Author Topic: Holst's The Planets  (Read 86494 times)

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Elgarian

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Holst's The Planets
« on: April 27, 2012, 07:07:26 AM »
I spent a very pleasant time some months ago exploring a work that I'd neglected for decades: Rimsky-Korsakov's Scheherazade. It was one of the earliest pieces of classical music that I encountered as a teenager, and it blew my socks off: so much so that I overplayed it and simply wore it out. Some months ago I suddenly had a yen to hear it again - and to hear it at its best - and ended up buying about 15 different versions - a pilgrimage partly described in the 'Rimsky-Korsakov recommendations' thread.

That's still an ongoing project (though the momentum has reduced), but I'm minded to have the same sort of fun with another piece that I overplayed all those decades ago: The Planets. I've started off by ordering two recordings - Karajan/VPO (Decca), and Dutoit/Montréal (Decca), which, I gather, have acquired near-legendary status:

   

Boult/LPO (EMI) is also in my sights, but if anyone would like to make other recommendations, I'd be very pleased to have them.
« Last Edit: April 27, 2012, 07:10:52 AM by Elgarian »

Offline Polednice

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Re: Holst's The Planets
« Reply #1 on: April 27, 2012, 09:45:22 AM »
I've listened to the Karajan and Dutoit and many more, but my favourite to date by far is Mackerras with the RLPO.


Offline Lisztianwagner

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Re: Holst's The Planets
« Reply #2 on: April 27, 2012, 10:14:04 AM »
About Holst's The Planets, my favourite recordings are absolutely the Karajan, both with the Berliner Philharmoniker and the Wiener Philharmoniker. But Solti's version is incredibly beautiful and thrilling too. :D

 

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Elgarian

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Re: Holst's The Planets
« Reply #3 on: April 27, 2012, 01:17:30 PM »
Thanks for these. Please keep the recommendations coming. When I actually get some recordings arriving, I'll post my thoughts about them.

Strange business. There's something very reassuring about returning to these starting points and reviewing them (for various reasons I'm welcoming things that are reassuring, right now): it feels like I'm renewing acquaintance with very old friends that I thought were lost.

@ Ilaria - about the two Karajan versions - are they significantly different, would you say? Or are they best described as different takes on essentially the same vision?
« Last Edit: April 27, 2012, 01:19:30 PM by Elgarian »

Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Holst's The Planets
« Reply #4 on: April 27, 2012, 03:15:32 PM »
My choices may be unconventional, but my two favorites are the following:



Quite simply an energetic and exciting recording. Bernstein's Mars is still the most intense I've heard. The other movements are handled beautifully as well.



People can say what they want to, this is a fine Planets and one of the best I've heard. Everything is perfectly judged and paced and it's certainly hard to ignore the Berliners. Rattle's attention to detail really pays dividends in the slower, more atmospheric movements like Saturn and Neptune.
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Offline Scion7

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Re: Holst's The Planets
« Reply #5 on: April 27, 2012, 04:31:10 PM »
This one from 1981 is pretty good.



Is Holst basically known from this single composition?   :)
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Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

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Re: Holst's The Planets
« Reply #6 on: April 27, 2012, 04:42:14 PM »
Bandspeople know him, too, for his two lovely Suites for Military Band; and his setting of "In the bleak mid-winter" is a Christmas staple.
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Offline Dungeon Master

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Re: Holst's The Planets
« Reply #7 on: April 27, 2012, 04:57:21 PM »
This one with William Steinberg is my favourite.



The Jupiter is regal, the Venus is beautiful, the Saturn is fun.

But the Mars is so threatening, it still sends shivers up my spine. Really quite scary.
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Offline TheGSMoeller

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Re: Holst's The Planets
« Reply #8 on: April 27, 2012, 07:31:30 PM »
This one with William Steinberg is my favourite.


But the Mars is so threatening, it still sends shivers up my spine. Really quite scary.

I can attest to this statement, just listened to Steinberg's Mars on Spotify, massive energy.

This has always been my choice, mainly for the ultra nasty low brass section, I grew up in NJ and saw many performances of the NYP with Warren Deck (tuba) and Donald Harwood (bass trombone), these two could drown out the orchestra.

« Last Edit: April 27, 2012, 07:45:37 PM by TheGSMoeller »

Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Holst's The Planets
« Reply #9 on: April 27, 2012, 07:35:43 PM »
I can attest to this statement, just listened to Mars on Spotify, massive energy.

