GMG Classical Music Forum

The Music Room => Great Recordings and Reviews => Topic started by: Elgarian on April 27, 2012, 06:07:26 AM

Title: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Elgarian on April 27, 2012, 06:07:26 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:

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51O7PVSHwLL._SL500_AA300_.jpg)    (http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/419KRE43W4L._SL500_AA300_.jpg)

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.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Polednice on April 27, 2012, 08:45:22 AM
I've listened to the Karajan and Dutoit and many more, but my favourite to date by far is Mackerras with the RLPO.

(http://cdn.tradebit.org/usr/mp3-album/pub/9002/499/499568/49956847.jpg)
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Lisztianwagner on April 27, 2012, 09:14:04 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

(http://soon.cocoplastic.com/image.axd?picture=2010%2F9%2F3139.jpg)  (http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51O7PVSHwLL._SL500_AA300_.jpg)

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41T5VG5F5WL._SL500_AA300_.jpg)
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Elgarian on April 27, 2012, 12:17:30 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?
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Mirror Image on April 27, 2012, 02:15:32 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.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Scion7 on April 27, 2012, 03:31:10 PM
This one from 1981 is pretty good.

(http://s.dsimg.com/image/R-1052399-1248302960.jpeg)

Is Holst basically known from this single composition?   :)
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on April 27, 2012, 03:42:14 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.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Dungeon Master on April 27, 2012, 03:57:21 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.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: TheGSMoeller on April 27, 2012, 06:31:30 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.

(http://g-ecx.images-amazon.com/images/G/01/ciu/51/b4/0dbc225b9da0186ce1910110.L._AA300_.jpg)
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Mirror Image on April 27, 2012, 06:35:43 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.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: mc ukrneal on April 27, 2012, 06:50:26 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!
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Scion7 on April 27, 2012, 08:36:01 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:

(http://s12.postimage.org/b7jhx6pb1/Holst_1979_Boult_LPO.jpg)

Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Scion7 on April 27, 2012, 08:59:04 PM
(http://g-ecx.images-amazon.com/images/G/01/ciu/fd/68/80cf225b9da04f6f00008110.L.jpg)

Arranged for two pianos.  Never heard it.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Scion7 on April 27, 2012, 09:28:40 PM
Even Manfred Mann got in on the game - this single was based on The Planets - good prog-rock from the Solar Fire album:

(http://s.dsimg.com/image/R-1164132-1197395942.jpeg)
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Elgarian on April 27, 2012, 11:58:46 PM
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 £10 total.

Those 5 will keep me occupied for a while; and the project is under way!
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Sergeant Rock on April 28, 2012, 02:01:00 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 £10 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


Sarge
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Lisztianwagner on April 28, 2012, 02:03:34 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. :)
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Lisztianwagner on April 28, 2012, 02:08:21 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.....
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Scion7 on April 28, 2012, 05:33:08 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."
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: eyeresist on April 29, 2012, 06:00:43 PM
.



HANDLEY's recording (available cheaply on various labels).  Better than Karajan Decca, Steinberg, Boult, Elder, Lloyd Jones....
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Mirror Image 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? :)
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: eyeresist 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:
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Sammy 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.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Sammy 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.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Mirror Image 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.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Mirror Image on April 29, 2012, 08:42:25 PM
I'll let GMG decide on Rattle's Mars:

http://www.youtube.com/v/zfhV0qkjUgk&feature=plcp

Is this a "whimpy" performance?
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Elgarian 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.)
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Mirror Image 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.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Sammy on April 30, 2012, 09:05:15 AM
I'll let GMG decide on Rattle's Mars:

http://www.youtube.com/v/zfhV0qkjUgk&feature=plcp

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.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Mirror Image 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.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Elgarian 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.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Sammy 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.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Elgarian 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.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Sammy 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.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Mirror Image 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.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Mirror Image 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.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Elgarian 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.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Mirror Image 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! :)
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Elgarian on April 30, 2012, 12:32:03 PM
Let the listening begin! :)

Exactly! But none of my orders have arrived yet!!!
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Sammy 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. ;)
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Mirror Image 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.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: eyeresist on April 30, 2012, 05:14:28 PM

Does anyone here NOT think Pluto was a mistake?
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Mirror Image 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.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: eyeresist 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.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Mirror Image 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. :)
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: eyeresist on April 30, 2012, 05:55:57 PM

"Obviously"!
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: mc ukrneal on April 30, 2012, 06:11:26 PM
I'll let GMG decide on Rattle's Mars:
http://www.youtube.com/v/zfhV0qkjUgk&feature=plcp

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.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Philoctetes 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.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Mirror Image 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.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Philoctetes 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.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Mirror Image 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.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Elgarian 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!
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng 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.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng 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.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng 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."
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: DavidW 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
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng 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!
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Elgarian 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.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng 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:

Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Sergeant Rock 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.

Sarge
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: mc ukrneal on May 01, 2012, 04:39:20 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.

