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Frank Behrens
Brattleboro Reformer, June 2002

"...The whole product is a must for those who love 20th century tonal music."

Ottawa Citizen, March 2002

"Best known as a writer of film scores (Bridge on the River Kwai, most notably) and occasional music, the bulk of [Arnold's] output is of a more serious, 'classical' character. Yet his music does have a lightness and transparency, even in its most serious moments, that cause some listeners to dismiss him and his tonal idiom. These symphonies convey a wide spectrum of emotions, though without ever becoming as compelling or complex as those of other composers of his time, like Shostakovich or Simpson. This set should appeal to listeners who would like to explore a unified body of work that poses many modest challenges but few real difficulties."

Andrew Achenbach
Gramophone, December 2001

"The merits of the enterprising Naxos set are considerable. Drawing some consistently bright-eyed, agreeably polished playing from his useful Dublin band, Andrew Penny brings a clear headed perception to Sir Malcolm Arnold's uniquely rewarding symphonic odyssey... Overall, then, a notable achievement and terrific value for money. Excellent presentation too."

David Hurwitz

"This set arguably constitutes the best series of recordings in the Naxos catalog--performances of uniformly high quality made in the presence of the composer and recorded with more realistic balances and cleaner textures than any of their rivals. While all of these readings are first class, highlights include a superb Symphony No. 5 and interpretations of Nos. 7 and 8 in which conductor Andrew Penny sets tempos that allow Arnold's fanciful orchestrations to register with maximum color and impact. Several of the individual discs in this series already have been reviewed, so there's no need to recapitulate further. At any price, you can't do better." 10/10"

Piers Burton-Page
International Record Review

"Congratulations are the order of the day here. Andrew Penny's ability to take the long view over the five years during which this cycle was recorded, the steadiness and responsiveness of the National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland to music which can hardly have been familiar, and Naxos's unwavering commitment to the project of recording the nine Arnold symphonies, all deserve to be properly saluted, and to be rewarded with healthy sales figures. The determination of all concerned has resulted in there now being available at super-budget price a body of work second to none."

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