Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Thomas Arne, Adrian Shepherd, Cantilena|
Thomas Augustine Arne: Four Symphonies
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English music of strong character and originality
Brooks | Chappaqua, New York USA | 01/29/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Arne is not one of those countless Handel imitators who sprung up to fill his shoes after the great German master's death. Although I personally like the music of such composers as Boyce and Stanley, Thomas Arne (1711-1778) forges forward musically into a more Italianate and pre-classical vein by the time he wrote these symphonies in the 1760's. They were written for a middle-class London audience--to be performed in the open air in fashionable Vauxhall Garderns. The symphony in E flat is particularly fine--the opening movement is marked by a march tempo with fully classical and appropriate use of drums and trumpets without the top-heavy sound of someone like Boyce. Adrian Shepherd directs Cantilena on modern instruments, and it still sounds very believable. Arne however was more a composer of opera, so one should check out the recent recordings of his opera "Artaxerxes" on Hyperion or of Nicholas McGegan's recording of the masque "Alfred", from which the original air "Rule, Britannia!" came from. Haydn himself deeply admired the then-dead Arne's work when he visited London in 1791, impressed by the still-running opera "Artaxerxes." This disc is a fine promo for probably the most important and influential figure in English music between Handel and Elgar."
Beautiful early English symphonies
R. Broadhead | Southwestern USA | 11/12/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Thomas Arne (1710-1778), an English contemporary of Handel,is not a well-remembered composer. A number of years younger than Handel, he lived in London at the same time, and thereffore lived to a certain extent in the shadow of the older master. Today Arne is remembered, if at all, as the composer of Rule Brittania (which came from his masque Alfred) and for a popular arrangement of God Save the King. If one considered only these two compositions, one might suspect that Arne composed only jingoistic, popular works. Nothing could be further from the truth as Arne composed a number of oratorios and masques as well as numerous popular songs. In his quest to be regarded as a serious composer, he composed a number of symphonies of which the four on this recording have been preserved, having been originally published in 1767.
These are short, 3 movement symphonies written in an older, pre-Haydn style. The movements of No. 1 in C major are allegro-andante-allegro. No. 2 in F major has as its movements presto-andantina-moderato allegro. No. 3 in E flat major is written as andante e piu-larghetto-tempo di minuetto. No. 4 is moderato-larghetto-vivace. The symphonies are short ranging in length from 8:31 for No. 1 to 14:11 for No. 4. The fast movements of all symphonies have driving melodies - most have complex orchestration variously involving strings, woodwinds, horns, and/or flutes. The slow movements are emotional and gentle. The style of music varies from baroque to early classical. The symphonies show development from simpler affairs (1 and 2) to more developed and complex works (3 and 4). Symphony No. 3 reminds me melodically of Handel in several places. The other 3 symphonies are more original, especially No. 4 where the use of horns playing melodies intertwined with those of the woodwinds and strings is captivating.
The symphonies on this CD had been forgotten for about 200 years until re-published/discovered in 1973. We are fortunate that Chandos has seen to record these small masterpieces. The Cantilena, a small Scottish orchestra under the direction of Adrian Shepard, provides an excellent performance. This recording dating from 1985, is digital with full bright and clear sound.
The symphonies on this recording provide us with music of London of the mid-1700's by a composer other than Handel. They are examples of lovely early symphonies. In his day, Arne was very popular and this CD shows us why."