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Symphonies nos 5 & 6

5.0 étoiles sur 5 1 commentaire client

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Détails sur le produit

  • CD (6 avril 2001)
  • Nombre de disques: 1
  • Label: Naxos
  • ASIN : B00005B4C7
  • Autres éditions : Téléchargement MP3
  • Moyenne des commentaires client : 5.0 étoiles sur 5 1 commentaire client
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Description du produit

SYMPHONIES NOS 5 & 6

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Format: CD
La cinquième symphonie d'Arnold fut composée en 1961. Toujours d'une grande qualité d'écriture, cette composition continuera de ravir le mélomane le plus exigeant et surtout le plus blasé. Avec son thème initial en forme de point d'interrogation, le premier mouvement développe tout au long une ambiguïté très agréable et multiplie les parties solistes. Le II est très mahlérien dans l'expression, à la fois tragique et lyrique et l'on y retrouvera des échos rappelant les mouvements lents de ses grandes symphonies. Après un scherzo « con fuoco » qui passe à toute allure et où dominent les cuivres et percussions (bien souvent la "marque de fabrique" du compositeur) le IV nous fait entendre une marche typiquement anglaise et toujours beaucoup de contrastes entre les familles d'instruments. Il finit avec le retour, comme dans un songe, du thème lyrique du II.

La symphonie n°6 (datant de 1968) est caractérisée par l'influence qu'a eue la musique de l'époque (jazz, bossa-nova) sur Arnold. Le thème principal subit les attaques permanentes des cuivres et des percussions ; le discours musical multiplie les fragments rythmiques et thématiques et montre encore une fois l'indéniable habileté d'Arnold à jouer avec l'orchestre. Le II, très original, associe la musique d'époque à la mode avec une marche-procession assez angoissante. Le III, est un final « optimiste » à la Chostakovitch, mais, comme son aîné, très ambigu quant au message réel et comporte beaucoup trop d'ironie pour être vraiment sincère.
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Amazon.com: 5.0 étoiles sur 5 8 commentaires
1 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Amazingly Satisfying Symphonies Masterly Performed 21 août 2002
Par rodboomboom - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: CD Achat vérifié
What a find! From the other reviewers one can glimpse the stature of this composer/trumpeter.
Here his talents shine in two symphony offerings. The Fifth certainly illustrates so wonderfully what is charateristic of this composer: intensity of emotion, rhythm, flair for orchestration. Particularly fond of the Andante con moto, which shows his strong Mahler influence, with building anxieties and dissonance outbursts, but especially the peaceful landing with the flute restatement.
The Sixth with its Shostakovich textural undertones shines in the Lento. Here one sees his skill in modern film scores, and the harmonies which delight and tingle.
The Penny led National Symphony of Ireland does a masterful job, with outstanding performances by the percussion and woodwinds.
Great place to start perusal of this man's output. Bargain which has quality sound throughout.
1 internautes sur 2 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Malcolm Arnold: Great Symphonist 10 juin 2008
Par Samuel Stephens - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: CD Achat vérifié
Malcolm Arnold's symphonies have been my most satisfying discovery since the music of Berlioz. What I would do to put him in the mainstream repertory lists of orchestras!

The fifth symphony starts off gently. Woodwinds and sparkling percussion dominate in this dark, shadowy, but pleasant world. It's a thrilling work that features the keenest writing I know for percussion and woondwinds. The sixth symphony is just as good. Featuring the same orchestral makeup as the fifth, it goes for a more strident and strong attitude, with some pulsing and driving themes. The brass comes in full-throated in the third and final movement in the "cavalry ride" theme. At first hearing this movement may seem lacking in development, but at this stage in his writing Arnold knew what he wanted. This movement's grandiosity and finality makes a great end to the CD.

Andrew Penny and the Nat'l Orchestra of Ireland do and exemplary and superb job, as they do with all nine of the symphonies. Full recommendation!
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Best of his Symphonies 21 août 2014
Par Dr Michael Flint - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: CD Achat vérifié
Best of his Symphonies. Great value as always for Naxos disks. Well played with excellent sound quality. Unfortunately as is usual for disk posted to Australia, the box was broken.
9 internautes sur 9 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Two endearing masterpieces in slightly undercharacterised performances 15 septembre 2009
Par Philippe Vandenbroeck - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: CD
The British have been enthusiastic standard bearers of the symphonic tradition in the 20th century, witness the numerous and very memorable cycles transmitted to us by Vaughan Williams and Bax, of course, but also Tippett, Simpson, Rubbra and Arnold. Of these, Arnold - as the prolific author of a series of brilliant film scores and witty concertos (including a Grand Concerto Gastronomique for eater, waiter, food and orchestra) - is perhaps least widely known as a serious contributor to the symphonic tradition. In continental Europe very few music lovers will be familiar with his work. And I have yet to hear an Arnold symphony played by a non-British/Irish orchestra. Nevertheless, his 9 symphonies are a significant a statement as any of his distinguished colleagues. The orchestral brilliance and raucous humour so evident in his occasional music are an equally prominent feature of the symphonies, but there they are counterbalanced by a particularly gritty sense of loss and fatality. Despite the witticisms and pastiche, Arnold was a tormented, unpredictable personality that was given to an intense struggle with his inner demons. But he was also a great craftsman with a natural ability to knead this combustible material into compelling, classically proportioned symphonic structures.

