Author Topic: Holst's The Planets  (Read 132417 times)

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Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Holst's The Planets
« Reply #40 on: April 30, 2012, 04:45:53 PM »
Speaking of The Planets, I received the Mackerras performance (w/ Royal Liverpool Philharmonic) today and so far I've only listened to Mars which was excellent.
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eyeresist

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Re: Holst's The Planets
« Reply #41 on: April 30, 2012, 05:14:28 PM »

Does anyone here NOT think Pluto was a mistake?

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Re: Holst's The Planets
« Reply #42 on: April 30, 2012, 05:22:01 PM »
Does anyone here NOT think Pluto was a mistake?

I've never even listened to it nor do I want to. I like some of Colin Matthews' music, but I never thought Pluto was a good idea.
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eyeresist

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Re: Holst's The Planets
« Reply #43 on: April 30, 2012, 05:42:53 PM »
I've never even listened to it nor do I want to. I like some of Colin Matthews' music, but I never thought Pluto was a good idea.

There are a number of additions and completions in the repertoire, some more controversial than others, and I have no objection in principle. But Pluto is obviously by a different hand, it doesn't serve as a satisfactory conclusion to the foregoing, and is simply inferior to Holst's work.

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Re: Holst's The Planets
« Reply #44 on: April 30, 2012, 05:51:58 PM »
There are a number of additions and completions in the repertoire, some more controversial than others, and I have no objection in principle. But Pluto is obviously by a different hand, it doesn't serve as a satisfactory conclusion to the foregoing, and is simply inferior to Holst's work.

Anything not written by Holst in regards to The Planets is of a different hand. :)
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eyeresist

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Re: Holst's The Planets
« Reply #45 on: April 30, 2012, 05:55:57 PM »

"Obviously"!

Offline mc ukrneal

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Re: Holst's The Planets
« Reply #46 on: April 30, 2012, 06:11:26 PM »
I'll let GMG decide on Rattle's Mars:
<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/zfhV0qkjUgk&amp;feature=plcp" target="_blank" class="new_win">http://www.youtube.com/v/zfhV0qkjUgk&amp;feature=plcp</a>

Is this a "whimpy" performance?
I've listened to this now, never having heard it before (I think). I don't know if whimpy is really the right word. I feel it lacks edge for me. I feel like it is too legato most of the time, which is what takes the excitement away. I wanted more menace. And when he does finally pick up some steam, he makes (what strike me as) some strange decisions. For exmple, at 5:17 or so, the sound suddenly lacks fullness, the trumpets come in matter of factly, and the impact is reduced. The whole first minute or so sets a rather laid back tone for me (not what I think works for Mars, the Bringer of War). There are some decent moments, but overall, not the one for me. Thanks for posting it.
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Re: Holst's The Planets
« Reply #47 on: April 30, 2012, 06:12:09 PM »
I've listened to this now, never having heard it before (I think). I don't know if whimpy is really the right word. I feel it lacks edge for me. I feel like it is too legato most of the time, which is what takes the excitement away. I wanted more menace. And when he does finally pick up some steam, he makes (what strike me as) some strange decisions. For exmple, at 5:17 or so, the sound suddenly lacks fullness, the trumpets come in matter of factly, and the impact is reduced. The whole first minute or so sets a rather laid back tone for me (not what I think works for Mars, the Bringer of War). There are some decent moments, but overall, not the one for me. Thanks for posting it.

Well it is Rattle.

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Re: Holst's The Planets
« Reply #48 on: April 30, 2012, 06:23:41 PM »
Well it is Rattle.

