I raved enthusiastically over Arnell's epic wartime Third Symphony and these works are just as good, or even better. Both are absolutely first rate, gripping from first to last. The Fifth, in particular, dedicated in memory of Arnell's father is one of the best 20th century symphonies I know. It features a tune based on an old music hall song "Dear old Pals, Jolly old Pals" which Arnell's father apparently liked to sing. When it returns, at the end of the Symphony, it is a wonderfully moving and touching moment. I have played this CD over and over again since buying it. Echoes of Copland, Nielsen, Alwyn and, at one point, even Bruckner resonate through these works but Arnell is still a composer of vision and originality.
If you like melodic, well-structured, moving and powerful symphonies, don't miss this great tribute to Arnell on his 90th birthday.