An ear-grabbing Arnold recording

The Northern Chamber Orchestra and the Manchester Sinfonia support standout soloists for a stirring performance of Arnold's best of British

Composer: Arnold 
Repertoire: Cello Concerto; Symphony for Strings; Fantasy for Recorder; Saxophone Concerto; Concertino for Flute and Strings 
Artists: Raphael Wallfisch (vlc), Esther Ingham (fl), John Turner (rec), Northern CO, Manchester Sinfonia/Nicholas Ward; Richard Howarth
Rating: 5/5
Genre: Orchestral
Label: NAXOS8.572640

The Music Arnold’s music combines an intellectual enjoyment of musical form with intense, often very lyrical expression. In fact, it’s sometimes so melodic and personal-sounding that you can get halfway through a movement before it dawning on you that the music isn’t strictly tonal.

The Performance It’s all great, but the highlights are two later works: the recording premiere of the Cello Concerto, and the phenomenal Fantasy for Recorder and String Quartet. The Northern Chamber Orchestra and the Manchester Sinfonia respectively deliver crisp, intelligent readings, supporting two stellar soloist performances. In the Cello Concerto, Wallfisch encapsulates Arnold’s peculiarly British musical sensibility brilliantly, giving us pithy severity one moment and personal, lyrical expansiveness the next. John Turner’s recorder performance is a virtuoso tour de force.

The Verdict Great soloists and exciting ensembles performing an ear-grabbing programme of fabulous 20th-century
 British music.