Author Topic: Holst's The Planets  (Read 132438 times)

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Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Holst's The Planets
« Reply #20 on: April 29, 2012, 06:11:02 PM »
Better than Karajan Decca, Steinberg, Boult, Elder, Lloyd Jones....

That's a matter of opinion isn't it? :)
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Re: Holst's The Planets
« Reply #21 on: April 29, 2012, 07:49:21 PM »
That's a matter of opinion isn't it? :)

This whole thread's a matter of opinion, maaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaan.   :stoner:

Offline Sammy

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Re: Holst's The Planets
« Reply #22 on: April 29, 2012, 08:04:53 PM »



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.

Okay, I'll say what I want to.  Rattle's Planets is not a fine performance - too lacking in vitality and fizz.  In Mars, he sounds like a negotiator, not a war-monger.  Listen to Steinberg's Mars and you'll see how whimpy Rattle is.

Offline Sammy

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Re: Holst's The Planets
« Reply #23 on: April 29, 2012, 08:06:57 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, Steinberg's the man.  His is the best.

Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Holst's The Planets
« Reply #24 on: April 29, 2012, 08:25:27 PM »
Okay, I'll say what I want to.  Rattle's Planets is not a fine performance - too lacking in vitality and fizz.  In Mars, he sounds like a negotiator, not a war-monger.  Listen to Steinberg's Mars and you'll see how whimpy Rattle is.

Nah, I like Rattle's Berliner performance a lot. I don't hear "whimpy" at all. I hear a powerful and convincing performance that's brimming with life and vitality. As I mentioned, Rattle's attention to details really works well in the slower movements and he gets a fine sound from the Berliners. Steinberg may well be fine for you, but Mars isn't enough to convince me that it's a great performance. Heck, if we were to judge Mars alone, Bernstein eats both Steinberg and Rattle for breakfast. :) We hear different things in Rattle's performance and that's certainly fine and how it should be. You hear "whimpy," I hear a glorious performance.
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Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Holst's The Planets
« Reply #25 on: April 29, 2012, 08:42:25 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?
“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 #26 on: April 29, 2012, 10:48:03 PM »
Is this a "whimpy" performance?

Doesn't sound whimpy to me. It sounds full of determination, with a kind of swaggering nobility to it in the militaristic passages, and no shortage of swirling menace in the 'dark' bits. So thanks for persisting with this recommendation, MI. If I can find a cheap copy of this somewhere I'll buy it.

I should maybe add that my purpose in this project (just as in the Scheherazade one) is not to find 'the best' version of The Planets, which would be futile, but to enjoy exploring what's out there, among those recordings that others have regarded highly. Obviously I expect some personal favourites will emerge, but I'm more interested in discovering the difference in flavours than in awarding points. (Besides, in the whole of my Scheherazade exploration, I only encountered one performance that I felt I'd not want to hear again.)

Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Holst's The Planets
« Reply #27 on: April 30, 2012, 05:47:26 AM »
Doesn't sound whimpy to me. It sounds full of determination, with a kind of swaggering nobility to it in the militaristic passages, and no shortage of swirling menace in the 'dark' bits. So thanks for persisting with this recommendation, MI. If I can find a cheap copy of this somewhere I'll buy it.

I should maybe add that my purpose in this project (just as in the Scheherazade one) is not to find 'the best' version of The Planets, which would be futile, but to enjoy exploring what's out there, among those recordings that others have regarded highly. Obviously I expect some personal favourites will emerge, but I'm more interested in discovering the difference in flavours than in awarding points. (Besides, in the whole of my Scheherazade exploration, I only encountered one performance that I felt I'd not want to hear again.)

You're welcome, Elgarian. There is no "best" version as some people here seem to think there is, but there are many performances that all offer unique insights into this kaleidoscopic masterwork.
« Last Edit: April 30, 2012, 05:49:14 AM by Mirror Image »
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Offline Sammy

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Re: Holst's The Planets
« Reply #28 on: April 30, 2012, 09:05:15 AM »
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'm GMG also.  I gave Rattle's Mars another spin; compared to better versions, it's even more tame that I thought.  Sure, it's loud but lacking in needed tension.  Best to put this mild interpretation to bed.  For what it's worth, Rattle does an outstanding job for Jupiter and Saturn.

By the way, what do members think of the other musical pieces on Rattle's set?  At this time, I'll just mention the abomination called Pluto.  I have no idea what would lead someone to want Pluto tied to Holst's Planets and consider it a real hoot that Pluto isn't even a Planet now.
« Last Edit: April 30, 2012, 09:17:26 AM by Sammy »

Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Holst's The Planets
« Reply #29 on: April 30, 2012, 10:43:54 AM »
I'm GMG also.  I gave Rattle's Mars another spin; compared to better versions, it's even more tame that I thought.  Sure, it's loud but lacking in needed tension.  Best to put this mild interpretation to bed.  For what it's worth, Rattle does an outstanding job for Jupiter and Saturn.