I just listened to this version (just Mars) on youtube. I would characterize it a a bit more refined and transparent, not exactly what I think makes an ideal Mars. He gets some beautiful sounds, but that is not enough. I think you are quite close to it for me when you say it lacks urgency (but is quite polished). I do like how I can really hear the organ and lots of other details. Now that you know what to expect, it might go better the second time.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Mirror Image on May 01, 2012, 07:08:07 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.

The Dutoit has never been a favorite of mine, like Sarge said, this is the wrong music for him. Give him some Ravel or Debussy and all will be well. I remember having a similar reaction as you did. Mars was completely wrong-headed from the start and then it progressively got worse. I quit listening after Venus. I remember feeling the need to remedy this performance with a better one so I put on Andrew Davis' with the BBC Symphony Orchestra and I felt better again. :)

For the record: Andrew Davis recorded The Planets twice: one with the Toronto Symphony and the other one with the BBC Symphony.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: snyprrr on May 01, 2012, 07:42:11 AM
'No Holst Barred'

 :D :D :D
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Elgarian on May 01, 2012, 07:56:00 AM
Still on the topic of Dutoit's Planets - the Penguin Guide has some interesting things to say (and indeed it's on this that I based my choice of my first two purchases, since I had to start somewhere). They say it's an 'outstandingly successful version', 'rich and brilliant'. 'It is remarkable that, whether in the relentless build-up of Mars, the lyricism of Venus, the rich exuberance of Jupiter or in so much else, Dutoit and his players sound so idiomatic.' They give it four, yes, an exceptional four stars, and regard it as one of their 'key' recordings.

I may well be missing something here that I might pick up on another hearing, as mc ukrneal suggested above. But I have a sneaking feeling that I may end up putting it in the same pigeonhole as Kondrashin's Scheherazade: very worthy and polished, and doubtless the favourite of many, but not quite what I was looking for.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Mirror Image on May 01, 2012, 08:08:00 AM
My goodness I just listened to Mackerras' Planets with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic (on Virgin) and all I have say is WOW!!!! Unbelievably good. This may end up being my favorite Planets. It's just that good, so take note, Elgarian. That's two votes for Mackerras so far. :)

The recording I have is out-of-print I believe but you should be able to track it down for a good price. In the meantime, listen to Mackerras in Mars:

http://www.youtube.com/v/Jmk5frp6-3Q
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Gie663 on May 01, 2012, 08:28:39 AM
(http://2.bp.blogspot.com/--vyWUkYAXro/TjfiwPRm6MI/AAAAAAAAABM/X8Ydtde8KUc/s1600/1-ormandy.jpg)
This is my favourite : not the best as to state of the art recording technology, but a sincere and brooding interpretation. I've put it next to Steinberg and Dutoit, but Ormandy left them both behind. Listen for example to the string section in 'Mercury, the winged messenger' : only Ormandy can lay out all the virtuoso lines in the different sections - Dutoit and Steinberg have the better recording quality and yet their string pyrotechnics sound muffled and somewhat dull.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: mc ukrneal on May 01, 2012, 08:32:24 AM
My goodness I just listened to Mackerras' Planets with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic (on Virgin) and all I have say is WOW!!!! Unbelievably good. This may end up being my favorite Planets. It's just that good, so take note, Elgarian. That's two votes for Mackerras so far. :)

The recording I have is out-of-print I believe but you should be able to track it down for a good price. In the meantime, listen to Mackerras in Mars:

http://www.youtube.com/v/Jmk5frp6-3Q
This is a much better Mars. I find the spirit of it much more in line with Mars, the Bringer of War. I do find the balance to be a bit disappointing. The Bass is overly stressed, and the trumpets don't have quite the impact when they make their entrances. Perhaps this has more to do with being on youtube and lower bit rates? The lower brass have great presence.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Mirror Image on May 01, 2012, 08:36:32 AM
This is a much better Mars. I find the spirit of it much more in line with Mars, the Bringer of War. I do find the balance to be a bit disappointing. The Bass is overly stressed, and the trumpets don't have quite the impact when they make their entrances. Perhaps this has more to do with being on youtube and lower bit rates? The lower brass have great presence.

Yes, YouTube isn't very kind to classical music and this Mackerras performance is no different.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on May 01, 2012, 08:59:03 AM
Still on the topic of Dutoit's Planets - the Penguin Guide has some interesting things to say (and indeed it's on this that I based my choice of my first two purchases, since I had to start somewhere). They say it's an 'outstandingly successful version', 'rich and brilliant'. 'It is remarkable that, whether in the relentless build-up of Mars, the lyricism of Venus, the rich exuberance of Jupiter or in so much else, Dutoit and his players sound so idiomatic.' They give it four, yes, an exceptional four stars, and regard it as one of their 'key' recordings.

I've browsed the Penguin Guide before, and have had frequent occasion for the mental double-take . . . whether excessive praise for a recording I knew, and in which I had heard no such wonders, or dismissal of a recording which I find exceptionally fine.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: TheGSMoeller on May 01, 2012, 09:29:40 AM
This is a much better Mars. I find the spirit of it much more in line with Mars, the Bringer of War. I do find the balance to be a bit disappointing. The Bass is overly stressed, and the trumpets don't have quite the impact when they make their entrances. Perhaps this has more to do with being on youtube and lower bit rates? The lower brass have great presence.

