The missing scores – Part one

The search for the missing scores – Part one
by Alan Poulton
(abbr. version of an article originally published in Beckus 107)

These 18 missing scores (16 original pieces and two arrangements) have truly vanished into thin air. There is no copy or even a sketch of the manuscript in any format, not even a private or ‘of-the-air’ recording which may have allowed a reconstruction.

If you happen to know about the whereabouts of any missing Malcolm Arnold manuscripts (original or copies) please contact the society!


  1. March: Haile Selassie, for piano (1936)

    The score was submitted to Boosey & Hawkes for publication but returned by them to the young composer on 8 September 1936 with the standard rejection letter. The work does not appear in any contemporary catalogue listing of Arnold’s music but neither do all those extant pieces which Arnold composed for and dedicated to his mother between 1938 and 1943. It is therefore possible that his earliest composition still survives somewhere.

  2. The Fighting Temeraire: song for voice and piano (c.1938)

    Richard Shaw, whose article in Beckus 48, Spring 2003, [reprinted in Maestro 4] revealed that Malcolm had written this setting of Sir Henry Newbolt’s dramatic poem.

  3. Trio for flute, cello and trumpet (c.1940)

    Written for Richard Adeney and his younger sister (who was a cellist). Adeney recalled it being “only a little rumba…” Apparently, Arnold wrote an easy cello part for Miss Adeney and “the trumpet played muted throughout”!

  4. Sonata in G minor for flute and piano (1940-1)

    Richard Adeney revealed: “Arnold wrote a Flute Sonata for me signing it ‘A.N.Other’”. This sonata was premiered by Adeney at the Carnegie Hall in Northampton on 28 March 1941 with the composer at the piano. They also gave the first performance of Gordon Jacob’s Suite for flute and cornet at the same concert. They later repeated the Sonata (and Jacob’s Suite) at a Royal College of Music student recital in London during June 1941.

  5. Pavane for flute and piano (1940- 41)

    First performed in a recital programme given at the Quaker Meeting House in Northampton by Richard Adeney with the composer at the piano. The Pavane may have received a second performance at a Royal College of Music student concert in June 1941 where it was described as a ‘Flute and Piano solo’. (Among the other pieces in the programme was a trumpet solo from Malcolm Arnold in an arrangement of the old song ‘Silver Threads Among the Gold’. We do not know if this was Arnold’s own arrangement: if it was, it is another ‘missing score’!)

  6. Divertimento No.1 for orchestra Op.1 (1942)

    First performed by the London Symphony Orchestra conducted by Benjamin Frankel at the Guildhall School of Music in London on 29 May 1945. In 1948 the score was unsuccessfully submitted to the BBC’s Reading Panel for future broadcast (see Beckus 103, p.5). Various attempts to locate it have so far been unsuccessful.

  7. Two brass trio arrangements (1943)

    1. Machaut: Double Hoquet
    2. Motet: Marie Assumptio

    Arnold made these arrangements for trumpet, horn and trombone for performance at a ‘Musical Culture’ concert organised by Felix Aprahamian at St Peter’s Church, Eaton Square, London on 15 August 1944. As well as Malcolm Arnold, the other two performers were Dennis Brain and George Maxted. Both of these arrangements were later recorded in the BBC Studios for broadcast on the Home Service on 15 December 1944 (see Maestro 2 pp.45-46). There was a further broadcast on the BBC Third Programme on 1 February 1949, when the ‘Machaut: Double Hoquet’ arrangement was played by members of the BBC Symphony Orchestra.

  8. Quintet Op.7 (original version) (1944)

    First performed at a National Gallery concert by members of the London Philharmonic Orchestra on 21 December 1944 in the presence of the composer. This original version was submitted to the BBC Reading Panel in 1945. It was reviewed by Gordon Jacob and Herbert Howells. Whether or not Arnold immediately set about revising the Quintet as a result of their comments is not clear. We do know that he made a revision of the work around 1960 and that this version was published by Paterson the same year. Reference to an early list of works would indicate that the original Quintet’s duration was about 20 minutes; the revision was much shortened to around 13 minutes. It is a pity that the original, longer version is yet another missing score.

