Movement 1: Adagio
Movement 2: Andante
Movement 3: Minuetto
Movement 4: Allegro con moto
By opening with an Adagio, Arriaga follows classical models. It is a well-constructed section designed, with its crescendi and mystery, to create expectancy. The Allegro vivace enters impulsively, as if heaving impatiently into existence. Taking the first subject as its lead, the second is more conciliatory, though still disturbed. Disquiet also possesses the development but it holds its fire until the outbreak which ushers in the recapitulation. The overall mood is one of anger, almost despair, but never resignation. There is a furious Presto coda. In the A major Andante there is great beauty in the two well-defined themes; Arriaga displays an individual approach to melodic intervals and a good understanding of woodwind effects. Perhaps the least original part of the work is the Minuet in D major, in which a limping rhythm alternates with a more conventional metre. A flute leads the charmingly simple Trio. Returning to the minor, the agitated violin theme of the finale is emphasized by offbeat woodwind punctuation, and while the second subject is more reassuring it barely establishes itself before being thrust aside by the serious matters that have preoccupied the bulk of the Symphony.
from notes by Robert Dearling © 1995