The balance is disappointing.
But I slightly disagree with the lower brass presence, for example at 5:00 is an important trombone lick (three quarter notes, two sets of triplets) that just seems to get lost and muddled. Now I am bit bias because of my brass playing past, but I find lines such as, especially for when the entire trombone section is in unison, should cut through.

But the intensity is there, and it's strong. And I appreciate the tempo, as slower Mars performances tend to lose the Bringer of War aspect.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Mirror Image on May 01, 2012, 09:44:17 AM
The balance is disappointing.
But I slightly disagree with the lower brass presence, for example at 5:00 is an important trombone lick (three quarter notes, two sets of triplets) that just seems to get lost and muddled. Now I am bit bias because of my brass playing past, but I find lines such as, especially for when the entire trombone section is in unison, should cut through.

But the intensity is there, and it's strong. And I appreciate the tempo, as slower Mars performances tend to lose the Bringer of War aspect.

My Dad loved Mackerras' performance. He, too, has a history with brass. He played trumpet from a child up into his early 20s. I don't detect no such balance problems myself, but, then again, I own the recording and blasted it through the ol' stereo. Mighty fine performance.

Speaking of bringing out the war in Mars, this is something I thought Bernstein did well in his recording. Have you heard Bernstein's, Greg?

P.S. Coming from a percussion background (played snare drum, bass drum, and timpani in school) I was really surprised how good the percussion sounded on this Mackerras recording.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: DavidW on May 01, 2012, 10:01:57 AM
I like Bernstein.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Mirror Image on May 01, 2012, 10:13:52 AM
Elgarian, have you heard the Bernstein recording yet?
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Elgarian on May 01, 2012, 10:25:46 AM
The recording [Mackerras]I have is out-of-print I believe but you should be able to track it down for a good price.

Thanks for putting up the youtube. As others have observed, the balance is bass-heavy and the sound overall rather muffled, but I'm willing to bet that the original recording isn't responsible for that.

I'm uneasy about the pacing - its fast tempo teeters on the brink of jollity in places (to my ears), but these are all the kinds of differences I want to investigate. I found some used copies for 40p, so I thought I'd be daft not to try one, and pulled the trigger.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Elgarian on May 01, 2012, 10:28:16 AM
Elgarian, have you heard the Bernstein recording yet?

No, but it's sitting on the shelf muttering 'Play me! Play me!'
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Mirror Image on May 01, 2012, 10:29:41 AM
Thanks for putting up the youtube. As others have observed, the balance is bass-heavy and the sound overall rather muffled, but I'm willing to bet that the original recording isn't responsible for that.

I'm uneasy about the pacing - its fast tempo teeters on the brink of jollity in places (to my ears), but these are all the kinds of differences I want to investigate. I found some used copies for 40p, so I thought I'd be daft not to try one, and pulled the trigger.

Excellent, Elgarian! You'll enjoy it I think. The audio quality is excellent and there aren't, to my ears, any balance problems whatsoever.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Mirror Image on May 01, 2012, 10:30:59 AM
No, but it's sitting on the shelf muttering 'Play me! Play me!'

I've been meaning to give Bernstein's another spin myself. I've heard it several times, but it's been awhile since I've revisited it. Please let me know your thoughts of the recording once you've heard it.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on May 01, 2012, 10:34:38 AM
No, but it's sitting on the shelf muttering 'Play me! Play me!'

Oh, that's Bernstein, all right!
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Elgarian on May 01, 2012, 11:05:09 AM
I've been meaning to give Bernstein's another spin myself. I've heard it several times, but it's been awhile since I've revisited it. Please let me know your thoughts of the recording once you've heard it.

Just listened to his 'Mars'. Without a doubt this is the most exciting, the scariest, and the most remorseless I've heard yet. It's big. I have the impression of something vast and threatening, about to descend and destroy everything in sight. If the rest is as fine as this then wow!

Venus is exquisite - really plaintive, tugging at the heart, lovely violin passages. Well, lovely everything passages actually. I'm typing as I listen, and this is seriously beautiful playing. Achingly vulnerable. I feel as if I mustn't breathe, for fear of breaking something precious.

Mercury ripples along very nicely - could it be that here we have a small helping of 'infectious bounce'? (The section that begins about 1 minute in always reminds me of Scheherazade for some reason). This is delicately articulate, and it's very easy indeed to imagine fluttering wing movements in the air. Lovely.

OK, The Big One. Jupiter. Here we go. Superb introduction, weighty, full of nobility and good feeling. I'm listening on headphones, not my LS3/5As, but this sounds like a very fine recording: the tinkling at the top end and the thromping at the bottom are perfectly defined.  OK the hymn. O bloody hell, this is eye-watering stuff. This great tune is  up there above me, soaring; now restrained - it's alright, puny humans, I can be gentle with you, it says. But now there's no holding it, and here we go with the definitive statement of the big tune. Oh hell this is just superb. Back to the bacchanal, jollity a la nobilmente. Gathering for the finale - tinkling triangles, tambourines, gathering momentum. Big swirling restatement of hymn, like a giant sea creature down in the depths - now up, up, up, and .....free! Wow. That was a great ride.

