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CD Review

Malcolm Arnold

Symphonies #5 & 6

  • Symphony #5, Op. 74
  • Symphony #6, Op. 95
National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland/Andrew Penny
Naxos 8.552000
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This coupling successfully concludes Andrew Penny's admirably perceptive traversal through Malcolm Arnold's often enigmatic yet beautiful symphonies.

The Fifth is probably the most popular of the nine and it receives a boisterous reading here, comparing rather well with other past recordings such as the benchmark Groves (EMI) and the more recent forays of Hickox (Chandos) and Bostock (Classico). The Sixth is quite compact in size and is in three movements unlike its predecessor which is in four but its depth of feeling definitely makes it one of the most overlooked in the cycle. Penny is quite superb in his pacing of the central Lento which is a keynote of the work and the whole interpretation strikes me as very highly charged.

The recording is also outstandingly vivid and is an excellent global end to this fine Arnold symphonic examination.

Copyright © 2002, Gerald Fenech