The Fifth and Sixth symphonies occupy a middle place between the more ebulient group of the first four symphonies and the darker hued final trilogy. The emotional ambit of the Fifth is very difficult to chart. Although the first movement is marked "tempestuoso" its dominant mood is a reflective, bittersweet serenity, occasionaly punctured by jagged outbursts. Oboe, pizzicato strings, tubular bells and harp set down the brighter end of a unique orchestra colour palette from the very first few seconds. Later on autumnal strings and wistful brass solos in their lower registers (horn, tuba) introduce a more somber element. Structurally we feel the hand of a master symphonist although Arnold does not rely on traditional templates. The thematic material is constantly evolving in unpredictable ways, morphing into a shadowy procession of alternately endearing and ghostly figures.

The slow movement - marked "andante con moto" - is a warmly expansive utterance, richly harmonised and built around a nostalgic, flowing theme. In the context of the radically avant garde 1960s writing such a melody was considered to be a sign of wilful naiveté and Arnold was crucified for it by the critical establishment. In our postmodern age the pendulum has swung back and simplicity and spirituality in music (Pärt, Gorecki and other pious minimalists) have been re-embraced. Arnold's andante goes beyond that in combining a nobility of speech with his characteristic grit.

Two shorter, faster movements bring the symphony to a close. The scherzo is a riotious affair which thematically and texturally connects to the introductory movement. The finale starts in high spirits as a kind of military tattoo, but soon strings start to weave ominous patterns and with the piccolo shrieking in utter alarm and percussion pounding it seems as if proceedings are under siege. This surreal atmosphere gives way to a restatement of the D major theme of the slow movement in unabashed splendour. It's hard to position oneself as a listener vis-à-vis this kind of apotheosis: is it vulgar kitsch or is there genuine depth of expression? These are the kinds of questions that are also prompted whilst listening to Shostakovich. Arnold's Russian counterpart comes to mind more than once when studying the former's Fifth symphony. Shostakovich's Fifteenth shares its emotional ambiguity in oscillating between childlike innocence and understated tragedy (incidentally, both Arnold and Shostakovich used 12-tone rows in the first movement of their respective symphonies). I'm also thinking of Shostakovich's Sixth symphony, a tilted three-movement structure consisting of a very long introductory largo followed by two boisterous fast movements. In the Arnold symphony the two first movements also function as a predominantly reflective introduction to the scherzo and finale. Arnold's Fifth characteristically ends with a question mark: the apotheosis dies down and again the first movement's questioning chords on the tubular bells supported by sombre strings, morendo.

The Fifth and Sixth symphonies are separated by six tumultuous years (all three of Arnold's siblings died, he divorced and re-married, moved away from London to rural Cornwall and fathered an autistic child). The Sixth is often considered to be the most enigmatic of the nine symphonies and it's relatively less performed. It's indeed a colder and at first sight less ingratiating work. Surprisingly, Arnold takes his cue from contemporaneous developments in jazz and pop music. The first movement has been said to be inspired by Charlie Parker and weaves many `Bird'-like figurations in its fabric. It's a tempestuous movement that is grafted on a hypnotic rhytmic spine of jazz-like running pizzicato basses. It features many memorable ideas, a lamenting melody introduced by the oboe and later taken over by the strings being one of the more disquieting. The most startling passage - Paul Jackson, an Arnold biographer, finds it "bizarre and grotesque" - is a succession of two savage crescendos, one of 16 bars and the other of 18, over a `sleazy' riff in the lower strings. It's the kind of thing that lingers in one's mind a long time after having listened to this symphony. As in the Fifth, formally the movement doesn't rely on received schemata. Piers Burton-Page has written about the first movement: "Arnold generates his own brand through complexity (...) thematic layers collide, become paralysed, break free, and then generate further argument, in textures of real orginality and uneasy rhythmic complexity, culminating in a fierce climax." Which would seem to be very applicable to the first movement of the Fifth symphony as well ...

