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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I Agree With Nick, 2 Aug 2011
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Mr. A. R. Boyes "Alan Boyes" (Newcastle, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Arnold - Symphonies (Audio CD)
The performances and recording are excellent. Whilst they were supervised by Arnold his last recording of the First was a very drawn out 38 minutes compared to Penney's more natural sounding 29. It is quite a dark and searching piece after an auspicious opening. Only in the finale do we get even a hint of Arnold's combination populist idiom with the more weighty material. The influence of Sibelius and Mahler are clear in this piece.

Sibelius is an even stronger influence in the Second. It is popular possibly because it is the least disquieting of his symphonic cycle. Penney completes the work in around 25 minutes without ever sounding rushed. The woodwind combinations throughout sound like imitations of Sibelius. The three quicker movements are quite extravert whilst the slow movement is more extended and searching, breaking out into a funeral march at one point. It is a well balanced symphony and has the hallmarks of much of Arnold's most popular works. If it lacks anything it is his combination of populist elements against more dissonant and darker elements. To some, that might make it all the more attractive.

Fine as these two early symphonies are they barely prepare you for the journey through the rest of his symphonic cycle. They're hardly bright eyed and innocent works but give no real hint of the traumas ahead.

I can recommend this recording very highly but, if you haven't done so already, I heartily recommend that you buy the whole Arnold symphonic series from Naxos, with Penny and the RTE Orchestra. These recordings represent one of Naxos's most successful recording cycles.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Catching up on Anold, 2 Jun 2013
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J. F. Pye (Risca, South Wales) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Arnold - Symphonies (Audio CD)
Decades ago, I bought the Groves' version of symphony 2 with the later set of english dances and ever since I've wanted more recordings of Arnold

This is a good start. Highly recommended.
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Arnold - Symphonies
Arnold - Symphonies by Malcolm Arnold (Audio CD - 1996)
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