Sir Malcolm Arnold (b. 1921)
Trevelyan Suite, opus 96

This work was composed in 1967, for the opening of Trevelyan College at the University of Durham on 12 March the following year. The scoring for eleven players (double wind quintet plus an extra flute) is the largest of Arnold's many chamber works.

The first movement opens with a series of accented notes which alternate between upper and lower wind, which gives way to a more lyrical second theme, heard in the woodwind. A short unison passage for the lower wind instruments marks the pivot of the musical palindrome, which is formed by reflecting the first half of the piece to become the second half, with each note, rest and dynamic reversed. By contrast, the slow Nocturne which follows is introduced by a beautiful bassoon solo, high in the instrument's register, which is then taken up by flute and accompanied by a sensitive countermelody in other instruments. Following a separate theme on oboe and horn, the lyrical bassoon melody returns to close the movement. The spirited Apotheosis begins with a lively repeated melody in flutes and oboes, leading to a contrasting tune played by horns and bassoons in unison, whilst the agitated accompanying upper woodwind figure maintains the excitement. The first melody then returns, initially in the clarinets, then in the flutes and oboes, and the work builds to its energetic, fanfare-like climax. CMW

© 1996 The Arethusa Ensemble