We know your thoughts on Rattle's performance, which is why I was prompted to ask other GMG members what they thought of the performance. I see you have no problems beating a dead horse.

Elgarian, liked the performance of Rattle's Mars, so that was enough for me. Glad somebody appreciated the performance.
“Works of art make rules; rules do not make works of art.” - Claude Debussy

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Re: Holst's The Planets
« Reply #30 on: April 30, 2012, 11:25:17 AM »
It's always good to get a second or a third opinion, so I looked up the Gramophone review of Rattle's Planets with the Berliners, and found comments such as 'blazing brilliance, warmth and weight'; this Mars is described as 'more menacing' than Rattle's earlier recording (itself considered to be 'excellent'); the 'incandescent form' of the Berliners is referred to. In short, there's not a negative comment in sight, and the reviewer can't praise it highly enough. I'm not suggesting Gramophone should have the last word, by any means; just that it's another view. Adding to that my own impression, having listened to MI's youtube sample a second time, I find myself puzzled about why this might be described as 'tame' or 'lacking in tension'. The overall outcome is that I'm now very interested to hear the whole of Rattle's Planets.

Of course it may be that I find Steinberg even more exciting, when I hear his interpretation. That would be marvellous. But I'd be very surprised (and disappointed in my own judgement) if that then makes me think that this Rattle 'Mars' is poor. We're looking at different degrees and types of excellence here, not stark differences between good and bad.
« Last Edit: April 30, 2012, 11:34:17 AM by Elgarian »

Offline Sammy

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Re: Holst's The Planets
« Reply #31 on: April 30, 2012, 11:33:16 AM »
We know your thoughts on Rattle's performance, which is why I was prompted to ask other GMG members what they thought of the performance. I see you have no problems beating a dead horse.

You gave the board your opinion; I then offered mine.  You came back with more of the same.  Sorry, but you are the one doing the beating.

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Re: Holst's The Planets
« Reply #32 on: April 30, 2012, 11:36:37 AM »
Please don't mess up my thread (which is of some personal importance to me) by having a slanging match in the middle of it. Just try to be friendly, please.

Offline Sammy

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Re: Holst's The Planets
« Reply #33 on: April 30, 2012, 11:42:39 AM »
It's always good to get a second or a third opinion, so I looked up the Gramophone review of Rattle's Planets with the Berliners, and found comments such as 'blazing brilliance, warmth and weight'; this Mars is described as 'more menacing' than Rattle's earlier recording (itself considered to be 'excellent'); the 'incandescent form' of the Berliners is referred to. In short, there's not a negative comment in sight, and the reviewer can't praise it highly enough.

You might want to read the reviews from Fanfare and ClassicsToday (not Horowitz).  Anyways, if you do acquire the Rattle, I hope you enjoy.

Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Holst's The Planets
« Reply #34 on: April 30, 2012, 11:47:45 AM »
Please don't mess up my thread (which is of some personal importance to me) by having a slanging match in the middle of it. Just try to be friendly, please.

You're right, Elgarian. My apologies to you.
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Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Holst's The Planets
« Reply #35 on: April 30, 2012, 11:54:34 AM »
We're looking at different degrees and types of excellence here, not stark differences between good and bad.

This is exactly my point. I've never really heard a "bad" performance of The Planets, but I've always tried to gravitate towards performances that were on the higher end of the spectrum. This Rattle/Berliner performance was rated highly and so when I first heard it I was struck by the attention Rattle gave each and every musical phrase. There's something different about the interpretation than the other ones I've heard. It may not crash upon the eardrums with an aural assault in the manner of Bernstein, but it's still a convincing performance in a completely different way. I think Rattle succeeded in trying to find a deeper, more meaningful approach to the music. For Rattle, I don't think it's a mere orchestral showpiece, it's a journey from the depths to the heavens and I suppose it does say something that Rattle recorded it twice. It's obvious this work means something to him and you can hear it in the care he puts into the performance.
« Last Edit: April 30, 2012, 11:56:18 AM by Mirror Image »
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Elgarian

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Re: Holst's The Planets
« Reply #36 on: April 30, 2012, 12:23:38 PM »
it's still a convincing performance in a completely different way.

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.

Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Holst's The Planets
« Reply #37 on: April 30, 2012, 12:28:56 PM »
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.

Let the listening begin! :)
“Works of art make rules; rules do not make works of art.” - Claude Debussy

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Re: Holst's The Planets
« Reply #38 on: April 30, 2012, 12:32:03 PM »
Let the listening begin! :)

Exactly! But none of my orders have arrived yet!!!

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Re: Holst's The Planets
« Reply #39 on: April 30, 2012, 01:08:10 PM »
There's something different about the interpretation than the other ones I've heard.

We have finally reached agreement. ;)