Author Topic: Holst's The Planets  (Read 142160 times)

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Elgarian

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Re: Holst's The Planets
« Reply #80 on: May 01, 2012, 11:11:07 AM »
Footnote: I just listened to Saturn - it is vast, inexorable, dark, cold. The build-up to the loud passage in the middle is terrifying - actually made my eyes water. This guy Bernstein - he understands this music. He really does.

Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Holst's The Planets
« Reply #81 on: May 01, 2012, 11:13:08 AM »
Footnote: I just listened to Saturn - it is vast, inexorable, dark, cold. The build-up to the loud passage in the middle is terrifying - actually made my eyes water. This guy Bernstein - he understands this music. He really does.

Yes, he does. :)
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Offline Sergeant Rock

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Re: Holst's The Planets
« Reply #82 on: May 01, 2012, 11:22:02 AM »
This guy Bernstein - he understands this music. He really does.

I think so too. He had a real affinity for British music. Besides his Planets, I'm thinking his Enigma Variations, his RVW Fourth, his Britten Sea Interludes. What a pity he never recorded the Elgar First. I have a feeling he would have nailed it.

Edit: Oh! and there was rumor that he was interested in The Gothic! Potentially mindblowing, that.

 

Sarge
« Last Edit: May 01, 2012, 11:29:06 AM by Sergeant Rock »
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Elgarian

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Re: Holst's The Planets
« Reply #83 on: May 01, 2012, 11:26:36 AM »
As Neptune comes quietly to an end, I can say that this project has already been worthwhile for me, purely for this first-time exposure to Bernstein's Planets. Fabulous disc, this. Thanks MI - but also thanks to everyone else, because this is just the beginning, and all these tips are providing a context for the exploration.

Elgarian

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Re: Holst's The Planets
« Reply #84 on: May 01, 2012, 11:29:41 AM »
Besides his Planets, I'm thinking his Enigma Variations

That sounds like a must-have, Sarge. It's on my list.

DavidW

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Re: Holst's The Planets
« Reply #85 on: May 01, 2012, 11:32:27 AM »
I'm glad that you really like it Elgarian.  I was hesitant to mention the recording... because I have not listened to it in 15 years.  I had it on tape.

Offline Lisztianwagner

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Re: Holst's The Planets
« Reply #86 on: May 01, 2012, 11:42:52 AM »
I think the recording by Holst himself with the London Symphony Orchestra is worth listening to as well. It's not the finest version I've ever heard (in fact the tempo is very fast, too hasty, and it sometimes sounds being out of tune), but though it is able to show much beauty and power in my opinion; the final part of Venus is highly melodious and poetical and Neptune is very evocative and expressive. Moreover, that's great to hear how the composer himself interprets his piece.
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Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Holst's The Planets
« Reply #87 on: May 01, 2012, 11:52:35 AM »
As Neptune comes quietly to an end, I can say that this project has already been worthwhile for me, purely for this first-time exposure to Bernstein's Planets. Fabulous disc, this. Thanks MI - but also thanks to everyone else, because this is just the beginning, and all these tips are providing a context for the exploration.

You're welcome, Elgarian. I'm here to help. My mind was blown the first time I heard Bernstein's Planets too. Really something not of this planet --- hehehe no pun intended. :)
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Offline Leo K.

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Re: Holst's The Planets
« Reply #88 on: May 01, 2012, 01:07:21 PM »
I've simply never heard this work, but this thread is making me want to hear it. The only Holst I know is the St. Paul Suite, which I used to play in high school orchestra and I loved it, but haven't heard that work for years.

Based on comments here, I'd say the Bernstein is sounding like my cup of tea.

 8)

Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Holst's The Planets
« Reply #89 on: May 01, 2012, 02:01:53 PM »
I've simply never heard this work

??? ??? ??? ??? ??? :-\
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Offline Leo K.

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Re: Holst's The Planets
« Reply #90 on: May 01, 2012, 02:22:25 PM »
??? ??? ??? ??? ??? :-

It's probably the title of the work that kept me away, "The Planets" title, which is a subject that didn't interest me :) sounds silly but there ya go, I've made that mistake before with titles that clearly suggest an extramusical association.
« Last Edit: May 01, 2012, 02:29:47 PM by Leo K »

Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Holst's The Planets
« Reply #91 on: May 01, 2012, 02:30:43 PM »
It's probably the title of the work that kept me away, "The Planets" title, which is a subject that didn't interest me :) sounds silly but there ya go, I've made that mistake before with works with descriptive titles.

