Malcolm Arnold: Symphony No. 3

Malcolm Arnold's Symphony No.3
Symphony No. 3, Op. 63

01. Allegro-Vivace 11:11
02. Lento 12:57
03. Allegro con brio-Presto 07:10

The [passacaglia] second movement, elegiac in character, is a set of [twenty] variations based on a series of chords more than a melodic theme. The [Haydnesque] last movement is based on three main themes and could be loosely described as a rondo." The Sibelian sub-plot of the work Arnold attributes to the telescoped structure of the first movement, and the presence of "a recurrent leitmotif" redolent of Sibelius's Fifth Symphony... (From the sleeve notes by Piers Burton-Page).

Malcolm Arnold, the ground breaking British composer.
Malcolm Arnold, the ground breaking British composer.

Malcolm Arnold: Symphony No. 4

Malcolm Arnold's Symphony No.4
Symphony No. 4, Op. 71

Allegro-Poco piu mosso-Tempo primo 13:05
Vivace ma non troppo 05:05
Andantino 11:38
Con fuoco-Alla marcia-Tempo primo-Maestoso-Allegro molto 07:59

"was also the year of the [London] Notting Hill race riots...
I was appalled that such a thing could happen in this country that racial ideas have become increasingly strong in this country dismays me even more.... I have used very obvious West Indian and African percussion instruments and rhythms, in the hope, first, that its sounds well, and second, that it might help to spread the idea of racial integration.

... first subject... Lydian mode. The conflict between the Lydian mode, with its sharpened sub-dominant [fourth], and a scale which has no name, but has a sharpened sub-dominant [Lydian lower tetrachord] and a flattened leading-note [Phrygian upper tetrachord - coincidentally the combined tempered pitches of the 64th Carnatic mela, "Vachaspati"], plays an important part in the development of the movement.

The second subject is in the major (Ionian) scale, and is accompanied by a rhythmic figure in 8/8 time where the quavers are divided into 3+2+3 (1--2-123...)

"... second movement is a scherzo which is more chromatic than is usual in my music, believing, as I do, that excessive chromaticism is the most devitalizing dead-end in the music of the last sixty years. This movement is not intended to arouse emotions that are necessarily pleasant.

... the eruptive alla marcia interlude just before the end of the finale he now reveals to be "the frustration of the artist. It's meant to be completely crazy - I hope it sounds crazy." (From the sleeve notes by Piers Burton-Page).

Malcolm Arnold, the ground breaking British composer.
Malcolm Arnold, the ground breaking British composer.

Malcolm Arnold: Symphony No. 5

Malcolm Arnold symphony No.5
Symphony No. 5, Op. 74

Tempestuoso 10:32
Andante con moto 10:54
Con fuoco 05:07
Risoluto 06:03

"... scherzo, marked Con fuoco, is one such as only Arnold could have carried off. The nagging opening gesture prefaces a series of nonchalant motifs over a walking bass-line, merging into an aggressive fugato texture, and falling away just as quickly.

The trio is a telling incorporation of 1950s pop music into the symphonic argument, given substance by the constantly changing rhythm and instrumentation. The scherzo resumes its wayward course, only to be interrupted by a raucous brass outburst, driving the movement to a hectic conclusion.

...a brilliantly successful study in aspiration and failure. (From the sleeve notes by Piers Burton-Page).

Malcolm Arnold, the ground breaking British composer.
Malcolm Arnold, the ground breaking British composer.

Malcolm Arnold: Symphony No. 6

Malcolm Arnold symphony No.5
Symphony No.6, Op. 95
Energico 08:09
Lento 09:19
Con fuoco 07:13

... jazz influences in the opening Energico...
The Lento is Arnold’s most searching take on pop idioms.
(From the sleeve notes by Richard Whitehouse).

Malcolm Arnold, the ground breaking British composer.
Malcolm Arnold, the ground breaking British composer.

Malcolm Arnold: Symphony No. 7

Malcolm Arnold Symphony No.7
Symphony No.7 (1973) Op. 113
Allegro energico 16:23
Andante con moto 13:58
Allegro 07:43

"... the most extreme emotional aura of any of his works... ... Celtic traditional music suddenly strikes up - at first discreetly on harp and woodwind, then brazenly in a graphic evocation of an Irish folk-band.
The main material returns to steer the movement to a seemingly tragic conclusion, but the return of the cow-bell provokes a wholly unexpected outcome - two massive unison chords and three tonic chords which end the symphony, if not in triumph, at least in a mood of hard-won defiance." (From the sleeve notes by Richard Whitehouse).

Malcolm Arnold, the ground breaking British composer.
Malcolm Arnold, the ground breaking British composer.