RICHARD ARNELL (b.1917): Symphony No. 1, Op. 31, Symphony No. 6 "The Anvil", Op. 171, Sinfonia quasi variazioni, Op. 13.
Catalogue Number: 01K001
Label: Dutton Epoch
Reference: CDLX 7217
Description: This series concludes with the 1941 Sinfonia, a five-movement work in which the composer's wide-spanning, slow-moving string lines, welling brass and wind ostinati (with Sibelian echoes in the second movement scherzo) are harbingers of the powerful neo-romanticism of the Second and Third Symphonies of 1944 and 1945. The 1943 No. 1, however, is quite different - a clean-textured and transparent work of neo-classical proportions and style which makes much of back-and-forth between winds and strings with particularly expressive writing for the latter. Very odd is the 1992-94 Sixth: in four brief movements ("Introduction", "Structure and Tune", "Keyboard Event" and "Conclusion") lasting only 15 minutes in all, the work begins with a piano chord, followed by the striking of an anvil and Beethoven's Muss es sein? on the winds. The three succeeding movements follow with, obviously, a prominent piano in "Keyboard Event", and a seven-minute finale full of enigmatic rhythms, the Muss es sein? again and a reappearance of both piano and anvil. Resolutely tonal and quite unlike anything you've heard lately with the title "Symphony". Royal Scottish National Orchestra; Martin Yates.