Arnold: Symphonies Nos. 5 & 6

Arnold: Symphonies Nos. 5 & 6

by Andrew Penny
     
 

Many consider Arnold's 1960 "Fifth Symphony" his greatest work. The Tempestuoso first movement exudes a dark character whose mood swings and angry outbursts often puzzle the listener. Its imaginative orchestration hints at the work of composers as diverse as Stravinsky, David Diamond,See more details below

Overview

Many consider Arnold's 1960 "Fifth Symphony" his greatest work. The Tempestuoso first movement exudes a dark character whose mood swings and angry outbursts often puzzle the listener. Its imaginative orchestration hints at the work of composers as diverse as Stravinsky, David Diamond, and Shostakovich, and its mostly anxious music comes across as deep and enigmatic, often yielding new facets on each listening. The second movement (Andante con moto) features a lovely, absolutely Mahlerian theme that imparts a sense of tranquility later disturbed by the dark middle section. The con fuoco third movement is certainly fiery and colorful, calling to mind the more exotic side of Vaughan Williams, especially in the menacing writing for low brass. The finale (Risoluto) is even more colorful in its orchestration -- chirping piccolos, raucous brass, thumping percussion, and a sense of militarism all impart a feeling of competing choirs from the orchestra until the lovely second-movement theme returns to gloriously quell the unrest and crown the work. The "Sixth Symphony" (1967) is nearly as convincing, though it lacks the thematic appeal of its sibling. The first movement (Energico) is desolate in its anxiety, with restive pizzicato low strings and crescendo-minded brass seeming to push toward some climatic release that never quite comes. The middle panel (Lento) brings an eerie tranquility at first, but the mood turns tense and the music soon adopts a jazzy swing whose snappy, leisurely character eventually turns nasty. The Con fuoco finale opens with a Bartokian festivity that quickly yields to relentlessly hell-bent strings, whose mission is more one of fleeing than searching. It is the festivity, however, that finally wins out, even if its victory is crushing and raucous. Andrew Penny captures the full measure of both these rarely played and recorded scores, drawing spirited, committed performances from this Dublin-based orchestra. Tempos are judicious and a sense of commitment from the players is always evident: brass can be burnished or assertive (as in the "Fifth"'s third movement or the "Sixth"'s finale), the strings are supple and can exude a seductive creamy sound (the "Fifth"'s second movement theme) and the woodwinds are colorful, switching from menace to playfulness to rowdiness, as in the last two panels of the "Fifth." The Naxos sound is open, vivid, and powerful.

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Product Details

Release Date:
06/19/2001
Label:
Naxos
UPC:
0730099200028
catalogNumber:
8552000
Rank:
165811

Related Subjects

Tracks

  1. Symphony No. 5, Op. 74  - Malcolm Arnold  - Andrew Penny  -  National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland  - David Ptolomey
  2. Symphony No. 6, Op. 95  - Malcolm Arnold  - Andrew Penny  -  National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland  - David Ptolomey

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