Malcolm Arnold : The Inside Story

Many myths, masquerading as facts, were flourishing, when Anthony Meredith’s first Arnold biography came out, almost twenty years ago. Accordingly, he misrepresented several key issues, just as previous biographers had done. He also fudged others, for Arnold was still alive, and so, too, was his forceful carer. The many Arnold myths lived on. Three years ago, however, Malcolm Arnold’s daughter, Katherine, encouraged the biographer to write a new book with the true story of her father’s last thirty years. She had much new evidence to support it – material that confirmed her suspicions that when her father, in mid-life, came under the total control of two different carers, his vulnerability had been terribly exploited. Arnold’s last thirty years could only properly be understood if seen in the context of his earlier life, so a full biography beckoned. Nor could the years after the composer’s death be omitted, for things occurred in this period that shed much light on previous dramas. The Inside Story, then, sweeps away the many myths that have surrounded the intriguing figure of Malcolm Arnold. It offers arresting new facts about his life, fresh insights into his music and much food for thought about the care of the mentally ill and its legal aspects. This important addition to the literature of British music is an engrossing saga, told with compassion and candour.