This four-CD box set presents the complete cycle of the award winning recordings of Sir Malcolm Arnold's Symphonies under two of the finest conductors of their times, both exclusive to Chandos: the late Richard Hickox and Rumon Gamba, respectively conducting the London Symphony Orchestra and the BBC Philharmonic. The set is a must-have for all fans of Arnold as well as for those who want to know more about his symphonic compositions.
Among the English symphonists of the twentieth century, Malcolm Arnold is one of the very few prolific high-profile masters of the genre comparable to Vaughan Williams and his nine symphonies. The emotional and colouristic range of his style, together with his structural originality, sets his achievements apart from those of his compatriots who, likewise, engaged with the symphony to any significant extent.
The depth of Arnold's artistic vision was strikingly demonstrated by the monumental Fifth Symphony (1961), which left many distinguished reviewers perplexed by its disconcerting juxtaposition of the profound and the banal. Arnold's late symphonies build on the strengths of their predecessors, reflecting tension and contrasts in quite different ways. As so often in Arnold's work, the humorous and the funereal continue to exist side by side.