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Arnold: Dances


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Audio CD, July 9, 1996
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Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

Samples
Song Title Time Price
listen  1. English Dances, Set 1, Op. 27: No. 1. Andantino 2:51$0.89  Buy MP3 
listen  2. English Dances, Set 1, Op. 27: No. 2. Vivace 1:44$0.89  Buy MP3 
listen  3. English Dances, Set 1, Op. 27: No. 3. Mesto 2:25$0.89  Buy MP3 
listen  4. English Dances, Set 1, Op. 27: No. 4. Allegro risoluto 1:38$0.89  Buy MP3 
listen  5. English Dances, Set 2, Op. 33: No. 1. Allegro non troppo 3:07$0.89  Buy MP3 
listen  6. English Dances, Set 2, Op. 33: No. 2. Con brio 1:29$0.89  Buy MP3 
listen  7. English Dances, Set 2, Op. 33: No. 3. Grazioso 2:29$0.89  Buy MP3 
listen  8. English Dances, Set 2, Op. 33: No. 4. Giubiloso 2:12$0.89  Buy MP3 
listen  9. 4 Scottish Dances, Op. 59: No. 1. Pesante 2:08$0.89  Buy MP3 
listen10. 4 Scottish Dances, Op. 59: No. 2. Vivace 2:08$0.89  Buy MP3 
listen11. 4 Scottish Dances, Op. 59: No. 3. Allegretto 3:10$0.89  Buy MP3 
listen12. 4 Scottish Dances, Op. 59: No. 4. Con brio 1:21$0.89  Buy MP3 
listen13. 4 Cornish Dances, Op. 91: No. 1. Vivace 1:36$0.89  Buy MP3 
listen14. 4 Cornish Dances, Op. 91: No. 2. Andantino 3:09$0.89  Buy MP3 
listen15. 4 Cornish Dances, Op. 91: No. 3. Con moto e sempre senza parodia 2:36$0.89  Buy MP3 
listen16. 4 Cornish Dances, Op. 91: No. 4. Allegro ma non troppo 2:41$0.89  Buy MP3 
listen17. 4 Irish Dances, Op. 126: No. 1. Allegro con energico 1:19$0.89  Buy MP3 
listen18. 4 Irish Dances, Op. 126: No. 2. Commodo 2:44$0.89  Buy MP3 
listen19. 4 Irish Dances, Op. 126: No. 3. Piacevole 1:38$0.89  Buy MP3 
listen20. 4 Irish Dances, Op. 126: No. 4. Vivace 2:06$0.89  Buy MP3 
listen21. 4 Welsh Dances, Op. 138: No. 1. Allegro 1:22$0.89  Buy MP3 
listen22. 4 Welsh Dances, Op. 138: No. 2. Poco lento 2:59$0.89  Buy MP3 
listen23. 4 Welsh Dances, Op. 138: No. 3. Vivace 2:08$0.89  Buy MP3 
listen24. 4 Welsh Dances, Op. 138: No. 4. Andante con moto 3:27$0.89  Buy MP3 


Frequently Bought Together

Arnold: Dances + English Dances Sets 1 & 2 / Cornish Dances
Price for both: $23.00

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (July 9, 1996)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Naxos
  • ASIN: B00000149N
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #115,943 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Editorial Reviews

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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See all 10 customer reviews
These outer movements are truly exhilarating.
Brett A. Kniess
And for this CD, it is both a testament to the prowess that was Sir Arnold's gift for melody and to showcase some of the best that light music has to offer.
Daniel White
The quality of the performance is excellent and the interpretation by Mr. Penny pleases me.
James Robinson

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Brett A. Kniess on July 3, 2003
Format: Audio CD
Malcolm Arnold, famous for his film music (Bridge on the River Kwai), symphonies (many available on the Chandos label), and overtures, is here represented in a very entertaining series of Dances; composed between English Dances Set I in 1950 and the Welsh Dances in the past decade or so, spanning Opus' 27 to 138.