Have you heard Bernstein's? It's blow you out of here.
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Offline mc ukrneal

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Re: Holst's The Planets
« Reply #10 on: April 27, 2012, 07:50:26 PM »
This one with William Steinberg is my favourite.



The Jupiter is regal, the Venus is beautiful, the Saturn is fun.

But the Mars is so threatening, it still sends shivers up my spine. Really quite scary.
Yes - a most special version!  Very exciting!
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Offline Scion7

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Re: Holst's The Planets
« Reply #11 on: April 27, 2012, 09:36:01 PM »
I woke up thinking about this thread, something was bugging me - then I remembered I had picked this one up (on CD) back in 2003 after reading about it.  Nicely done with good sound - a 1979 recording:



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Offline Scion7

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Re: Holst's The Planets
« Reply #12 on: April 27, 2012, 09:59:04 PM »


Arranged for two pianos.  Never heard it.
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Offline Scion7

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Re: Holst's The Planets
« Reply #13 on: April 27, 2012, 10:28:40 PM »
Even Manfred Mann got in on the game - this single was based on The Planets - good prog-rock from the Solar Fire album:

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Elgarian

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Re: Holst's The Planets
« Reply #14 on: April 28, 2012, 12:58:46 AM »
Thanks for these. Armed with these tips, I've been pottering about Amazon looking for the least expensive way to proceed, and have found some of these recommendations going at bargain prices. So, to my original orders for Dutoit and Karajan, I've added Steinberg (issued with the Ligeti Lux Aeterna coupling), Bernstein, and Boult, for under Ł10 total.

Those 5 will keep me occupied for a while; and the project is under way!

Offline Sergeant Rock

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Re: Holst's The Planets
« Reply #15 on: April 28, 2012, 03:01:00 AM »
Thanks for these. Armed with these tips, I've been pottering about Amazon looking for the least expensive way to proceed, and have found some of these recommendations going at bargain prices. So, to my original orders for Dutoit and Karajan, I've added Steinberg (issued with the Ligeti Lux Aeterna coupling), Bernstein, and Boult, for under Ł10 total.

Those 5 will keep me occupied for a while; and the project is under way!

For your next round of purchases, you might consider Maazel and/or Gardiner. Unlike the versions you've already ordered, these two conductors ignore Holst's precedent and take Mars extremely slowly (Maazel 7:52, Gardiner 8:03 compared to Holst 6:12, Bernstein 6:32 and Steinberg 6:34).

For an interesting discussion (between Isolde/Greta and M forever) of various versions, this might interest you :

http://www.good-music-guide.com/community/index.php/topic,2387.msg65528.html#msg65528


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« Last Edit: April 28, 2012, 03:02:51 AM by Sergeant Rock »
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Offline Lisztianwagner

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Re: Holst's The Planets
« Reply #16 on: April 28, 2012, 03:03:34 AM »
@ Ilaria - about the two Karajan versions - are they significantly different, would you say? Or are they best described as different takes on essentially the same vision?

The second one. In my opinion, there are not great differences between the two recordings, both are splendid....incredibly passionate, evocative and full of beauty. Maybe I think the VPO version has a better opening of Mars, and Venus is a bit brighter and more harmonic.
About the BPO version I read on Amazon many unfair reviews, which I don't agree with at all; it is absolutely powerful and thrilling, wondefully played by the orchestra.

Anyway, both they are certainly worth buying, you can never be disappointed by Karajan. :)
« Last Edit: April 28, 2012, 03:05:11 AM by Lisztianwagner »
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Offline Lisztianwagner

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Re: Holst's The Planets
« Reply #17 on: April 28, 2012, 03:08:21 AM »
Is Holst basically known from this single composition?   :)

Unfortunately :( That's absolutely not right, Holst composed many other beautiful work apart from The Planets; he himself considered Egdon Heath is masterpiece.....
"Music is the electrical soil in which the spirit lives, thinks and invents." - Ludwig van Beethoven

Offline Scion7

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Re: Holst's The Planets
« Reply #18 on: April 28, 2012, 06:33:08 AM »
and King Crimson and Emerson, Lake & Powell adapted Mars for their own uses in the rock world ....

While it's not fair that Holst should be more or less solely remembered by the general public for The Planets, at the same time, many composers would love to have had such a "hit."
« Last Edit: April 30, 2012, 12:49:25 AM by Scion7 »
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eyeresist

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Re: Holst's The Planets
« Reply #19 on: April 29, 2012, 07:00:43 PM »
.



HANDLEY's recording (available cheaply on various labels).  Better than Karajan Decca, Steinberg, Boult, Elder, Lloyd Jones....

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