I just find a bit odd that a classical listener like yourself hasn't heard this work before, especially considering it's popularity and place in musical history. I mean if you're a fan of 20th Century music, then it's hard for me to fathom why you haven't heard it. I think that's a shame. Hopefully, you'll remedy this ASAP with that Bernstein recording! :D

P.S. There's a lot of subject matter in classical music that doesn't interest me, but let's remember that it is ultimately the music that makes the impression on us. I mean let's take Bartok's The Miraculous Mandarin for example. The whole plotline for this ballet revolves around tramps and a wealthy Chinese man. Oh, and there's a rape scene which doesn't help with the story at all. :) Anyway, my point is if I were to judge this work purely on it's subject matter I would have never listened to it!
« Last Edit: May 01, 2012, 02:38:24 PM by Mirror Image »
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Offline Leo K.

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Re: Holst's The Planets
« Reply #92 on: May 01, 2012, 02:37:52 PM »
I just find a bit odd that a classical listener like yourself hasn't heard this work before, especially considering it's popularity and place in musical history. I mean if you're a fan of 20th Century music, then it's hard for me to fathom why you haven't heard it. I think that's a shame. Hopefully, you'll remedy this ASAP with that Bernstein recording! :D

It's definitely a musical blind spot  :-X :-[ But indeed, I will remedy this right away!


Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Holst's The Planets
« Reply #93 on: May 01, 2012, 02:40:47 PM »
It's definitely a musical blind spot  :-X :-[ But indeed, I will remedy this right away!

No worries, Leo K. Now that I think about it, I envy you because you will hear The Planets with completely fresh ears. Oh, to have that feeling all over again. I remember the first time I heard it, the Mars movement kicked into full blast and I nearly feel out of my chair! Good times, good times...
« Last Edit: May 01, 2012, 02:50:05 PM by Mirror Image »
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Offline Leo K.

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Re: Holst's The Planets
« Reply #94 on: May 01, 2012, 02:52:17 PM »

P.S. There's a lot of subject matter in classical music that doesn't interest me, but let's remember that it is ultimately the music that makes the impression on us. I mean let's take Bartok's The Miraculous Mandarin for example. The whole plotline for this ballet revolves around tramps and a wealthy Chinese man. Oh, and there's a rape scene which doesn't help with the story at all. :) Anyway, my point is if I were to judge this work purely on it's subject matter I would have never listened to it!

Amen to that! This is an interesting conversation, because that's a mistake I've made before and regretted it. I've found that the title or story can also enhance my musical experience if I give it a chance. An example of that is Schumann's Carnaval or Mussourkey's Pictures at an Exhibition.

 8)
 8)


Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Holst's The Planets
« Reply #95 on: May 01, 2012, 03:02:03 PM »
Amen to that! This is an interesting conversation, because that's a mistake I've made before and regretted it. I've found that the title or story can also enhance my musical experience if I give it a chance. An example of that is Schumann's Carnaval or Mussourkey's Pictures at an Exhibition.

 8)
 8)

Have you ever heard the story to Dvorak's symphonic poem The Water Goblin? What a strange story:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Water_Goblin
“When a man is in despair, it means that he still believes in something.” - Dmitri Shostakovich

Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Holst's The Planets
« Reply #96 on: May 01, 2012, 04:58:48 PM »
Elgarian, have you ordered any more recordings of The Planets?
“When a man is in despair, it means that he still believes in something.” - Dmitri Shostakovich

Elgarian

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Re: Holst's The Planets
« Reply #97 on: May 01, 2012, 10:21:05 PM »
Elgarian, have you ordered any more recordings of The Planets?
Not since my report of yesterday, when I ordered Mackerras. So far I have Lloyd-Jones, Bernstein and Dutoit, with Steinberg, Boult, Karajan and Mackerras still on their way to me. I have Andrew Davis currently in my sights, and am intrigued by the report earlier in this thread of the fat brass sound of Mehta. But there's so much choice that I'm deliberately hunting around and waiting for really cheap copies to turn up. (At least, when I have time - I've a lot of other non-musical things on my plate at the moment.)
« Last Edit: May 01, 2012, 10:22:36 PM by Elgarian »

Elgarian

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Re: Holst's The Planets
« Reply #98 on: May 01, 2012, 10:28:31 PM »
I've simply never heard this work, but this thread is making me want to hear it. The only Holst I know is the St. Paul Suite, which I used to play in high school orchestra and I loved it, but haven't heard that work for years.