In many of Arnolds' symphonies, he uses many sounds evocative of Mahler and Sibelius, often brooding, creating expansive landscapes with little program associated with the music. With this series of dances, you will find nothing of that. The dances might most closely be associated with a Holst Suite or the Vaughan Williams Folk Song Suite, etc., but that would be doing these works an injustice. Each set is filled with musical pictures of each country they represent.

Each set of Dances follows the form of 1. Fast Movement 2. Scherzo-esque movement 3. Slow Movement featuring a lonely solo wind instrument on melody taken up by the sweeping strings later and 4. Fast Movement.

The outside movements are all gloriously vivacious. They often feature bubbling woodwind sections, tight fast moving brass acclamations, extremely high horn rips, rousing melodies and climaxes to get the blood boiling. These outer movements are truly exhilarating. The scherzo movements are very playful, usually featuring the interplay between woodwinds and strings. The slow movements are among some of the most beautiful written. Obviously taken from folk-song sources, these gorgeous melodies and orchestrations remind one of Grainger and Vaughan Williams.

This CD alone could be bought just for English dances I & II and the Scottish dances (which has the jaw-dropping sixteenth-note triple-toungings and ear-crunching horn-rips).
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Hugh Oliver on July 13, 2009
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Andrew Penny's recordings of Arnold Symphonies 1-9 are superb and I give them all five stars. This performance of the Dances doesn't rate as highly because the Queensland Symphony does not play with the precision or personality of Penny's Irish group. The Four Scottish Dances are an example: The trumpets struggle to articulate in movement 1 ; the bassoonist is cold sober in 2 (don't know if this was Penny's decision or if he just let it get by), and the oboe playing is not in the same league as the fine work on Penny's Irish Orchestra CDs. Solo work throughout the Queensland recording has an anonymity which is more typical of good college players who don't or can't reveal themselves in their playing,and are unable to contribute the kind of artistry which merges with the composition to add to the overall impact.

Recording quality, at least on my system, sounds treble-heavy with middle voices and basses seriously shortchanged. I know my components have their limits but I hear no such problems on Penny's National Orchestra of Ireland recordings. Bryden Thomson's Chandos CD of the Dances has detail missing from the Queensland Dances and has much better overall sound.

A main reason to get this CD of the Dances is the inclusion of the Four Welsh Dances, which are not on Thomson's recording. The Welsh Dances present a more pessimistic and somber Arnold; they're a fine work.

In summary, get Penny for Arnold's Symphonies and get Thomson for all Dances except the Welsh.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By James Robinson on February 6, 2004
Format: Audio CD
If you are looking for something with a contemporary sound
with lots of energy then buy this CD. I was listening to
six dance settings by Holst and I fell asleep, then this CD
comes on and Wow! What a wakeup call. The quality of the performance is excellent and the interpretation by Mr. Penny
pleases me. Some of his tempos don't quite conform to the score but the effect achieved is believable. I give four stars because the overall recording level seems a bit low.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By I. Giles TOP 500 REVIEWER on November 21, 2012
Format: Audio CD
This disc, made in 1995, comes into close competition with the much-respected compilation disc from recordings made by the composer in 1979 and 1990 on Lyrita. That is still available and still sounds very well. It also demonstrates the very special ability that Arnold had to conduct his own music with insight and flair (not unlike Britten on his own recordings).

Nevertheless this disc is a strong competitor. Firstly, it has a price advantage as well as having a newer recording vintage. This latter is not really significant as Lyrita was years ahead of the competition as a recording company and had the advantage of the LPO on very good form. Nonetheless this disc has the added advantage of being even more complete as it includes the Four Welsh Dances that had not yet been composed at the time of the earlier disc. All of this is very well played and with evident sympathy by the Queensland orchestra under Andrew Penny.

In my opinion, owning both discs, I personally feel that Arnold has the edge as regards sheer flair for the epic scale of some of these wonderful short pieces - the last of the Cornish Dances being an example. There is little to choose as regards recording quality but there is a significant difference in price which may be the deciding factor for many purchasers as so much else is of similar quality and enjoyment. Purchasers cannot really go wrong with either disc. Buy both!
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