Festival celebrates Northampton composer Malcolm Arnold this weekend

The festival promises an wide range of music
The festival promises an wide range of music

The 14th Malcolm Arnold Festival returns this weekend for two days of music, film and talks on the Northampton composer.

It will include performances by the BBC Concert Orchestra as well as musicians from around the region. There are performances at Royal & Derngate, St Matthew’s Church and Malcolm Arnold Academy.

Festival director Paul Harris said: “We have highlighted some fascinating and fruitful friendships, including those of fellow composers Ruth Gipps and Shostakovich. As always, we’ve tried to include music from many of the different genres represented in the composer’s extensive output.

"There is a plethora of orchestral music, we’re delighted to be welcoming five different orchestras to perform overtures, symphonies, film scores, dances and ballets, and there is music for chamber ensemble, duos, solo instruments and voice.”

This year’s Gala Concert, on Sunday, October 13, features the BBC Concert Orchestra under conductor laureate Barry Wordsworth, showcasing two pieces by Arnold, Homage to the Queen and Symphony No.2, alongside major works by Shostakovich.

On Saturday, October 12, the Northampton Symphony Orchestra, conducted by John Gibbons, will perform work including Arnold’s Peterloo Overture, the composer’s film music to Stolen Face, Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto No. 2 and Tchaikovsky’s Romeo and Juliet Overture.

The festival will begin with students from Malcolm Arnold Festival Strings and Northamptonshire Music and Performing Arts Trust performing the composer’s Savile Club Fanfare and a world premiere of Arnold’s 1963 one-act ballet score Electra.

The Northamptonshire County Youth Orchestra will perform the composer’s second Clarinet Concerto with soloist Samuel Austin.

Tickets for the Gala Concert on Sunday night cost from £11. Tickets for festival excluding the Gala Concert cost £15 for the weekend or £7.50 for day tickets. Full details of the programme and all performances are available at royalandderngate.co.uk