Author Topic: Mystery Comparison - Jupiter (The Planets)  (Read 7770 times)

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Greta

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Mystery Comparison - Jupiter (The Planets)
« on: July 27, 2007, 02:28:33 PM »
Here is a fun one to fill in the gap while others are on vacation. Below are clips of "Jupiter" (~8 min.)  from Gustav Holst's orchestral suite "The Planets".

Luckily this score is available online, and can be found here at IMSLP.

It begins at page 75 of the PDF and goes to page 114.

Some things to look out for are how the separate sections in this piece are treated, the boisterous opening, the middle "hymn" section (Andante maestoso), the transition out of it (Maestoso) and the subsequent return to the merrymaking.

As usual, if you know without a doubt who the performers are, don't spoil it for everyone and PM if you wish. Enjoy!

Clip A

Clip B

Clip C

Clip D

Clip E
« Last Edit: July 28, 2007, 02:21:31 AM by Greta »

PerfectWagnerite

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Re: Mystery Comparison - Jupiter (The Planets)
« Reply #1 on: July 27, 2007, 05:13:39 PM »
This ought to be fun. Not a piece I know well, in fact I only have one recording of The Planets - Dutoit/Montreal/DECCA. Monday I'll get around to the listening.

Sean

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Re: Mystery Comparison - Jupiter (The Planets)
« Reply #2 on: July 29, 2007, 01:07:22 AM »
Hi Greta, brief ideas on these and not expecting to score anything. I got to know the piece from the old Loughran/ Halle O, much of which is rather dull and not particularly well recorded.

Clip A- The ensemble and some of the brass not so good but with individual touches and a suitably jolly percussion contribution. Boston SO/ Steinberg ?

Clip B- Measured, assured, warm, trumpets again not entirely convincing; a newer recording I think. LSO/ Davis ?

Clip C- Faster and without the same focus, a slightly glib and happy affair, a little square. LPO/ Boult ??

Clip D- Perhaps another later recording with some space and light around it; great finish on the woodwinds and a good grip on the piece. VPO/ Karajan?

Clip E- Bounces along in an English Hyde Park brass band kind of way. SNO/ Gibson ?

Greta

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Re: Mystery Comparison - Jupiter (The Planets)
« Reply #3 on: July 29, 2007, 03:37:03 AM »
Hey Sean! Interesting comments. :) Obviously I can't say much at this point, but I think you'll be quite interested to discover who's who!

Would you say you had a favorite or two here?

I was also curious if you had heard any of Sir Boult's Holst, as you mentioned that clip was "a little square". ;) Maybe you could elucidate how you came to the guess?
« Last Edit: July 29, 2007, 04:06:36 AM by Greta »

Sean

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Re: Mystery Comparison - Jupiter (The Planets)
« Reply #4 on: July 29, 2007, 04:17:14 AM »
Boult is in the time-beating, attention-to-the-score school that occasionally finds a kind of stoic magic: his VW's symphonies for instance are really good. Seriously if I had endless time I'd love to go to town on a thread like this and think of everything I could to try and narrow down things, but I'll keep an eye on things here anyway.

Greta

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Re: Mystery Comparison - Jupiter (The Planets)
« Reply #5 on: July 29, 2007, 04:36:43 AM »
Quote
Boult is in the time-beating, attention-to-the-score school that occasionally finds a kind of stoic magic:

You know, I agree with that. Which may not be relevant to our clips, or maybe it is....  >:D

But C, the "glib happy affair"...seemed to be at odds with stoic....   ;)

Greta

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Re: Mystery Comparison - Jupiter (The Planets)
« Reply #6 on: July 30, 2007, 04:00:55 AM »
Maybe everyone is on vacation... ;D

I see a few more downloads so far though, anyone else had a chance to give a listen?

karlhenning

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Re: Mystery Comparison - Jupiter (The Planets)
« Reply #7 on: July 30, 2007, 04:23:58 AM »
Hang on, Greta  8)

Offline rubio

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Re: Mystery Comparison - Jupiter (The Planets)
« Reply #8 on: July 31, 2007, 12:09:57 PM »
I'm not so fond of this work (at least yet), but here are my impressions (since I downloaded them :)):

Clip A: To me this first clip feels a bit heavy-handed and maybe not jolly enough. There are some details I like in the other clips I miss a bit here, e.g. it is hard to hear the woodwind clearly in the interplay with the brass from 6:00-6:20.

