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Arnold, Sir Malcolm (Henry)

music royal london trumpet

Arnold, Sir Malcolm (Henry), prolific and versatile English composer; b. Northampton, Oct. 21, 1921. He studied trumpet with Ernest Hall and composition with Gordon Jacob at the Royal Coll. of Music in London (1938–41). He played trumpet in the London Phil. (1941–42), serving as its 1 st trumpeter (1946–48), and also played trumpet in the BBC Sym. Orch. in London (1945). He then devoted himself chiefly to composition, developing a melodious and harmonious style of writing that possessed the quality of immediate appeal to the general public while avoiding obvious banality; many of his works reveal modalities common to English folk songs, often invested in acridly pleasing harmonies. His experience as a trumpeter and conductor of popular concerts provided a secure feeling for propulsive rhythms and brilliant sonorities. He had a particular knack for composing effective film music. In his sound track for The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957), he popularized the rollicking march Colonel Bogey, originally composed by Kenneth Alford in 1914. In 1970 Arnold was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire, and in 1993 he was knighted. He also received several honorary doctorates, was made a Fellow of the Royal Coll. of Music in 1983, and was named an Honorary Fellow of the Royal N. Coll. of Music in Manchester in 1997.

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