Arnold’s third “Little Symphony” completed on September 1st 1964, extends the scope of his two earlier essays in this form. The Sinfonietta No. 1 composed in 1954 is scored for two oboes, two horns and strings and comprises three light weight movements. The Sinfonietta No. 2 of 1958 exchanges the oboes for flutes and presents a more sombre mood. The Sinfonietta No. 3 is scored for a classical chamber orchestra comprising one flute, two oboes, two bassoons, two horns and strings. Arnold uses these forces in four concise movements to convey an altogether more serious mood than presented in his earlier examples. The first movement is predominantly anxious, the second similar only more turbulent. The Andante sets a lonely melody against acid harmonies and the finale is a study in rhythmic impetus.
© Margaret Archibald