Clip B: When you don't know the piece too much it's always interesting to hear a recording where the details are so clear. Here I really hear the tambourine and the woodwind, and the recording is also full and warm sounding. Still I would like to have a bit more excitement. It could be Colin Davis/LSO.

Clip C: This one is a bit swifter, and it even feels a bit hurried compared to the first clips. It seems that I prefer a slower pace but also more thrust/excitement/jolliness nevertheless. I'm not sure which one I prefer of clip B and C; probably it's B due to the extra clarity.

Clip D: I feel this one is a bit square, and maybe lack some flow compared to the other clips. But I think the playing sounds quite nice.

Clip E: I like this Hyde Park brass band the most :). I like the thrusy brass in the opening, and I generally find this clip a bit more exciting. Sometimes it can maybe seem it's not so well-played like some of the other recordings, but as long as it holds my attention... I like the more positive-sounding slow part of this clip (even if it almost makes me think of some English film like Brave Heart or something  ;D).

The Planets are one of the few famous orchestral works I still don't have in my collection, and I don't run to the shop yet. But some recording related to clip E interpretation-wise could maybe be interesting.
« Last Edit: July 31, 2007, 12:13:10 PM by rubio »
“One good thing about music, when it hits- you feel no pain” Bob Marley

Don

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Re: Mystery Comparison - Jupiter (The Planets)
« Reply #9 on: July 31, 2007, 12:37:58 PM »
I favor Clip C - quicker and more exciting than the other clips.  Could be Gardiner.  Yes, I'm going with Gardiner.

Greta

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Re: Mystery Comparison - Jupiter (The Planets)
« Reply #10 on: July 31, 2007, 12:59:51 PM »
Ever perceptive, rubio. ;)

Don - Did you have any opinion on the performances of the other clips, besides C?

Don

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Re: Mystery Comparison - Jupiter (The Planets)
« Reply #11 on: July 31, 2007, 01:36:13 PM »
Don - Did you have any opinion on the performances of the other clips, besides C?

Didn't care much for B - a very light foundation, and I feel that Jupiter works best at a fast clip and with full textures.

Overall, I was focusing on which version gave me the most reward - that's C.  Is it Gardiner or an understudy?

Greta

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Re: Mystery Comparison - Jupiter (The Planets)
« Reply #12 on: July 31, 2007, 11:30:22 PM »
Can't say just yet, until a few more get a chance to d/l and listen... ;D I'll leave this open a while since many people seem to be gone.

Don

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Re: Mystery Comparison - Jupiter (The Planets)
« Reply #13 on: August 02, 2007, 11:36:18 AM »
Can't say just yet, until a few more get a chance to d/l and listen... ;D I'll leave this open a while since many people seem to be gone.

Come on Greta.  This thread is getting very cold by now.

M forever

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Re: Mystery Comparison - Jupiter (The Planets)
« Reply #14 on: August 02, 2007, 04:03:36 PM »
I can't participate at this time since I am traveling and I forgot my good headphones  :'(

But I will be back home tomorrow night and since I am on serious music withdrawal (2 weeks without good music, basically), I will listen to the clips then and post my impressions.

Greta

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Re: Mystery Comparison - Jupiter (The Planets)
« Reply #15 on: August 04, 2007, 01:00:55 AM »
I will wait for the M. ;)

For fun, here are two live bonuses:

Bonus 1

Bonus 2

Last call for downloading and those who did, to post comments! Will reveal on Sunday. :)

« Last Edit: August 04, 2007, 04:22:30 AM by Greta »

Greta

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Re: Mystery Comparison - Jupiter (The Planets)
« Reply #16 on: August 05, 2007, 12:05:59 PM »
Alright...a few hints since we're getting closer.

Two are American orchestras.
A well-known British band is represented twice.
Including the bonuses, an American conductor appears twice.

Thoughts?  ;)

Don

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Re: Mystery Comparison - Jupiter (The Planets)
« Reply #17 on: August 05, 2007, 12:26:32 PM »
Alright...a few hints since we're getting closer.

Two are American orchestras.
A well-known British band is represented twice.
Including the bonuses, an American conductor appears twice.

