Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Gustav Holst, Andre Previn, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra|
Gustav Holst: The Planets, Op 32
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Now, the Planets Are Aligned
grok_ | San Diego, CA United States | 06/11/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The most popular selections from this suite are Mars, Jupiter, and to a lesser degree, Uranus. For those as yet unfamiliar with Holst, all of the selections will become very listenable and memorable. Here, Mars is ominous and menacing, and Jupiter is bold and bouncy, just as they should be.Previn finds the right balance with the orchestra, so the strings and brass do not overshadow each other. In the lesser-known movements, Previn exhibits an understanding for English composers, evident here as well as with his Vaughn Williams performances. And, what better orchestra than the LSO! However, what impresses most about this performance is the tempi of both Mars and Jupiter. The pace of Bernstein and Karajan is too fast: Ormandy is much too slow. Previn (and Dutoit and Solti) finds the pace that enables expression without being ponderous.Sonically, this may be the best recording of The Planets available. Telarc engineered this in its typical, flawless way. There is great interplay between instruments here, and Telarc captures them with great clarity. The buoyant movements with The Planets really benefit from the wide dynamics.All in all, this CD has everything in its favor. The Planets are indeed aligned. Five bright stars."
Stellar performance !
jean couture | Quebec city - Canada | 05/20/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Gustav HOLST's famous orchestral suite 'The Planets' is, without an ounce of a doubt, one of the top achievements in the music art form of the twentieth century. Previn's recording with the Royal Philharmonic has shades of greatness. The central and final sequences in particular are monumental.
Concerning the first part, 'Mars', i've hardly heard better than Boult--or Dutoit notably. Still, it doesn't mean things are "out of tune" with the Previn/RPO ; to the contrary, Previn's contains its share of excitement and is, obviously, of significant value. And if 'Uranus' and 'Neptune' do not seem to capture the sense of a cold, inhuman, remote mystery as much as in Mackerras/RLPO, for instance, then Previn rather insists on other aspects of the journey. Not to mention the clarity and tremendous power of orchestral playing that make this cd a reasonable "best choice". As is usual with most Telarcs, recorded sound is excellent. I intentionally exclude the old "glories of the past" recordings, such as the inimitable composer's own or Boult's boisterous and robust BBC performance of 1945, because it would rather be unfair to put those side-by-side with today's great sounding stereo versions.
'The Planets' were first performed in 1918. At that time, the suite didn't include Pluto. This was before the planet went discovered in 1930 but, ironically, the suite was accurate in portraying eight planets instead of nine : There have been much debate and controversy on the status of Pluto in the last few decades which ultimately led the IAU's definition to be modified and now classifies it as a "dwarf planet". It's also interesting to note that Holst's composition is akin to the frozen, often distant and hostile atmosphere of Vaughan Williams's Seventh Symphony ('Antartica'), even if the themes are obviously different. One is a brilliant attempt to portray (and pay tribute to) the expedition of Scott on the continent of ice ; the other is a powerful (and quite imaginative) attempt to situate the human being in the universe which surrounds him. Both are great works by two geniuses, two congenial minds who belonged to the same generation. 'The Planets' remain Holst's best-known opus, for better and for worse, and endure as one of the most popular pieces of music in the concert hall.
There exist many excellent recordings of this unequivocal masterpiece (some might want to refer to Karajan and also to Levine, both excellent) ; the Previn/LSO (on EMI) and Boult/LPO (also on EMI) are equally very good, reliable accounts. The latter has been coupled on cd with Elgar's 'Enigma Variations' and is one of the best sounding records featuring Boult. Still, this stellar RPO performance--brightly directed by maestro Andre Previn--will stay on my list as one of the most memorable moments in the course of 'The Planets'. *****"
Royal Philharmonic, can't beat it
A. Dedrick | Lexington, MA | 01/31/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This recording is, by far, the best recording of The Planets I have ever heard. The Chicago Symphony is great at caucaughony (ie, mvts i, iv, and v), but the Royal Philharmonic does a much better all around job on every movement. I recommend this recording to people of all musical experiences."