I have to stop there, but from the sound of the beginning, Saturn's going to be good too. Mr Bernstein, I thank you, Sir. I think this is going to be a benchmark for me.

Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Mirror Image on May 01, 2012, 11:09:09 AM
Just listened to his 'Mars'. Without a doubt this is the most exciting, the scariest, and the most remorseless I've heard yet. It's big. I have the impression of something vast and threatening, about to descend and destroy everything in sight. If the rest is as fine as this then wow!

Venus is exquisite - really plaintive, tugging at the heart, lovely violin passages. Well, lovely everything passages actually. I'm typing as I listen, and this is seriously beautiful playing. Achingly vulnerable. I feel as if I mustn't breathe, for fear of breaking something precious.

Mercury ripples along very nicely - could it be that here we have a small helping of 'infectious bounce'? (The section that begins about 1 minute in always reminds me of Scheherazade for some reason). This is delicately articulate, and it's very easy indeed to imagine fluttering wing movements in the air. Lovely.

OK, The Big One. Jupiter. Here we go. Superb introduction, weighty, full of nobility and good feeling. I'm listening on headphones, not my LS3/5As, but this sounds like a very fine recording: the tinkling at the top end and the thromping at the bottom are perfectly defined.  OK the hymn. O bloody hell, this is eye-watering stuff. This great tune is  up there above me, soaring; now restrained - it's alright, puny humans, I can be gentle with you, it says. But now there's no holding it, and here we go with the definitive statement of the big tune. Oh hell this is just superb. Back to the bacchanal, jollity a la nobilmente. Gathering for the finale - tinkling triangles, tambourines, gathering momentum. Big swirling restatement of hymn, like a giant sea creature down in the depths - now up, up, up, and .....free! Wow. That was a great ride.

I have to stop there, but from the sound of the beginning, Saturn's going to be good too. Mr Bernstein, I thank you, Sir. I think this is going to be a benchmark for me.

Haha! I knew you'd like it! There are many I've spoken with who swear by Bernstein's performance and it's no wonder. It's certainly one of my favorites. The whole performance is some rip-roaring good stuff. If I'm not mistaken, this was Bernstein's last performance as principal conductor of the New York Philharmonic. I could be wrong, but I remember reading this somewhere.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Elgarian 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.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Mirror Image 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. :)
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Sergeant Rock 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
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Elgarian 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.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Elgarian 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.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: DavidW 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.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Lisztianwagner 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.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Mirror Image 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. :)
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Leo K. 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)
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Mirror Image on May 01, 2012, 02:01:53 PM
I've simply never heard this work

??? ??? ??? ??? ??? :-\
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Leo K. 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.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Mirror Image 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!
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Leo K. 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!

Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Mirror Image 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...
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Leo K. 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)

Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Mirror Image 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
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Mirror Image on May 01, 2012, 04:58:48 PM
Elgarian, have you ordered any more recordings of The Planets?
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Elgarian 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.)
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Elgarian 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.

Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Scion7 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://s.dsimg.com/image/R-3295766-1324440491.jpeg)

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

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

(http://s7.postimage.org/cmu13gu0b/recordneedledrop.jpg)

And yet another 1981 LP issue: (http://s.dsimg.com/image/R-2042003-1268299700.jpeg)

℗ 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!
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Sergeant Rock on May 02, 2012, 03:42:25 AM
(used the insert flash button but only got a white box ... ?)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5emXbzpKCmc (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5emXbzpKCmc)

You have to change the url. Take out the watch and ? and change the = to /

It should look like this:

www.youtube.com/v/5emXbzpKCmc

When you highlight the modified url and hit the flash button, you'll get this:

http://www.youtube.com/v/5emXbzpKCmc

You can change the 200,200 default size--you should change it.

This topic explains it:

http://www.good-music-guide.com/community/index.php/topic,2663.msg68249.html#msg68249


Sarge
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Sergeant Rock on May 02, 2012, 03:58:36 AM
After seeing Sarge's post in another thread about Hermann/LPO doing The Planets I wanted a taste.

Herrmann's was my first, and for many years, my only Planets. So I had a very warped idea of how the music should go  ;D  But, you know, I still like it. If Mars isn't exactly chilling, or exciting , it does illustrate one aspect of war. One critic likened it to soldiers slogging sullenly through the mud. And Herrmann's Jupiter, at a majestically slow pace, does produce the requisite tingle. I'm glad I didn't read Trevor Horn's damning criticism back in 1970 when that review came out (I was in a war zone that year actually, far from any newstand that carried Gramophone). He might have put me off and I might never have heard Herrmann's unique take. I don't believe it was ever released on CD.

(http://photos.imageevent.com/sgtrock/apr12/holstplanetsherrmann.jpg)

Sarge
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Mirror Image on May 02, 2012, 06:29:20 AM
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.)