Based on comments here, I'd say the Bernstein is sounding like my cup of tea.

I have all sorts of similar gaping holes in my musical experience. One follows one's nose, for good or ill!

On the basis of what I've heard, I'd say if you find you don't enjoy Bernstein's recording, you can safely conclude you don't like The Planets, Leo.


Offline Scion7

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Re: Holst's The Planets
« Reply #99 on: May 01, 2012, 11:23:08 PM »
After seeing Sarge's post in another thread about Hermann/LPO doing The Planets I wanted a taste.  A different 1981 cover:



http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5emXbzpKCmc

(used the insert flash button but only got a white box ... ?)^



And yet another 1981 LP issue:

℗ 1970 The Decca Record Co. Ltd

The Herrmann version of The Planets is as I remembered it from my old Decca LP but without the surface noise. You've done wonders with it. The sound itself is typical Phase Four with lots of detail (recorded very close!) but sounding slightly cramped and edgy at climaxes. As far as the performance is concerned this isn't for everyday listening but it doesn't deserve the savage reviews it received. The score is laid out as if it is being dissected under a microscope but as an alternative view it's a good, unusual addition to my library. The actual playing by the LPO is excellent. I recommend it to anybody who thinks that they know the score inside out. They almost certainly don't!  --JW, UK

My least favorite recording is the bizarre and plodding Phase 4 Decca recording made by Bernard Herrmann. ~Richard Adams, musicweb-international

        Gramophone June 1970:

HOLST. The Planets, Op. 32—Suite.
London Philharmonic Chorus and Orchestra conducted by Bernard Herrmann. Decca Phase 4 PFS4184 (39s. 11d.).
The Editor invited me to put some 'selected comparisons' at the head of this notice. I fear there are none, for even Stokowski with his fiddling with Holst's orchestration was at least not dull, which is exactly what Bernard Herrmann is. It is not so much that Mars goes along at a very moderate allegro, it is that Mr Herrmann injects no urgency into the piece at all; this is no tolerable account of the extraordinary vision of war that Hoist conceived in his room at St Paul's School for Girls, where he was in charge of music, even before the 1914 holocaust had started. The allegro is 5-in-the-bar and, frankly, it sounds as if Mr Herrmann was all too cautious about beating it. I may be maligning him but I can only write of what I hear.
Mercury is anything but mercurial (far too slow and no real sudden fortes), while I can find no joy in Jupiter "the Bringer of Jollity". Uranus "the Magician" goes at a stolid tempo, with the ff passages sounding, not rollicking, but laboured and heavy. Slow movements come off rather better (largely because of the LPO's beautiful playing) but while I began by thinking them good, I soon found them getting dull, as slow movements can do with this kind of treatment.
concert hall this is, of course, difficult; on a record it should present no problem at all, for the chorus can sing mf throughout and be discreetly faded, so that we get the idea of voices receding into infinite space. In other recordings it has been extremely well done. Here, not only is the chorus suddenly chopped off but they arc chopped off in the middle of a chord, before they have finished it. I cannot describe how killing this is, for words fail me.
But since writing the above I have made a discovery; that if I play the ending at a very high level, the final chord is not chopped in half. Yet there are still two objections; that the end is supposed to be j)ppp and that I cannot play the rest of the record at such a level. So I mention this merely for the sake of accuracy. On the very rare occasions on which I have made an incursion into a control room while a 'take' is being played back, I have noticed how very loudly it is played. This may be admirable for spotting defects but the eventual engineering of music like the end of The Planets needs far better judgement for home use than is shown here.  ~T.H.


Harsh!
« Last Edit: May 01, 2012, 11:40:30 PM by Scion7 »
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