ABSTRACT

Malcolm Arnold’s daughter Katherine had worked there for a year as a research assistant in a project studying the Irish language. Her favourable reports prompted Arnold to investigate for himself, a task that took a couple of months. Arnold had written the score to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the building of the Fairfield Halls in Croydon and he dedicated it to Walton as a belated birthday gift. The concerto certainly shows the wild changes of mood that Arnold was capable of, and in particular in the first movement the increasingly deranged appearances of the second subject are disturbing. The tempo speeds up once again to an allegro, and Arnold recreates the world of the Irish folk band, the Chieftains, which was much liked by Edward. The feeling in the Arnold household was one of an uneasy truce, and it is that feeling of suppressed conflict that dominates the work.