Rattle is a better conductor than people give him credit for. His recordings with the CBSO is still some of his best work IMHO. I only like a few of his Berlin recordings. I think lately he's gotten too comfortable with the Berliners. He has introduced some Contemporary repertoire to this orchestra that it might otherwise never have performed. In this regard, you could at least give him more credit.
“Works of art make rules; rules do not make works of art.” - Claude Debussy

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Re: Holst's The Planets
« Reply #49 on: April 30, 2012, 06:25:27 PM »
Rattle is a better conductor than people give him credit for. His recordings with the CBSO is still some of his best work IMHO. I only like a few of his Berlin recordings. I think lately he's gotten too comfortable with the Berliners. He has introduced some Contemporary repertoire to this orchestra that it might otherwise never have performed. In this regard, you could at least give him more credit.

I think I do give him the credit he deserves. He's not a bad conductor, but he's also not a good conductor, in this guy's estimation. I do enjoy that he has tried to expand the western classical canon.

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Re: Holst's The Planets
« Reply #50 on: April 30, 2012, 06:27:41 PM »
I've listened to this now, never having heard it before (I think). I don't know if whimpy is really the right word. I feel it lacks edge for me. I feel like it is too legato most of the time, which is what takes the excitement away. I wanted more menace. And when he does finally pick up some steam, he makes (what strike me as) some strange decisions. For exmple, at 5:17 or so, the sound suddenly lacks fullness, the trumpets come in matter of factly, and the impact is reduced. The whole first minute or so sets a rather laid back tone for me (not what I think works for Mars, the Bringer of War). There are some decent moments, but overall, not the one for me. Thanks for posting it.

Interesting take, Neal. I think all performances of The Planets have their strengths/weaknesses. I'm really anxious to listen to this Mackerras now.
“Works of art make rules; rules do not make works of art.” - Claude Debussy

Elgarian

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Re: Holst's The Planets
« Reply #51 on: April 30, 2012, 11:00:11 PM »
I've listened to this now, never having heard it before (I think). I don't know if whimpy is really the right word. I feel it lacks edge for me. I feel like it is too legato most of the time, which is what takes the excitement away. I wanted more menace. And when he does finally pick up some steam, he makes (what strike me as) some strange decisions. For exmple, at 5:17 or so, the sound suddenly lacks fullness, the trumpets come in matter of factly, and the impact is reduced. The whole first minute or so sets a rather laid back tone for me (not what I think works for Mars, the Bringer of War). There are some decent moments, but overall, not the one for me.

Interesting description. I think I agree with the details of your description, but I respond differently to those things. For example, I interpret the slow build-up of the first minute as the only gradual realisation of a threat. The  'too legato-ness' you mention (I see what you mean about that) sounds to me like a kind of implacable, rolling, 'no stopping me' advance. It makes me think not so much of soldiers marching with staccato-like motion, legs jabbing forward, but more of tanks rolling across a desert, or warships ploughing through waves. At 3.20-ish where the swirling begins, it's like the real fog of war - I find lots of menace there. I agree with what you say about the trumpets - they do seem curiously understated.

But heck. The only Planets I have at the moment is the merely adequate Naxos disc, which is just a token presence on my shelves, so I have no recent personal history to make comparisons. I haven't listened to it for years. I suppose all my responses will change when the postman finally decides to deliver my ordered copies!
« Last Edit: April 30, 2012, 11:01:57 PM by Elgarian »

Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

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Re: Holst's The Planets
« Reply #52 on: May 01, 2012, 03:10:11 AM »
Yes, this is the kind of approach I'm hoping to make. What finally emerged from my Scheherazade experiment was nothing like a 'best' performance, but a group of about 4 or 5 separately distinctive and valuable recordings - none of which I'd want to be without. That's what I'm hoping for as the outcome here.

Well, I do call that reasonable.
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Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

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Re: Holst's The Planets
« Reply #53 on: May 01, 2012, 03:13:15 AM »
I think the mistake was to have it composed by Colin Matthews instead of John Williams. I'm sure JW would have made it sound very Holst-like considering how much he is accused of ripping off Holst.

