Arnold: Complete Symphonies / Hickox, Gamba, London Symphony, BBC Philharmonic

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There’s a very wide expressive range between the bright and breezy finale of Arnold’s Second Symphony and the angst-filled violence at the start of the Seventh, never mind the long, desolate finale of the Ninth. I suspect it will be a while before this strange, often disturbing, but colorful and compelling sound world achieves the acclaim that it deserves, and it may never get there all, but Arnold’s remains a distinctive voice and these symphonies deserve your attention. They certainly reward repeated listening, and even at their gnarliest they still feature memorable ideas presented with unfailing urgency and flair.

My preference in complete cycles remains Andrew Penny’s on Naxos, both for consistent excitement and the fact that the performances carry the composer’s imprimatur. That doesn’t always mean much, but here the quality of the results speaks for itself. These Chandos versions, however, are just about as fine, even though the cycle is split between two conductors and orchestras, with Rumon Gamba and the BBC Philharmonic in Nos. 7-9 microscopically less impressive than Hickox and the LSO in the first six (but then, Gamba’s team had the tougher job).

If you want to get all of the Arnold symphonies in a single shot, you can’t go wrong with this set.

-- David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com


Product Description:


  • Catalog Number: CHAN 10853(4) X


  • UPC: 095115185322


  • Label: Chandos


  • Composer: Malcolm Arnold


  • Conductor: Richard Hickox, Rumon Gamba


  • Orchestra/Ensemble: BBC Philharmonic Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra



Works:


  1. Symphony no 1, Op. 22

    Composer: Malcolm Arnold

    Ensemble: London Symphony Orchestra

    Conductor: Richard Hickox


  2. Symphony no 2, Op. 40

    Composer: Malcolm Arnold

    Ensemble: London Symphony Orchestra

    Conductor: Richard Hickox


  3. Symphony no 3, Op. 63

    Composer: Malcolm Arnold

    Ensemble: London Symphony Orchestra

    Conductor: Richard Hickox


  4. Symphony no 4, Op. 71

    Composer: Malcolm Arnold

    Ensemble: London Symphony Orchestra

    Conductor: Richard Hickox


  5. Symphony no 5, Op. 74

    Composer: Malcolm Arnold

    Ensemble: London Symphony Orchestra

    Conductor: Richard Hickox


  6. Symphony no 6, Op. 95

    Composer: Malcolm Arnold

    Ensemble: London Symphony Orchestra

    Conductor: Richard Hickox


  7. Symphony no 7, Op. 113

    Composer: Malcolm Arnold

    Ensemble: BBC Philharmonic Orchestra

    Conductor: Rumon Gamba


  8. Symphony no 8, Op. 124

    Composer: Malcolm Arnold

    Ensemble: BBC Philharmonic Orchestra

    Conductor: Rumon Gamba


  9. Symphony no 9, Op. 128

    Composer: Malcolm Arnold

    Ensemble: BBC Philharmonic Orchestra

    Conductor: Rumon Gamba