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Cat. No. CHAN 10024 Price: £10.5 No. of discs: 1
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CHAN 10024 - Arensky: Symphony No. 2 etc.
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Available From: 14 November 2003
Arensky’s Second Symphony was completed in 1889. Its strong and confident opening is perhaps a reflection of his growing reputation. One of its most remarkable features is its original handling of a traditional form. In the usual four movements, the symphony begins according to the textbook rules of sonata form, but at the point at which we expect the recapitulation to occur, Arensky suddenly breaks off and changes the mood entirely by neatly dovetailing the music into the ensuring Romanza. The Intermezzo fulfils the function of the usual symphonic scherzo in which Arensky employs his favourite quintuple time and it is only in the short, concluding Finale that the missing recapitulation from the first movement occurs, bringing the symphony to a triumphant close.

Arensky scored a great success with his four-act opera, A Dream on the Volga. The opera is still awaiting resurrection but the orchestral introduction clearly shows the composer’s dramatic flair and his gift for melody, colour and orchestration.

Arensky’s Suite No. 3 consists of a theme and nine characteristic variations. Dance rhythms predominate and though the baroque Minuet and Gavotte are retained, they are treated very much in the late romantic manner. In this world of rich musical fantasy, Chopin rubs shoulders with Handel to the strains of an urbane salon waltz, whilst the glittering polonaise that ends the suite evokes the very epitome of Russian imperial splendour.

The Intermezzo in G minor is a neatly crafted piece that may well have served Rachmaninov as a model for his early symphonic scherzo in D minor.
Reviews

'There is plenty to delight ear here, in the delicate dances and variations of the Suite No. 3, in the dramatic vigour of the introduction to the opera Nal and Damayanti, and in the charming little Intermezzo.'
The Telegraph

 

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