J. Buxton | Waltham, MA United States | 04/22/2003
(3 out of 5 stars)
"I have become familiar with several other recordings in the LSO Live series and generally I have been impressed. In this case, however, I am not as enthusiastic. The sound is okay, although I find it a little tinny toward the upper register. It doesn't seem to have been recorded in the same space as other LSO Live discs, although it was in fact recorded at the Barbican Center. I have no complaints about Mars and Mercury. They are played with a great deal of care and more forward momentum than is usually heard, and it sounds very appropriate. I have to admit most of my disappointment lies with Jupiter. It just doesn't have "it". It starts off fine, but the central theme only generates life toward the very end and it is almost as though it is too late by that point. The swagger is missing. I think Davis does this purposely to build some tension, but in my view it doesn't work. At the end he speeds up dramatically, which is exciting but not necessarily the right approach in my opinion. When compared to other excellent versions such as Dutoit/Montreal on Decca or Steinberg/Boston on DG, the shortcomings become clearer. So, an interesting recording, but not a top recommendation."
Very Good LSO, But Decent Holst From Colin Davis
John Kwok | New York, NY USA | 07/26/2003
(3 out of 5 stars)
"I have enjoyed most of Sir Colin Davis's recent recordings with the London Symphony Orchestra in this new CD label, most notably his splendid recordings of Dvorak's 7th, 8th and 9th symphonies. Unfortunately Davis's latest recording of Gustav Holst's "The Planets" lacks the brilliance and excitement heard on his early 1990's recording with the Berlin Philharmonic. Here he seems more interested in adhering to brisk tempi, yielding a very disappointing Jupiter, which lacks the grandeur of other interpretations, including those from Karajan, Boult, and Andrew Davis (both his recordings with the Toronto Symphony and BBC Symphony orchestras). The three best movements are those of Mars, Mercury, and especially, Saturn, which features some of the most spirited, enthusiastic performances on this recording from the London Symphony Orchestra. Although the sound quality is fine, I think it falls short in quality to Sir John Eliot Gardiner's dazzling interpretation with the Philharmonia Orchestra. Those in search of a superb recent interpretation can't miss with Gardiner's, but also highly recommended are those from Andrew Davis, Boult, Karajan and Steinberg."