The Lloyd-Jones is one of the more disappointing Planets I've heard. Incredibly underpowered compared to my favorites. The Boult and Karajan are also pretty good but nowhere near my favorites. In fact, I've never liked Karajan's performances much any way. I was wrong when saying that Andrew Davis has recorded Planets twice, he's recorded it three times (EMI, Teldec/Warner, Chandos). His first two recordings were his best. They had more energy. I particularly liked his Teldec recording (which can be bought very cheaply through the Warner/Apex budget reissues) and it also had a fantastic performance of Egdon Heath coupled with it. Another Planets I liked was the one you mentioned Mehta with the LA Philharmonic. What a great performance! Mehta also recorded The Planets with the NY Philharmonic on Teldec, but I haven't heard this performance yet.





Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Scion7 on May 02, 2012, 07:42:42 AM
I don't believe it was ever released on CD.

Yeah, the Bernard Hermann site had a blurb about it being issued on CD.

(http://cover7.cduniverse.com/PhantomArt/Large/02/1797902.jpg)
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Elgarian on May 02, 2012, 07:47:41 AM
The Lloyd-Jones is one of the more disappointing Planets I've heard. Incredibly underpowered compared to my favorites.

Yes. I made the same mistake here as with Scheherazade. When I decided to revisit them some years ago, I bought the (then) current Naxos disc; was underwhelmed; and concluded that I'd overlistened in my mis-spent youth (really, I'd flogged both of them to death) and still hadn't recovered. Subsequent events have proved me wrong on both counts.

The Andrew Davis with Egdon Heath is the one I'm thinking about. I've listened to samples of two Mehta recordings (NY and LA), and both seemed worth a shot, I thought.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Sergeant Rock on May 02, 2012, 07:59:19 AM
Yeah, the Bernard Hermann site had a blurb about it being issued on CD.

Only in Australia, right?  ;D

No, I see it's available at Amazon US and UK. Thanks for pointing this out.

Sarge
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Scion7 on May 02, 2012, 09:41:14 AM
If you are considering a bigger order, try MovieMars via the Amazon marketplace - big huge warehouse store outside of Charlotte NC - I've bought stuff super cheap there NEW.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Mirror Image on May 02, 2012, 09:44:58 AM
If you are considering a bigger order, try MovieMars via the Amazon marketplace - big huge warehouse store outside of Charlotte NC - I've bought stuff super cheap there NEW.

MovieMars is one of the worst Amazon MP sellers I've encountered. Elgarian, avoid them! They've screwed me several times on orders and I've had to get Amazon involved just to get my money back. Horrible seller.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Mirror Image on May 02, 2012, 09:54:27 AM
Yes. I made the same mistake here as with Scheherazade. When I decided to revisit them some years ago, I bought the (then) current Naxos disc; was underwhelmed; and concluded that I'd overlistened in my mis-spent youth (really, I'd flogged both of them to death) and still hadn't recovered. Subsequent events have proved me wrong on both counts.

The Andrew Davis with Egdon Heath is the one I'm thinking about. I've listened to samples of two Mehta recordings (NY and LA), and both seemed worth a shot, I thought.

Yes, well that Andrew Davis Warner/Apex recording is very cheap and well worth it I think. Another Planets to consider is Solti's with the London Philharmonic. This was good reading as well.

Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Elgarian on May 02, 2012, 10:37:14 AM
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51SS0X-oSSL._SL500_AA300_.jpg)

Boult arrived this morning, and I'm listening to 'Mars' right now. Very interesting. My first reaction was 'too slow, too slow'; but as things progressed I realised I was allowing my expectation of a faster pace to obscure the strengths of this performance. By the time I reached the end, I'd adjusted completely and was overwhelmed by the finale. It is devastating - and all the more devastating for being slow. Like being crushed by a giant, deliberately and inexorably. This is an interpretation quite different from Bernstein (say), but just as unanswerable in its way. Excellent.

Venus doesn't have the sparkle of the Bernstein though. It seems a bit sleepy, rather than radiantly beautiful. Boult shows us a passive beauty rather than an active one.

Mercury seems fine and ripples along. I wish I could remember what my original Planets had been all those years ago - I think I recorded it on tape from a BBC concert in the mid-60s and didn't note down the who of it (I was 16 and didn't care). But it could, conceivably, have been Boult, I guess: certainly the character of what I'm hearing now (especially now Jupiter has begun) matches pretty well with how I remember The Planets to be.

Jupiter - oh very grand. This is a fine interpretation, striking that balance between levity and grandeur that's so characteristic of the piece. The hymn reaches a wonderful climax. Seems to me that this performance approaches the polish of Dutoit without losing sight of the feeling of ... greatness. It creates the impression, though, of being more controlled than Bernstein. I don't say that it is - just that I feel it takes fewer risks, probably because by the time this recording was made, Boult had conducted the piece so many times that he knew exactly how to get what he wanted.

I have to stop here, but I can say already that I'm glad to have this.

*Footnote: Saturn and Uranus are superb - both have really scary moments (in their different ways) and Uranus in particular concludes with marvellously terrifying explosions of percussion and brass. Oh this is a fascinating disc, alright.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Mirror Image on May 02, 2012, 11:12:32 AM
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51SS0X-oSSL._SL500_AA300_.jpg)

Boult arrived this morning, and I'm listening to 'Mars' right now. Very interesting. My first reaction was 'too slow, too slow'; but as things progressed I realised I was allowing my expectation of a faster pace to obscure the strengths of this performance. By the time I reached the end, I'd adjusted completely and was overwhelmed by the finale. It is devastating - and all the more devastating for being slow. Like being crushed by a giant, deliberately and inexorably. This is an interpretation quite different from Bernstein (say), but just as unanswerable in its way. Excellent.