The second movement is a brooding lento which always makes me think of these early science-fiction films in which vulnerable spacecraft travel through vast swaths of menacing emptiness. Arnold characteristically dispels the funereal atmosphere with a breezy `big band' gig, giving way to frenetic, circus-like bustle and then a savage march over a pounding ostinato in the timpani before connecting back to the introductory "space" music. The movement ends in a most surprising way with a long, ear-shattering crescendo in B natural on the trumpets.

The finale of this three-movement work is a boisterous rondo built around a brash, galloping main theme in the brass. Again Shostakovich seems to lurk in the background. There is a most lovely episode, just before the final recapitulation of the main theme, with a lyrical, sunny theme in the strings that is repeated three times. The end is less equivocal than in the Fifth: the main theme simply brings the work to a joyous conclusion.

In short: two marvellous and endearing symphonic masterpieces. I have a particularly soft spot for the Fifth, which opened for me the door to this fabulous symphonic cycle, but the more I listen to the Sixth, the more impressive it gets.

Andrew Penny delivers commendable performances with his Irish forces. Naxos' recorded sound is very clean and transparant. If I wouldn't know any other interpretations I could very well live with these recordings. As it stands, the catalogue offers (or offered) some alternatives, some of which outshine the Naxos disc. The composer himself recorded the Fifth Symphony with the City of Birmingham Orchestra for EMI back in 1972. It is a splendid reading - coupled with a very worthwhile Second symphony under Sir Charles Groves - that is currently sadly unavailable (Arnold: Symphonies 2 & 5/Peterloo Overture). In comparison Penny sounds a little cautious and less characterful. Particularly the all-important solos in the Arnold recording seem to be more empathetically played. It is a recording to which I will always return.

The Sixth symphony has been recorded by, amongst others, Vernon Handley and the Royal Philarmonic Orchestra (Symphony No. 6; Fantasy on a Theme of John Field; Sweeney Todd Suite; Tam O'Shanter Overture). Again, although the Naxos version is fine, Handley delivers it with more bite and appreciably greater depth of feeling. His Lento is almost two minutes slower compared to Penny. Another advantage, for some, is that Handley couples the Sixth with some lesser known pieces in Arnold's output (the Sweeney Todd concert suite, the Tam O'Shanter Overture and the Fantasy on a Theme of John Field for piano and orchestra).

However, given the budget pricing of this CD and general high quality of the recording, it certainly deserves five stars. Arnold afficionados should look beyond the Naxos disc to some of the other superb recordings of these works.
1 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 An outstanding version of these two works by Penny to match Hickox 10 mars 2013
Par I. Giles - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: CD
This disc, very well recorded in 2000, comes into direct competition with Hickox. It also competes with Handley who combines different symphonies and partially with Arnold himself. The first thing to be stated clearly is that the playing of the Irish orchestra is quite the equal of the orchestras on the rival discs and that is no mean feat. The second thing to be stated clearly is that this recording by Naxos matches the Chandos one for Hickox and is far more weighty and 'present' than the Confer recording for Handley and is simply newer than EMI's for Arnold.

Penny and Hickox are remarkably similar in their approaches to both works. Both bring out the many lyrical passages and press the contradictory, dissonantly grinding and powerful climaxes fearlessly home. There is humour too, frequently tinged with irony which can be bitter. These works also touch on other genres such as can be heard in popular music but utterly transformed almost beyond recognition. Of the two works and their relative balance of light and shade, the 5th symphony is the less troubled but with the 6th symphony there is an obvious darkening of mood which leads on to the more troubled final three symphonies (7-9). Both of these conductors have the full measure of these two fascinating and rewarding works.

Arnold was an extremely experienced orchestrator and manipulator of musical ideas having learnt much of these things through composing over 80 film scores. However, those expecting to hear the lighter side of the composer such as in the sets of dances may be in for a bit of a surprise here. These are very fine but troubled works. This can also be said of many of the world's finest composers of course so this is no good reason to avoid them. They remain finely crafted and important musical statements by a composer who really had something to say.

Handley takes a swifter and generally lighter view of these works. He is not helped by his more reticent recording. I would not prefer this to either Hickox or Penny. Arnold's own recording of the 5th symphony coupled with the very fine 2nd symphony is something of a 'must buy' as both the composer and the orchestra were on top form and the recording is faithful.

For those interested in this particular coupling the choice lies between Hickox and Penny. Both are very fine but Penny has a considerable price advantage which is hard to ignore. Even with different coupling s to consider when collecting several of these fine symphonies I would be inclined to stick with Hickox and Penny and pass over Handley who strikes me as a little tame overall and not as vividly recorded.

I would suggest therefore that this disc by Penny deserves serious consideration for purchase either on its own or as part of a larger selection of the symphonies. It would also be worth comparing the discs by Hickox and Penny to be certain as to personal preference if possible.
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