Well, it is one thing to write some Star Wars music which sounds on obvious borrowing from Mars, and an entirely different task (one utterly beyond John Williams, I should think) to write an original piece — never one of Williams's strong talents — which were convincingly similar to Holst.
Karl Henning, Ph.D.
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Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

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Re: Holst's The Planets
« Reply #54 on: May 01, 2012, 03:22:15 AM »
Interesting take, Neal. I think all performances of The Planets have their strengths/weaknesses.

Probably, all have their strengths.  Strength and weakness in this context are not opposite-but-equal. To paraphrase what some brilliant writer (and it is not very brilliant of me that I cannot remember just who, at the moment) once observed about Good and Evil: Weakness here is a failure of Strength, in a way which it would be absurd to express the opposite.

So, no: I do not think it logical to assert that "all recordings" must suffer from "weakness."
Karl Henning, Ph.D.
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[Matisse] was interested neither in fending off opposition,
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Re: Holst's The Planets
« Reply #55 on: May 01, 2012, 03:39:16 AM »
Does anyone here NOT think Pluto was a mistake?

I thought you meant still performing it since it's not a planet anymore! Ha! :D

Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

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Re: Holst's The Planets
« Reply #56 on: May 01, 2012, 03:54:21 AM »
Isn't that "a bit" contradictory? ;D

Not at all contridictory, in context.  "Original" here is (obviously, given the discussion) in the reading of "a piece which John Williams writes," and probably without specific motivic reference to existing works by Holst (a claim which no sober listener would make w/r/t Mars, per my earlier post).  The "convincing similarity" would be a matter of musical style.
 
Thank you for making this so easy, Poju!
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Re: Holst's The Planets
« Reply #57 on: May 01, 2012, 04:20:03 AM »
Dutoit and Bernstein dropped through the letterbox this morning. I put Dutoit into the player and waited for the earth to move ... but it didn't. I mean - it was OK, very polished etc, but there seemed a lack of urgency and my attention kept drifting away. By the time Jupiter ended I thought my mood must be all wrong, so I pulled the plug and decided to try again another day.

But then I took a look at what Gramophone said about it: "Dutoit conducts with infectious bounce and plenty of twinkling affection'. Twinkling affection? I mean, there's room for all sorts, but how do you present 'Mars' or 'Jupiter' or 'Saturn' with twinkling affection (or infectious bounce, for that matter)? If that reviewer is reporting his impressions faithfully, then my vaguely disappointed reaction seems less of a surprise.

All a bit mystifying. This isn't what I expected to happen.

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Re: Holst's The Planets
« Reply #58 on: May 01, 2012, 04:25:44 AM »
Infectious bounce and plenty of twinkling affection.  There were index cards which got transposed; I am sure that was meant to describe this album:

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Offline Sergeant Rock

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Re: Holst's The Planets
« Reply #59 on: May 01, 2012, 04:30:38 AM »
Dutoit and Bernstein dropped through the letterbox this morning. I put Dutoit into the player and waited for the earth to move ... but it didn't. I mean - it was OK, very polished etc, but there seemed a lack of urgency and my attention kept drifting away. By the time Jupiter ended I thought my mood must be all wrong, so I pulled the plug and decided to try again another day.

But then I took a look at what Gramophone said about it: "Dutoit conducts with infectious bounce and plenty of twinkling affection'. Twinkling affection? I mean, there's room for all sorts, but how do you present 'Mars' or 'Jupiter' or 'Saturn' with twinkling affection (or infectious bounce, for that matter)? If that reviewer is reporting his impressions faithfully, then my vaguely disappointed reaction seems less of a surprise.

All a bit mystifying. This isn't what I expected to happen.

Interesting. Despite all the positive reviews, I've never bothered with Dutoit's Planets, thinking that he couldn't possibly get it right. Certainly that's a bigoted view of an often brilliant conductor, but it just didn't seem to be his kind of music. So I'm, well...not exactly glad of, but I do feel vindicated by your reaction.

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