Malcolm Arnold

The Padstow Lifeboat, march for orchestra, Op. 94

    Description by Chris Morrison

    During the years he lived in Cornwall, Arnold was much involved in the area's musical and cultural life. On July 19, 1968, a new lifeboat station was inaugurated in Padstow. For the occasion Arnold composed a special march, The Padstow Lifeboat, which was actually first performed on June 10, 1967, by the Black Dyke Mills Band under Arnold's direction as part of the BBC International Festival of Light Music. It was subsequently performed at the station's inauguration ceremony by the St. Dennis Silver Band, again conducted by the composer.

    One of the distinctive features of this march was inspired by a lighthouse near the Padstow station, whose foghorn sounded a pitch between middle C and D. Arnold incorporates this sound in his march, rounded off to D, as the composer put it, "for the sake of musical unity." A stomping march rhythm accompanies the opening tune, in the key of A flat, rudely punctuated by that foghorn D. Later portions of the march feature a more laid-back melody with embellishments, and a briefly threatening arpeggio-laden section. The opening tune returns, and the march closes with another statement of the embellished second theme.

    Appears On

    Year Title Label Catalog #
    2012 LPO LPO 0063
    2011 Decca 476 5348DC4
    2008 Reference Recordings 906
    2004 ASV / ASV/Living Era / Resonance 502
    2004 White Line 501
    2002 Rca Red Seal 88392
    2001 ASV 2131
    1998 Reference Recordings 906
    1995 Reference Recordings 66
    Conifer 16848
    Conifer 51263