Sir Malcolm is the composer of nine magnificent symphonies. The first proved convincingly that he could think on the large scale as well as the small; the Ninth is a sobering Last Will and Testament. Before number 1, he made a couple of symphonic experiments, of which the Symphony for Strings is one. It is an uncharacteristic piece in some ways, being full of a certain Bartók-like astringency which was not his natural mode of thought, as well as a more typically Arnoldian dash and energy. His first wife was a violinist who after their marriage continued to play in a string orchestra run by Kathleen Riddick. One thing led to another and in due course the Symphony for Strings was first performed by the Riddick String Orchestra in Kensington Town Hall in April 1947.
© Piers Burton-Page