'All of my music is biographical' declared Sir Malcolm Arnold in an interview in 1991. Arnold's turbulent life has permeated his music to a greater degree than probably any other British composer as Paul Jackson reveals in this illuminating account. Interweaving biographical details with close analyses of Arnold's major works, particularly the nine symphonies, and drawing on sketch materials never previously examined, Jackson provides fascinating insights into Arnold's compositional process, and the ideas informing works such as the John Field Fantasy and the 7th Symphony.
Extensive interviews with Arnold himself as well as with his family, friends and colleagues add further perspectives on his relationships with fellow composers and musicians, publishers, critics and family. A combination of joie de vivre and periods of depression and personal tragedy, Arnold's life has mirrored his music in its combination of seemingly disparate elements that make a compelling whole.
Contents: Foreword; 1921–39: 'I didn't want to be called Fatty'; 1940–49: 'I just sat in a room and cried'; Films, 1947–69: 'Solving jigsaw puzzles'; 1950–59: 'Hats off, gentlemen!'; 1960–65: 'But I'm beastly to everybody'; 1966–72:'More than life itself'; 1973–79: 'Drinking the Liffey dry'; 1980–89: 'My friends forsake me'; 1990–2001: 'The grand, grand old man'; Notes; Appendix A: List of compositions; Appendix B: List of films; Appendix C: Discography; Bibliography; Index.
About the Author: Paul R.W. Jackson is both a musician and dancer who has written extensively on both subjects. In 1997 he was awarded the Chris de Marigny Dance Writers Award. He has taught and performed throughout the UK, in the USA and Europe and is currently Head of Dance at the University of Winchester, UK.
Reviews: A Yankee Book Peddler US Core Title for 2011
'... a welcome addition to the superb Ashgate catalogue. ... The musical analysis is uncluttered, easy to follow and brimming with musical examples. Even if you know the music the analysis is helpful (or perhaps I should say) if you thought you knew the music... no stone is unturned in his quest for information, which becomes very clear after only a few pages of the main text.... Whether you are interested in Arnold and his music or British music in general, you (like me) will find this book entertaining, absorbing and revealing.' The Malcolm Arnold Society Newsletter
'... an overall impression of magnificence... this is a very good book!... this book now takes pride of place as the best of all-round reference on Sir Malcolm Arnold.' Paul Serotsky in MusicWeb
'Paul Jackson's The Brilliant and the Dark is a welcome addition to the superb Ashgate catalogue... The manner in which the book is written reminds me a little of Arnold's music; bright, good humoured and witty on the surface, but offset by a deep understanding and sometimes seriousness at the very heart of things. Both men have something worthwhile to say and the means with which to say it. Whether you are interested in Arnold and his music or British music in general, you (like me) will find this book entertaining, absorbing and revealing.' Philip Wood in MusicWeb
'In addition to being an insightful and fascinating biographical account, this book also provides analyses of many of Arnold's works along with important appendixes. The book is, therefore, immediately appealing as a comprehensive source of information over a wide range of related topics.' Choice
'... Jackson provides a scholarly survey of both 'the Brilliant and the Dark' sides of an engaging composer...' The Dancing Times
'Jackson's is the deepest, most detailed, most readable, and most interesting volume on Arnold and his music.' American Record Guide
'... Jackson provides the reader with a thorough and deep understanding and appreciation of one of England's greatest composers and his compositions... The greatest value of this book is that it provides a chronological description of Arnold's life and its influence on his compositions. Jackson's brilliant writing expresses the way that music that is reflective of a composer's life experiences often touches the soul and human spirit in the deepest ways. Jackson has gained for Arnold a new fan and advocate in this reader.' Music Educators Journal
'The Life and Music of Sir Malcolm Arnold, aptly subtitled The Brilliant and the Dark, is a well-researched and fascinating academic account of the composer's life...' North West Evening Mail
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