The centenaries of Malcolm Arnold and Ruth Gipps were marked at the Last Night of the Proms on 11 September with a performance of Arnold’s sparkling Variations for Orchestra on a Theme of Ruth Gipps. The BBC Symphony Orchestra was conducted by Sakari Oramo.
Gipps was a contemporary of Arnold at the Royal College of Music, and here he takes a theme from her 1953 Coronation March as the basis for a colourful 13-minute set of variations that he composed in Ireland during the summer of 1977. This rarely played work, Arnold’s Op.122, the was first performed at the Queen Elizabeth Hall, London, by the Chanticleer Orchestra conducted by Gipps on 22 February 1978. It was subsequently recorded by Richard Hickox and the City of London Sinfonia.
Listen to The Last Night at the Proms 2021 on BBC Sounds here.