Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Northampton Symphony Orchestra concert

21 October 2014

In 1982 the Scottish trumpeter, John Wallace, gave the premiere performance of Malcolm Arnold's 'Trumpet Concerto' at the Royal Albert Hall in London. John Wallace's 1984 recording with the Bournemouth Sinfonietta is still the only time this short but fiendishly difficult concerto has been recorded. So it was very exciting, last Saturday, to have the opportunity to perform Arnold's 'Trumpet Concerto' at the Derngate in Northampton with John Wallace. The Northampton Symphony Orchestra, conducted for the first time by John Gibbons, had been invited to open the ninth Malcolm Arnold Festival with a morning concert of works by Arnold and other 20th century English composers. As well as the 'Trumpet Concerto' we played Arnold's 'A Flourish for Orchestra' and his mighty 'Peterloo Overture' (which was commissioned by the Trades Union Congress to mark its centenary in 1968). Our programme also included the beautiful 'Rhapsody, A Shropshire Lad' by George Butterworth, Ralph Vaughan Williams' 'March Past of the Kitchen Utensils' from 'The Wasps', and the wonderful suite from the 1936 film 'Things To Come' by Sir Arthur Bliss. Between these pieces young musicians from the Malcolm Arnold Academy performed the movements of Arnold's rarely heard ‘Miniature Suite'. But the highlight of the morning was undoubtedly John Wallace's brilliant performance of the 'Trumpet Concerto', accompanied by the Northampton Symphony Orchestra (in which Malcolm Arnold himself played the trumpet in his youth) and finishing with a glorious, stratospheric major third between the soloist and NSO's Principal Trumpet, Nick Bunker.

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