Saturday, September 23, 2006

Sir Malcolm Arnold R.I.P.

British composer Sir Malcolm Arnold, who won an Oscar for the score for Bridge on the River Kwai, has died following a chest infection. He was 84 years old.

Arnold was born in Northampton on October 21, 1921. He studied music at the Royal College of Music. He played with the London Philharmonic before eventually taking to composition. His first music composed for movies was for segments of This Modern Age in 1946. He would go onto compose music for such films as Hobson's Choice, The Belles of St. Trinian's, I am a Camera, The Inn of the Sixth Happiness, Suddenly Last Summer and the 1964 adaptation of The Thin Red Line. His most memorable score is probably the one he composed for The Bridge on River Kwai, for which he won the Oscar for Best Music, Scoring. He was the first British composer to win the award.

In addition to the Academy Award, Arnold also won an Ivor Novello Award for his score to The Inn of the Sixth Happiness. In 1969 he was also made a Bard of the Cornish Gareth. He received the C.B.E. the following year. In 1993 he was knighted. Arnold also received several honourary doctorates.

As well as his film scores, Arnold wrote several tonal works and various concertos.

There are those film scores which stand out in one's mind, that one can hear in one's mind well after he or she has seen a film. These are the sort of scores Arnold composed. What is even more remarkable is that Arnold composed over 130 scores for films. A composer who was prolific and capable of great quality, he was certainly a rarity.

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