Symphony No 76, like the other two, has the standard four movements and, unlike many of his other symphonies, no slow introduction to the first. Here we are launched straight into the first subject, an alternation of vigorously arpeggiated chords and a restrained, downward-moving phrase. There is no second subject as such, unless we include the brief pianissimo phrase (in the tonic key) that follows the second appearance of the falling idea. The Adagio begins with the strings alone, making the entrance of the wind on a pianissimo chord all the more effective; they return at the climax of the movement, a fortissimo tour de force of demisemiquavers and staccato semiquavers. The Minuet is followed by a lighthearted Rondo, featuring some brief woodwind solos before the final coda.
from notes by Matthew Rye © 1991