Thoughts?  ;)


None concerning the above.  I just want the answers that you've been reluctant to divulge.

M forever

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Re: Mystery Comparison - Jupiter (The Planets)
« Reply #18 on: August 05, 2007, 07:10:17 PM »
A: Timing and sound point to an American orchestra for me, nice reading, good playing, not much to criticize here and quite enjoyable. It doesn't bring as much jollity to me as some other readings, but the middle section is rather nice, very noble and with a kind of outlook into wide open spaces which makes it sound a little more like music accompanying a trail west in a Western movie than an English hymn (or whatever that middle section is supposed to be). Pity just that they have to bang out that last chord of the section which leads into the next section (5'13). That spoils it a little for me (and since O Mensch is apparently on vacation, I think I can also say it ounds rather CSOesque to me  ;) ).

B didn't interest me much, really slow and clumsy in places, and neither orchestra nor conductor fill that extra space with much that interested me musically. The middle section isn't particularly. Basically OK playing, though, but nothing "spectacular". It sounds like the orchestra isn't too familiar with the piece which could point to a middle European orchestra (it is very rarely played in Germany), fairly bass heavy, too, which again points in that direction, although the bright brass playing doesn't necessarily. I had pointed out before that that mixture of elements can be found in some German orchestras though, like the SWR, and I know there is a recording with Norrington. The interpretation doesn't sound "interesting" enough for me to be Norrington, whatever he comes up with is usually "interesting" in some way, but this here isn't (or maybe it is in ways which I don't see). But I scored own goals before by speculating about interpretations I hadn't actually heard, based on my ideas what this or that could sound like with this or that interpreter. So I am not going to do this this time and just stick with my guess based on what I hear (which is after all the point of these threads, isn't it?).

C is very nice, I really think that tempo and attitude works just better for the piece. The playing is highly virtuoso, very brilliant and confident, and there is plenty of fine musical detail. I agree this could be the Philharmonia with Gardiner, a recording I like a lot but haven't listened to in many moons. I am not going to pull it out to cheat now, but I wouldn't be surprised at all if that is what it turns out to be. In any case, very enjoyable. I think this really works best with this zippy basic tempo and the orchestra should just have fun plying it, not march through the piece.

D is pretty nice, too, could be the BP or an orchestra on a similar level. Could even be the Philharmonia again. It is really hard to tell them apart in this repertoire. But it certainly has that bright but deep sonority both these and ome other really orchestras have. Actually the horns point more towards the Philharmonia. The interpretation doesn't really get off the ground either, but at least there is plenty of fine detail. Enjoyable but not really that much jollity. Nice middle section and some rather "humorous" (rather then outrightly "jolly") playing but also some decisions which I don't like so much, like
at 6'08 when the new tempo is at first rather slow, then picks up pretty quickly. That doesn't sound very natural.

E is very good, highly culticated orchestral playing of the kind in which the orchestra really plays the music, shapes the music as it goes along, instead of just executing the notes. This reminds me of Steinberg abd the BSO, a recording which I hold in extremely high esteem, like the great Zarathustra it usually comes coupled with. Whatever it is, it is really very nice and great fun to listen to even though it is not "perfect" in all details, but that doesn't matter, what counts is the lively and organic nature of the music making, like chamber music.

Greta

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Re: Mystery Comparison - Jupiter (The Planets)
« Reply #19 on: August 05, 2007, 08:39:06 PM »
Thanks for those interesting comments, M! I wish I had that Norrington recording, I actually bought another this week and was on the fence between a couple, but decided I couldn't pass up Svetlanov this time. :)

I'm pretty tied up tonite so I'll post the details tomorrow when I can write something more about them. Yes, A is American, and B too. And since Don wanted to know, C is of course Gardiner, his Jupiter in particular is closest in tempo to Holst's own, and captures the Philharmonia in some absolutely stunning playing, even just in the opening, with a very focused and lean sound, scintillating in nature. I see not only the planets in his recording but every star. :D He really eschews emotional excess, but is very effective for that, letting the music speak for itself.

D certainly is "humorous", and enjoyable in very good sound, though I'm not fond of the conductor's peculiar portamentos, such as at 1:19. Highly unusual, even more prominent in his bonus clip, Bonus 2, which compared to D is absolute hilarity, a real ride.  ;D