Chamber Music: Malcolm Arnold’s Suite Bourgeoise

This is a fun, unpredictable chamber piece by Sir Malcolm Henry Arnold, CBE (1921-2006). The 2nd dance in his Suite Bourgeoise for flute, oboe and piano trio, this is Tango (Elaine).

The much neglected suite for trio was one of Malcom Arnold’s earlier pieces. He uses atonality and rhythm to create an a series of off-kilter dances. They instill a feeling a celebration and happiness alongside a nervous edge in both listeners and players.

The titles give little insight to the composer’s mind or intentions, with no explanation of who Elaine is:

1. Prelude

2. Tango (Elaine)

3. Dance (censored)

4. Ballad

5. Valse (Ugo)

I can only imagine what the third movement, a tricky and explosive dance was like before is became ‘censored’.


PERFORMANCE NEXT WEEK: We will be playing this suite as part of a recital at the beautiful St Alfege’s Church, Greenwich, London. 14th April 2016 at 1pm. Free entry so come and have a listen!


Malcom Arnold’s Tango (Elaine) – the 2nd dance in his Suite Bourgeoise for flute, oboe and piano trio. This was recorded at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, Greenwich, London in Spring 2016.

Flute – Jessamy Robinson
Oboe – Felicity Cliffe
Piano – Lucy Murphy

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