Eighth Annual Malcolm Arnold Festival

Written by Kate Wilton on .

Berkeley Ensemble copyEighth Annual Malcolm Arnold Festival celebrates prolific Northampton composer

The eighth annual Arnold Festival takes place at Royal & Derngate from Saturday 19 to Sunday 20 October. Celebrating the life and work of the prolific and illustrious Northampton-born composer Sir Malcolm Arnold, the weekend's events include a delightful family concert and an inspiring evening of Movie Classics.

Sir Malcolm Arnold’s music was hugely popular during the 1950s. With his fine symphonic cycle and many film scores, his work had a major influence on 20th century British music. This year’s festival reveals the extraordinary breadth of Sir Malcolm’s talents, featuring film music, music for the ballet, and works for orchestra, chamber ensembles and instrumentalists.

Highlights of the festival include The Turtle Drum, a delightful piece that Arnold wrote for school children, which will be performed by pupils from the Malcolm Arnold Academy. There will also be a rare performance of both Arnold’s string quartets by the Royal Northern College of Music. Saturday afternoon sees the festival move off site to St Matthew’s Church for an entertaining family concert, hosted by BBC Radio Northampton’s John Griff, and featuring the Ealing Symphony Orchestra playing a selection of pieces by Arnold, along with Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf, and The Unhappy Aardvark by festival director Paul Harris.

Julian BlissForming a spectacular finale to the weekend, Sunday evening’s Movie Classics Gala Concert in Derngate auditorium features world renowned clarinettist Julian Bliss, performing with the Worthing Symphony Orchestra, conducted by John Gibbons. The programme includes Malcolm Arnold’s Inn Of The Sixth Happiness, Clarinet Concerto No.2, and You Know What Sailors Are, Barrys Out Of Africa, Badelt’s Pirates Of The Caribbean, Rimsky-Korsakov’s Flight Of The Bumblebee, Gershwin’s Rhapsody In Blue and Ravel’s Bolero.

As well as numerous recitals and performances, the weekend includes informative and entertaining talks, and the festival is launched by the world famous ballerina Dame Monica Mason at 11am on Saturday 19 October, when the Fanfare For Malcolm, will be played, a piece written by Toby Young, winner of the 2009 Malcolm Arnold Composition Competition.

Tickets for the Gala Concert on Sunday evening are priced from £14.50 to £32.50, with weekend tickets for the rest of the festival at £12.50 (and day tickets for £7.50 excluding the Gala Concert). For a full schedule of performances or to book, call Box Office on 01604 624811 or visit www.royalandderngate.co.uk.