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The missing scores

Malcolm Arnold's score ot the English Dances

Malcolm Arnold – The missing scores

Over the decades owing to all too human nature concert music manuscripts, film score manuscripts and even films themselves get lost.

The disappearance of musical manuscripts can be put down to a number of unfortunate, often careless, circumstances. For instance, a score could be left behind on a music stand or in a dressing room after the work’s only performance, or lent to a colleague, only for it to be locked away, forgotten, in some dark cupboard, or for the key to go missing!

There are real examples of scores being left in the back of a taxi or a car, or being lost in the post, or being mislaid after yet another long-distance house-move, even appearing on eBay or in a provincial auction catalogue. Sometimes scores can be in safe custody, only to be misfiled or miscatalogued in a publisher’s hire library, a university music library or one of the National Archives.

In the case of Malcolm Arnold, we can account for some of the disappearances, as he, in a moment of typical generosity, would occasionally give away an autograph score to a close friend, a casual acquaintance or, perhaps understandably, the work’s dedicatee. The recent discovery of several Arnold autograph scores, thought to be lost, including the early Wind Quintet, Symphony No. 7, Clarinet Concerto No. 2, the two sets of English Dances, and ‘The Tempest’ incidental music of 1954, now nearly all housed at the Eton College Library, gives renewed hope to the possibility of finding more of Arnold’s 70 (or so) missing autograph scores. 

Search your attic, an antiquarian book shop, a charity store, etc in your neighbourhood. One never knows!

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

Alan Poulton has started to compile a list of the missing scores and other items … more to come!

The search for the missing scores – Part One

The search for the missing scores – Part Two