Venus doesn't have the sparkle of the Bernstein though. It seems a bit sleepy, rather than radiantly beautiful. Boult shows us a passive beauty rather than an active one.

Mercury seems fine and ripples along. I wish I could remember what my original Planets had been all those years ago - I think I recorded it on tape from a BBC concert in the mid-60s and didn't note down the who of it (I was 16 and didn't care). But it could, conceivably, have been Boult, I guess: certainly the character of what I'm hearing now (especially now Jupiter has begun) matches pretty well with how I remember The Planets to be.

Jupiter - oh very grand. This is a fine interpretation, striking that balance between levity and grandeur that's so characteristic of the piece. The hymn reaches a wonderful climax. Seems to me that this performance approaches the polish of Dutoit without losing sight of the feeling of ... greatness. It creates the impression, though, of being more controlled than Bernstein. I don't say that it is - just that I feel it takes fewer risks, probably because by the time this recording was made, Boult had conducted the piece so many times that he knew exactly how to get what he wanted.

I have to stop here, but I can say already that I'm glad to have this.

*Footnote: Saturn and Uranus are superb - both have really scary moments (in their different ways) and Uranus in particular concludes with marvellously terrifying explosions of percussion and brass. Oh this is a fascinating disc, alright.

Interesting reactions there, Elgarian. I generally like Boult's performance, but I don't think it's one of the best. As you say, he doesn't take many risks which I think in a work as popular and noteworthy as The Planets there must be some risk factor involved or the music can become stagnant. I admire Boult a lot, but even he has had off days and I feel this Planets isn't one of his finer offerings.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Scion7 on May 02, 2012, 11:26:11 AM
MovieMars is one of the worst Amazon MP sellers I've encountered. Elgarian, avoid them! They've screwed me several times on orders and I've had to get Amazon involved just to get my money back. Horrible seller.

Sorry you've had trouble, but I never have, and they have an exceptionally high - like over 97% - approval rating.  ????
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Elgarian on May 02, 2012, 11:28:40 AM
Interesting reactions there, Elgarian. I generally like Boult's performance, but I don't think it's one of the best. As you say, he doesn't take many risks which I think in a work as popular and noteworthy as The Planets there must be some risk factor involved or the music can become stagnant. I admire Boult a lot, but even he has had off days and I feel this Planets isn't one of his finer offerings.

Try listening to Uranus again and see what you think - particularly the last couple of minutes.

I felt the Venus was hovering on the edge of stagnation, but elsewhere ... no, I didn't find that. My comment about the risk-taking was perhaps not well-chosen: I'd intended rather to imply  he seems to have a  thorough command of what's going on, rather than a sense of playing safe. Whereas I think I probably wasted my money on Dutoit, I'm sure I haven't on Boult - even if it doesn't eventually make it into my top favourites.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Elgarian on May 02, 2012, 11:32:13 AM
Just ordered the Andrew Davis/Planets + Egdon Heath disc, by the way.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Mirror Image on May 02, 2012, 11:32:21 AM
Sorry you've had trouble, but I never have, and they have an exceptionally high - like over 97% - approval rating.  ????

Maybe the company revamped themselves? I remember a time when they were on Amazon and then were taken off. I don't know what happened.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on May 02, 2012, 11:36:23 AM
Sorry you've had trouble, but I never have, and they have an exceptionally high - like over 97% - approval rating.  ????

They've always been reliable for me, as well.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Mirror Image on May 02, 2012, 11:37:42 AM
Try listening to Uranus again and see what you think - particularly the last couple of minutes.

I felt the Venus was hovering on the edge of stagnation, but elsewhere ... no, I didn't find that. My comment about the risk-taking was perhaps not well-chosen: I'd intended rather to imply  he seems to have a  thorough command of what's going on, rather than a sense of playing safe. Whereas I think I probably wasted my money on Dutoit, I'm sure I haven't on Boult - even if it doesn't eventually make it into my top favourites.

I understand what you're saying. Yes, Boult does have great command over the orchestra and he did know what he was doing in this performance, but my point was that I thought the performance could have used a touch more excitement from him. He blows the Dutoit out of the water. I think the Dutoit is vastly overrated and I've only listened to it once and that was enough for me. I wouldn't say you wasted your money on the Dutoit, because 1. you can always sell it and 2. it ultimately helped you realize what you're looking for in a performance of this work.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: eyeresist on May 02, 2012, 07:13:41 PM
Herrmann's recording was reissued on CD by Australian Eloquence. It's a great set, except that Fennell's tempos for the military suites are too fast. (And I still prefer Handley for the Planets!)



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 of Holst.

I think you may be right :)


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.