  9. Symphonic Suite for orchestra Op.12 (1945)

    Unusually this work appears not to have received a performance anywhere. When the score was submitted to the Reading Panel in March 1947 both Lennox Berkeley and Herbert Howells were “moderately positive” but still turned it down for broadcasting. (see Beckus 103)

  10. (Ipswich) Festival Overture Op.14 (1946)

    It was first performed at Ipswich Public Hall on 12 March 1947 by the Ipswich Orchestral Society conducted by Philip Pfaff. When he moved to London in the early fifties, Pfaff must have taken both score and parts with him, as the Overture was performed for the second time on 16 February 1952 by the East Ham Symphony Orchestra. It was also performed at Trent Park College in the 1960s. (see Beckus 94 pp.10-11)

  11. Fanfare for three trumpets (1949)

    Written for a civic reception on behalf of the Northampton Arts Association held in Northampton Town Hall on 21 October 1949, it was performed by members of the Northampton Symphony Orchestra’s brass section conducted by Mr R Richardson- Jones.

  12. ‘Tango’ for orchestra (1950)

    This is the original middle movement of Arnold’s Divertimento No.2 Op.24 for large orchestra, written for and first played by the National Youth Orchestra
    of Great Britain conducted by Reginald Jacques at The Dome, Brighton, on 19 April 1950. By the time the Divertimento was published by Paterson in 1961, it
    had a dfferent middle movement entitled ‘Nocturne’, the orchestration had been pared down by the composer to a normal symphony orchestra, and it was given the Opus number 75. The original ‘Tango’ is lost. (see Maestro 2 pp.55-64)

  13. Fantasy for bass trombone and piano (1950)

    Written for Mike Payne, the long-serving bass trombonist of the BBC Northern Orchestra, it was an original three-minute Fantasy for bass trombone and piano, hand-written on manuscript paper. (see Gramophone Magazine 75th birthday tribute to Sir Malcolm in October 1996)

  14. ‘Paddy’s Nightmare’ (1954)

    Scored for a pit orchestra of eight players including strings, clarinet, trumpet, piano and drums, this unique piece was written for Paddy Stone to dance in the Joyce Grenfell review ‘Joyce Grenfell Requests the Pleasure’ premiered at the Fortune Theatre in London on 2 June 1954. The review was later transferred to New York’s Bijou Theatre on Broadway between October and December 1955.

  15. Purcell: ‘Mad Bess’ song arrangement (1959)

    Malcolm arranged two Purcell songs for the contralto Pamela Bowden to perform on 26 March 1959. One of these still exists, namely, ‘On the Brow of Richmond Hill’, with words by Tom Durfey. However, the other song, ‘Mad Bess’ is, unfortunately, missing. (‘Mad Bess’ or ‘Bess of Bedlam’ is an anonymous poem, published in 1683)

  16. A Sunshine Overture Op.83 (1964)

    Written at the request of Dame Beryl Grey. It was premiered at a Gala Matinee held at the Palace Theatre, London on 14 July 1964, with the Pro-Arte Orchestra conducted by Dudley Simpson. The Overture was also performed at the same event in July 1965. (see Beckus 97 p.12)

  17. Song for Tommy Morrissey (c.1966)

    Jean Morrissey remembered in an interview in 2014 “…Malcolm Arnold wrote a song especially for my husband called ‘Tommy’s Titifala’”. According to Colin Gregory, who called Jean Morrissey a few days later, “She thought one of her daughters had the music … [in fact] the eldest, Maureen Tatlow, had been speak- ing to her younger sister about it … she thought it was only the size of a postcard [but] they don’t remember seeing it for over 30 years!” Searches at the family home in Padstow continue. (see Beckus 94 pp.3-6)

  18. Songs for Julie Felix (1970s)

    The only clue to the existence of these songs comes from a letter dated 26 October 1993 from folk singer Julie Felix to Sir Malcolm where she writes: “I am sorry to inform you that I don’t appear to have the songs that you wrote for me all those years ago.”


If you happen to know about the whereabouts of any missing Malcolm Arnold manuscripts (original or copies) please contact the society!