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Symphonies Nos. 5 & 6

Arnold Audio CD
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 10.62 & FREE Shipping on orders over CDN$ 25. Details
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1. Symphony No. 5, Op. 74: Tempestuoso
2. Symphony No. 5, Op. 74: Andante con moto
3. Symphony No. 5, Op. 74: Con fuoco
4. Symphony No. 5, Op. 74: Risoluto
5. Symphony No. 6, Op. 95: Energico
6. Symphony No. 6, Op. 95: Lento
7. Symphony No. 6, Op. 95: Con fuoco

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars dark beauty Nov. 10 2002
Format:Audio CD
Andrew Penny's recordings of Malcolm Arnold's symphonies will go down in history as one of the greatest relationships between conductor and composer ever. Few such relationships have produced such wonderful musical fruit--Boult and Vaughan Williams, Walter and Mahler, Rostropovich and Shostakovich perhaps--but I know of none that can clearly top the work of Penny and Arnold. This disc is clear evidence of the greatness of their mutual endeavor.
Recorded in the presence of the composer, both of these symphonies are allowed to speak for themselves on their own terms. If I had to give one word descriptions for these works, I would say the 5th symphony is beautiful and the 6th is (though still beautiful) dark. Penny allows both pieces the time required to unfold in all their glory.
I have been very impressed by several recordings that I have heard from the National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland. As their wonderful playing on this disc proves, they continue to emerge as a world-class outfit. The Naxos sound on this disc is remarkable--it is clear, balanced, and has just the right depth for the more haunting moments in the 5th.
I recommend this recording of Arnold's 5th and 6th symphonies wholeheartedly.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:Audio CD
What a find! From the other reviewers one can glimpse the stature of this composer/trumpeter.
Here his talents shine in two symphony offerings. The Fifth certainly illustrates so wonderfully what is charateristic of this composer: intensity of emotion, rhythm, flair for orchestration. Particularly fond of the Andante con moto, which shows his strong Mahler influence, with building anxieties and dissonance outbursts, but especially the peaceful landing with the flute restatement.
The Sixth with its Shostakovich textural undertones shines in the Lento. Here one sees his skill in modern film scores, and the harmonies which delight and tingle.
The Penny led National Symphony of Ireland does a masterful job, with outstanding performances by the percussion and woodwinds.
Great place to start perusal of this man's output. Bargain which has quality sound throughout.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a rare achievement June 15 2002
Format:Audio CD
Before I add my own commentary on this disc, I must make a nod to Mr. Hollingsworth's review. He has said much of what I feel about this music. What is left for me to comment on?...The beauty. The sheer beauty. Rarely have I heard such beauty. In his finer moments, Sir Malcolm achieves what few ever have (Mahler, Vaughan Williams, pehaps J.S. Bach). The slow movements of the fifth and sixth symphonies ache with wonder. Yet the work never degenerates into the ear candy that was so prevalent in late twentieth century British Classical music. This recording was made in the presence of the composer. Andrew Penny does and excellent job with the forces of the National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland. The Naxos sound is excellent.
For my part, I eagerly look forward to hearing Mr. Penny's other Arnold recordings.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Fine Renditions of Flamboyancy! Oct. 13 2001
Format:Audio CD
The thing I greatly admire about Sir Malcolm Arnold is his everlasting quest to uphold his personal voice. Take the set of English Dances, for instance. I always feel that his orchestration takes that of Ravel a step further in modern music. Therefore, not only is orchestration flamboyant and upbeat, but so does his harmonic language and his musical personality. His sense of rhythm, so relentless and contrasting, add to the overall appeal of his music. Where he could be exhuberant in places, he could otherwise have a great deal of depth in others. No every work of his is a masterpiece, but every work I've heard grasp my attention, often even repeatedly. Make no mistake about it: Sir Malcolm Arnold is a major 20th Century composer.
The Fifth Symphony is to my mind his masterpiece. The first movement is what I mean by flamboyancy. The orchestration is as vivid as Ravel's or Bax's. But listen to the some of the strings and woodwind writings (@ 3:44 - ff especially) and you'll notice a great sense of distinctiveness that's ultimately rewarding. His music (as in the first movement) has the spontaneity as in Walton's. The second movement (andante con moto) can easily stand up well on its own. It is a quasi sonata form. The beginning (with lower strings) has that Elgarian sense of restrained melancholy. But the secondary theme (announced by the flute, mutted strings, and timpani) remainds me of Vaughan Williams with the quiet dignity, vividly supported by the xylophone, but with a subdued sense of magic. The middle movement is more tense and heroic, with some virtuosic brass writings. The secondary theme returns, nicely restrained, and gives the movement a peaceful close. The final two movements are as restless as the Presto, con malizia (second) movement of Walton's First.
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Format:Audio CD
If I were to say there is a 20th Century symphonic composer whose works brim with dark , often unsettling, drama; biting and often acidic humor, full blown melodies and colorful orchestration you might name a few. Mahler, Shostakovich and Prokofiev might come to mind. To that group you could name Malcolm Arnold for those characteristics fit his symphonic output. Make no mistake, Arnold is his own man with his own personal sound. The 5th and 6th symphonies are prime examples of Arnold at his best (which is most of the time). The slow movement of the 5th has the emotional power of any of the slow movements of Mahler or Shostakovich. The 4th movement begins with Arnold at his most whimsical and satirical. What starts out as a delicately scored childlike march evolves into something much darker. A truly grand melody promises relief but that too is deftly developed into an eerie and perhaps unsettling ending. If you are a lover of the 20th Century symphonists mentioned above and do not know Arnold's work you are truly missing something. The performances here are excellent and at Naxos' price you can't go wrong.
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