The "rip-off" of Mars is axiomatic but untrue. There is no direct motivic borrowing (and why should there be, when Williams is obviously a talented tunesmith in his own right?). It would be correct to say, however, that the Planets as a whole is a sourcebook for much of Williams's orchestral style, particularly when he is scoring sci-fi or fantasy films.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: mc ukrneal on May 03, 2012, 03:59:07 AM
I suggest we take a John William discussion about the Planets to the John Williams thread, where the debate has been inflamed, passionate, and downright dirty at times and leave this thread in relative bliss. :)
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on May 03, 2012, 04:49:30 AM
Herrmann's recording was reissued on CD by Australian Eloquence. It's a great set, except that Fennell's tempos for the military suites are too fast.

Well, Freddy was apt to want to show off how well they could play.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on May 03, 2012, 04:53:14 AM
The "rip-off" of Mars is axiomatic but untrue. There is no direct motivic borrowing

There needn't be, for the axiom to be perfectly true.

Were I inclined to pursue the matter, I fully expect I could demonstrate to you motivic connections. Whether the severe Williams fans would  own up to the demo, were another matter entirely.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on May 03, 2012, 04:54:16 AM
I suggest we take a John William discussion about the Planets to the John Williams thread, where the debate has been inflamed, passionate, and downright dirty at times and leave this thread in relative bliss. :)

Sorry, missed this.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Leo K. on May 03, 2012, 06:12:49 AM
I now have a few recordings of The Planets :) unfortunately don't have Bernstein's yet, but I decided to start with these:

Boult
Karajan
Steinberg

I shall listen soon, and will post some thoughts as well.

Great discussion here gentlemen!
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on May 03, 2012, 06:24:53 AM
. . . JW delivered a great Oscar-winning soundtrack.

Gosh: if only Holst and Stravinsky knew that the shadow of their music won an Oscar™! ; )
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on May 03, 2012, 08:19:02 AM
I'm sure I am never an idiot, Poju. I leave that to the people who have a genuine talent for it.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Elgarian on May 03, 2012, 11:58:27 AM
I now have a few recordings of The Planets :) unfortunately don't have Bernstein's yet, but I decided to start with these:

Boult
Karajan
Steinberg

I shall listen soon, and will post some thoughts as well.

Great discussion here gentlemen!

Looking forward to your impressions, Leo. My Karajan and Steinberg discs, alas, are still being enjoyed by the postal system - but when they arrive it'll be good to swap notes.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Mirror Image on May 03, 2012, 06:41:28 PM
Good to see this thread still going strong. I listened to Mackerras' Planets again yesterday and I'm still very impressed with it and I didn't experience any balance problems that have been reported. Elgarian, I think you'll appreciate this performance.

I look forward to your comments regarding the Mackerras and A. Davis.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Elgarian on May 04, 2012, 07:42:41 AM
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51x6t5UYCGL._SL500_AA300_.jpg)

Mackerras arrived this morning (still no Karajan or Steinberg). It's a solid performance, but I don't think I'm as fond of it as you are, MI. May I suggest an experiment, which for me epitomises a particular aspect of Boult's performance? Take the last two-and-a-half minutes of Uranus (focusing particularly on the two loud passages), and listen to Boult's version; then to Mackerras. Boult's two loud passages are devastating in their impact, and for three reasons I can identify (there may be more).

First, he never lets the momentum flag. There's a forward drive in the music that's inexorable.
Second, the thing is as tight as a drum - there's a tension that never loosens.
Third, there's a clarity of articulation that somehow makes the impact definitive, like a series of irresistible sword thrusts striking home with fierce but pinpoint precision.

Mackerras doesn't achieve any of these effects - at least to these ears. He makes loud sounds, but they're just a series of loud sounds. The inevitability of Boult's thrusts, one following another implacably, is lacking. Also, the tightness, the tension, isn't there - there's a vaguely loose flabbiness to each statement. And finally, the clarity isn't there. It sounds OK until I hear Boult - then I realise there's a cloudiness or muddiness to the Mackerras sound that diminishes the impact. (MI, if you're reading this - I'd be very interested to know what happens if you try this experiment.)

Now of course, I'm exaggerating the descriptions, inevitably, in order to try to identify the differences more clearly, and my purpose is not to knock Mackerras. Rather, I want to highlight what I think is the decisive and unanswerable mastery, shattering in its impact, that Boult demonstrates in this performance. His Uranus doesn't take any prisoners.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Mirror Image on May 04, 2012, 07:18:11 PM
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51x6t5UYCGL._SL500_AA300_.jpg)

Mackerras arrived this morning (still no Karajan or Steinberg). It's a solid performance, but I don't think I'm as fond of it as you are, MI. May I suggest an experiment, which for me epitomises a particular aspect of Boult's performance? Take the last two-and-a-half minutes of Uranus (focusing particularly on the two loud passages), and listen to Boult's version; then to Mackerras. Boult's two loud passages are devastating in their impact, and for three reasons I can identify (there may be more).

First, he never lets the momentum flag. There's a forward drive in the music that's inexorable.
Second, the thing is as tight as a drum - there's a tension that never loosens.
Third, there's a clarity of articulation that somehow makes the impact definitive, like a series of irresistible sword thrusts striking home with fierce but pinpoint precision.

