Friday, September 12, 2008

Malcolm Arnold Composed His Fourth Symphony “ spread the idea of racial integration.”

[The Malcolm Arnold Edition: The Eleven Symphonies; Decca (2006); Britain's Notting Hill riot, 1958]

Bob Shingleton, author of the blog On An Overgrown Path, sends us a link with this introduction: “Not music by a black composer, but relevant nevertheless.”

Friday, September 12, 2008
Britons never, never, never shall be slaves
Rather than joining in with Rule Britannia at Saturday's Last Night of the BBC Proms I will be listening to Vernon Handley's recording of Malcolm Arnold's Fourth Symphony. There has not been a performance of an Arnold symphony at the Proms since 1994, but his Fourth has a certain relevance to the Last Night 'celebrations'. Here is Sir Malcolm writing in a 1971 article:The year of my Fourth Symphony, 1960 was also the year of the Notting Hill race riots*, and I was appalled that such a thing could happen in this country. The fact that racial ideas have become increasingly strong in this country dismays me even more. In my Fourth Symphony I have used very obvious West Indian and African percussion instruments and rhythms, in the hope, first, that it sounds well, and second, that it might help to spread the idea of racial integration.

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