Concerto for Viola

(1971)

by Malcolm Arnold

Description
Viola and orchestra
Duration
20
Genres
Solo Instruments with Orchestra
Instrumentation
1222 - 2000 - strings
Commission
Commissioned by Northern Arts
First Performance
13.10.71, Newcastle Festival, Market Hall, Carlisle:Northern Sinfonia/Arnold/Best
Availability

Score 0-571-50893-6, piano reduction and solo part 0-571-50567-8 on sale, parts for hire

Programme Notes
Malcolm Arnold Philharmonic Concerto Concerto for Viola was commissioned by Northern Arts. Sir Malcolm Arnold’s Philharmonic Concerto was written for his old orchestra, the London Philharmonic, which he joined as a teenage trumpeter and did not finally leave until 1948 to become a full-time composer. And what better way of paying homage to the collective skills of his former fellow-instrumentalists than through that most demanding of forms, the concerto for orchestra? There was a further pretext. The orchestra was going on an American tour in the middle of the American bicentennial year, 1976. Arnold made his feelings clear in a note that says much about Sir Malcolm himself; he saw a profound significance in “the great 18th-century struggles for freedom amongst subject peoples. Those found their peak with the American War of Independence of 1776. My piece has no quotations from war songs. Instead it celebrates this great event with as much brilliance as I am able to muster.” After that there is little to add: the opening Intrada is gloriously noisy and celebratory, the middle movement in Arnold’s favourite nine-eight metre allows many opportunities for the different sections to sing generously (beginning with the viola) and so lives up to its title of Aria, while the finale is another favourite Arnold form, a Chaconne; its theme is tightly clustered round the six semitones either side of E flat but its treatment is positively explosive, a glorious celebration of the American Dream. © 1998 Piers Burton-Page Please contact Piers Burton-Page for permission to use this.

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