the siege of Norwich. The work’s rebel drums, buoyant piccolo and heroic brass co-exist with string music that attains a lushness which wouldn’t be out of place in the cinema.

"...marvellously played, with a truly Arnoldian infectious exhilaration, and the Chandos recording is in the demonstration bracket."

The Penguin Guide - 1000 Greatest Classical Recordings 2011-12

…electrifying performances
Gramophone on CHAN 9967(2) (Arnold Symphonies)

However, Arnold’s many fans will no doubt relish the whole programme, including the first recording of the 1990 ‘Robert Kett’ Overture. And these are lively, well-recorded performances, with an outstanding contribution from the BBC Philharmonic brass.
BBC Music Magazine

Arnold’s genius was particularly suited to small-scale orchestral works and every one of these examples shows his orchestral personality at its exuberant best… The other works bring inventiveness and similarly brilliant scoring… All are most entertaining, and marvellously played; you’ll be glad to know that the ‘players’ of the vacuum cleaners and the floor polishers get a credit. The Chandos recording is of the demonstration class.

Rumon Gamba and the BBC Philharmonic plow through these items with élan and confidence, producing consistent solidity of tone and unerring precision of ensemble. Chandos’ sound is admirably blended and highly sensitive to textural values.
Fanfare (USA)

Arnold is arguably Britain’s greatest living composer, and certainly one of the most prolific. He also has a wicked sense of humour as shown in A Grand Grand Festival Overture, which features three vacuum cleaners and a floor polisher. This splendid CD includes the famous Tam O’Shanter and Peterloo overtures, and Beckus the Dandipratt. There’s also a premiere recording of what must be one of his last pieces, Robert Kett, from 1990.
Classic FM Magazine

But both approaches are musically valid and convincinga as well as emotionally rewarding, and this Chandos disc should be part of any self-respecting collection of 20th-century English Music. Hear! Hear!
Fanfare (USA)

The BBC Philharmonic plays splendidly for him and clearly enjoys the music. The Chandos recording is one of its finest. The notes are very thorough.
American Record Guide

Symphonies are brought off impressively… Gamba makes the work strangely compelling…
The Sunday Times ‘Records of the Year’ on CHAN 9967(2) (Arnold Symphonies)

This is a superb disc. Infectious fun, brilliantly played by the BBC Philharmonic, who are evidently inspired by their conductor Rumon Gamba. Arnold's music has swagger and verve, a true original. The studio master reveals great detail and depth and sounds amazing played through a Dragonfly USB DAC. Highly recommended.
P Kirk

S Ishiuchi

R Ortega