Ray Barnes | Surrey, British Columbia Canada | 07/01/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Once in a while you get lucky and come across a very good recording for very little money. This Laserlight issue, unlike most of them, features Western musicians, in this case the London Symphony Orchestra under Geoffrey Simon, and regardless of price this is an excellent performance. It has great digital sound, excellent playing, and is well conducted too. The Paganini coupling is perhaps a pretty strange choice, but to be fair it is well done too. In comparison to the Millennium issue with Sir Adrian Boult leading the Vienna State Opera Orchestra, at the same super-budget price range, this performance is absolutely superior in every respect. There is also an excellent budget release of this music, coupled I believe with The Perfect Fool also by Holst, played by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, which ranks alongside this issue. The documentation is brief, but that should not deter anybody. In comparison to the full or medium priced issues directed by Karajan, Dutoit, Mackerras, Boult (in England), et al, this issue is not quite in the same class, but comes pretty darn close, at one-third the cost. Truly a great buy. Highly recommended."
YOU CAN BE HOLST TO THIS FIND FOR A PITTANCE!
Melvyn M. Sobel | Freeport (Long Island), New York | 11/29/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Like so many budget CDs, this one would also be suspect, digital or not, because of the label... and the tiny tickling at the back of our craniums that alerts us to probable cause; a person usually has no way to counterbalance the options. Price is the deciding factor. That and our basic judgement and intuition. I used all three and, much to my sheer delight, was rewarded by one of the finest versions of The Planets I've yet heard. Previous performances of choice have been Steinberg, Dutoit, Karajan, Previn, Mackerras, Boult, et. al. These conductors, naturally, have much to say. Naturally, but so does Simon and the LSO at a fraction of the cost. And just so you don't think I'm being simply and altogether pecuniary here, I would venture to say that Laserlight has given the LSO a remarkably-engineered, vivid, totally convincing sound picture. I've never heard such a frightening rendition of "Uranus, The Magician," or been swept away so thoroughly by the martial opening of "Mars, The Bringer of War." Or so mesmerized by "Venus." Or enchanted by "Neptune."
[Running time: 61:01]"
Exceeds my expectations
terrilh | Birmingham, AL United States | 09/21/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"You really can't judge this piece based on the price. I own 3 different recordings of this. The first was a "Penguins Classic" version which was technically perfect. It sounded great but it just didn't have very much feeling or a dynamic quality that resembled watching a movie. The second recording I got was this one. I have played most of the planets before, play a few of the instruments that are used in them, and even own the orchestral score for the music. This is an extremely accurate reproduction of the music. They don't have little mistakes and some of the other stuff you hear in other recordings.
I just hate it when people think something is good just because it has a great name or costs a lot. My dad recently got a new recording that was recomended for it's "superior quality" by a high-end stereo magazine. The "quality" doesn't have anything to do with the ability of the players. I have to admit that I have played the trombone licks in Jupiter better than they did. I am just 18.
This recording is just almost perfect. There are no uneasy breaks or points where the players didn't seem like they were comfortable. Their ability to play their instruments with total confidence and control is completely unsurpassed by the other recordings I have heard. Any musician can definately take some tips from listening to the way they play."
A Brilliant Modern Symphonic Piece
Robert Pollock | Durham, NC USA | 02/22/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Gustav Holst's "The Planets" is a brilliant portrayal of the other celestial bodies outside of Earth (except for Pluto because it wasn't discovered back when Holst composed this). Mars is violent and in a military march form. Parts of it have the brassy dominating sound resembling that of Darth Vader's theme. Venus sounds like something out of a black-and-white romantic movie, high lush strings, celesta, french horn and all, a personal favorite. Mercury is a very playful sounding piece, strong emphasis on the woodwinds and strings. Jupiter is definately my favorite. It has a very happy theme and moves me on every listening. One of its themes sounds like the score Chariots Of Fire. Saturn sounds slow, repetitive, and sluggish (no insult). This might make you fall asleep so be forewarned. Uranus sounds like a crazy circus, not like a magician as it is titled. Neptune is definately very mysterious and vague, another personal favorite out of all the other great tracks. The Paganini piece is in this recording for some strange reason but sounds good on its own, a little weird with the double bass, if I might add. The LSO's performance is all I called ask for and definately lives up to its reputation. They play with style that other orchestras can't. I highly recommend it as a classic symphony piece and as the best and cheapest of "The Planets" recordings."
A very nice rendering of Holst's Magnum opus
Patrick W. Crabtree | Lucasville, OH USA | 03/30/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"While this is not my absolute favorite recording of "The Planets," it's still a superb rendition by The London Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Geoffrey Simon. Plus, here, you get a wonderful "bonus" recording of "Introduction and Variations on a Theme by Rossini," (Paganini, 8:52).
My favorite version (of the 5 that I own) is this one:
Holst: The Planets
This was Holst's Magnum opus and what a wonderful slate of music it is! One reason that I like it is because it's easy to compare one orchestra against another with this particular music.
I won't be so foolish as to try to describe, in a blow-by-blow detail, this spectacular, mostly beautiful music via mere words, other than to say that this is "modern" (not "contemporary") classical music. But it may be helpful if you know this: If you like the following pieces/CDs, you'll clearly love "The Planets".
Elgar: Violin Concerto / Lark Ascending
Dvorák: Symphonie No. 9; Smetana: Moldau
Hovhaness: Symphonies Nos. 4, 20 & 53; The Prayer of St. Gregory
Respighi: Pini di Roma; Fontane de Roma; Feste Romane
In any case, For a quick check, (against other renditions of "The Planets"), go directly to Track 4 and listen to that very moving late, middle-portion 2 minutes of "Jupiter" (up until they hit that Major 9th chord). That magnificent segment seals the deal on them all!
To summarize, this is a very SMOOTH conveyance of "The Planets," and the sound quality is first-class. This is a DDD recording."