If you are reading this review as a new listener of Malcolm Arnold, I want to immediately point you in the direction of his Symphonies Nos.2 and 5. That's the best place to start with his symphonies.
The next best place would be here, with his wild and animalistic Symphony No.4. Ok, maybe "animalistic" is going a bit far, but that's what the wild and jungle-evoking Finale might bring to mind. Granted, No.4 is a little 'funkier' than Symphonies No.2 and 5, but like them it is original in voice and expression. Arnold has a singular and identifiable composer's voice. Symphony No.4 contains Arnold's signature use of spooky half-childish percussion, as well as his grand writing for brass and woodwinds. Also like most Arnold symphonies, the music takes us on a ride through the night. This time, it sounds like we're on a midnight safari. It's surely one of his best symphonies.
Symphony No.3 is in three movements. It's not as much fun as NO.4, but still has the power of Arnold's best writing. The first movement and the finale are fine and grand examples of this composer's way with thematic development.
So, in addition to the other releases from Andrew Penny and the Ireland SO, pick up this CD and enjoy music from a true symphonist.