At the risk of being repetitious I just wanted to put in "my two cents worth".
1) I agree that the Gamba/Yates tempi are very fast but they can as an attempt to make the symphony less forbidding to those who might avoid Sir Malcolm's later music.
2)Speaking psychologically, the various elements of Arnold's personality-humorous, trite, serious, optimistic etc were all always present in his music, at least to me. It is just that the "tragic" elements came to dominate his music in the early 70s. In this way,both musically and psychologically, the 7th Symphony can be seen as an outgrowth of the 5th and 6th as Arnold's mood became steadily darker. While hard to listen to I would not want to be without the 7th.
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