Many of us probably know and have tried to whistle “The River Kwai March”, but who is the man indirectly behind the march? British composer Sir Malcolm Arnold wrote the music for the film “The Bridge on the River Kwai” cleverly writing a counter march to the “Colonel Bogey March”. The film won seven Oscars including one for best music in 1958. Aside from some notable film music, Malcolm Arnold wrote a number of concert works such as symphonies and concertos. Guitarist Julian Bream, cellist Julian Lloyd Webber and legendary big band leader and clarinetist Benny Goodman were all beneficiaries of Arnold’s output.
Birthday composer, Sir Malcolm Arnold was born on this day in 1921 in Northampton, England. Before turning to composition full time, Arnold played trumpet professionally inspired by having seen Louis Armstrong in concert.
The English, Scottish, Cornish, Welch and Irish Dances are among my favorite pieces by Arnold. Some are soft and quite beautiful while others are hard driving and almost thorny. Each dance is unique and a real pleasure to experience. I’m in the mood for some of these dances! Since it is Sir Malcolm Arnold’s birthday anniversary after all, what a great opportunity to spread the joy!
Benny Goodman, Julian Bream, Julian Lloyd Webber