MALCOLM ARNOLD: Music for Band
Dallas Wind Symphony/Jerry Junkin, cond.
Reference Recordings 66 (F) (DDD) TT: 66:24
This is a spectacular CD of music of Sir Malcolm Arnold either written for, or arranged for, concert band, in dazzling performances by the Dallas Wind Symphony directed by Jerry Junkin. Arnold for several decades has delighted audiences with his clever, brilliantly orchestral works, ever since his first "major" work, the comedy overture Beckus the Dandipratt, was premiered by the London Philharmonic under Eduard van Beinum. Arnold at the time was principal trumpet of that ensemble, and throughout his career always gave brass instruments ample opportunity for virtuoso display. In later years Arnold became disillusioned and sardonic, writing music that was much more challenging for audiences. But on this CD we have the Arnold of happier days. Premiere recordings are Overseas, Op. 70, Little Suite No. 1, Op. 80, Water Music, Op. 82, Little Suite No. 2, Fanfare for Louis, and The Duke of Cambridge, Op. 60. More familiar are Four Scottish Dances, Tam O'Shanter Overture, The Padstow Lifeboat and Book I of the English Dances. All are given virtuoso performances. The recording was made with the HDCD (high definition compatible digital) process. Played back in regular stereo it is a bit cavernous, but played back with Pro-Logic/Dolby Surround, it is extraordinary, with a huge hall presence, thundering bass and impressive separation. A display CD for sure, and captivating music as well.