Mackerras doesn't achieve any of these effects - at least to these ears. He makes loud sounds, but they're just a series of loud sounds. The inevitability of Boult's thrusts, one following another implacably, is lacking. Also, the tightness, the tension, isn't there - there's a vaguely loose flabbiness to each statement. And finally, the clarity isn't there. It sounds OK until I hear Boult - then I realise there's a cloudiness or muddiness to the Mackerras sound that diminishes the impact. (MI, if you're reading this - I'd be very interested to know what happens if you try this experiment.)

Now of course, I'm exaggerating the descriptions, inevitably, in order to try to identify the differences more clearly, and my purpose is not to knock Mackerras. Rather, I want to highlight what I think is the decisive and unanswerable mastery, shattering in its impact, that Boult demonstrates in this performance. His Uranus doesn't take any prisoners.

Interesting comments, Elgarian. By the way, you can call me John. :) I will have to do the Mackerras/Boult side-by-side comparison. I'll play Mars from Boult, then I will play Mackerras, and so on. I don't really judge an entire performance on one movement. Uranus, to be honest, is probaby my least favorite movement of Planets. I don't know why exactly, but I don't really connect to it that much. Mars and Jupiter are my favorites, although I do have a soft spot for Saturn. There have been several performances where I just like one movement but feel the rest of them fall short and not because I particularly like this one movement, but because I feel that the rest of the performance didn't quite reach the energy this one movement did. As I mentioned, I like Boult's but he's nowhere near my favorite. I think his performance is just a bit too comfortable. In my estimate, Mackerras has more drive than Boult, but both Mackerras and Boult don't hold a candle to Bernstein.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Elgarian on May 04, 2012, 10:19:39 PM
I don't really judge an entire performance on one movement. Uranus, to be honest, is probaby my least favorite movement of Planets. I don't know why exactly, but I don't really connect to it that much.

No, no, I'm not suggesting for a moment that one can judge the whole thing on one movement. It's just that the differences are so very striking in that last couple of minutes of Uranus that it makes discussing their character so much easier, and I can be quite precise and specific about it, rather than taking a vague overview (as I normally tend to do in these comparisons!).  Having perceived it, it seems helpfully to crystallise the differences in approach that can be found elsewhere (at least, it does for me).

It's also worth adding that I wouldn't describe Uranus as among my favourite movements either, but (I think) I'm not really talking about favourites, as such. Rather, Boult insists that I sit up and take notice, while Mackerras leaves me (more or less) to my indifference. (Again, I'm emphasising the differences to try to clarify their character, but even then the words don't quite come out right.)
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Mirror Image on May 05, 2012, 05:43:53 AM
No, no, I'm not suggesting for a moment that one can judge the whole thing on one movement. It's just that the differences are so very striking in that last couple of minutes of Uranus that it makes discussing their character so much easier, and I can be quite precise and specific about it, rather than taking a vague overview (as I normally tend to do in these comparisons!).  Having perceived it, it seems helpfully to crystallise the differences in approach that can be found elsewhere (at least, it does for me).

It's also worth adding that I wouldn't describe Uranus as among my favourite movements either, but (I think) I'm not really talking about favourites, as such. Rather, Boult insists that I sit up and take notice, while Mackerras leaves me (more or less) to my indifference. (Again, I'm emphasising the differences to try to clarify their character, but even then the words don't quite come out right.)

I see, well I understand your viewpoint. You know I had a similar obsession myself with Ravel's Daphnis et Chloe, which I now own 26 recordings of the complete ballet. I haven't listened to every recording I own of it but I did a lot of side-by-side comparisons. There were three performances that came out on top: Dutoit, Martinon, and Boulez (DG).

I think you'll be able to figure out which Planets you like. I honestly haven't heard that many performances of Planets, because it's not really a work I listen to very much for the simple reason of overplaying it.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on May 05, 2012, 06:06:50 AM
... Ravel's Daphnis et Chloe, which I now own 26 recordings of the complete ballet. I haven't listened to every recording I own of it ....

Sounds like a prospective Listening Project ....
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Mirror Image on May 05, 2012, 06:40:19 AM
Sounds like a prospective Listening Project ....

It does, but at the same time, I don't want to overplay the work. I've probably listened to 15 or 16 of the recordings I own so far that's nearly half of them. :) I guess my biggest problem that I found early on is I can really wear out a work very quickly because I become obsessed with it. Thankfully, I find another work I like and can spread the obsession out a little more so it's not so singular. :D
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Leo K. on May 05, 2012, 08:43:22 AM
Okay, I'm listening to the Planet's for the first time, decided to listen to Boult first, based on Elgarian's thoughts on that recording, feeling it would suit my sensibility for the first run through of this work.

IN the middle of Saturn right now, and had to get on and say it is a GREAT experience so far, this work and recording, which is a vinyl rip on CD. The sound is excellent and open, no distortions in the loud parts.

I am enchanted by Holst's music, recognizing a few sections of the music, in Mars, Venus and especially Jupiter. I'm having those, "so that's who wrote that!" moments. The work is so embedded in our collected consciousness, I guess I shouldn't be so surprised.

I love the bleakness of Saturn, and now on to Uranus. Back to listening...


(returning) The music as a whole is somewhat nostalgic in tone, the soundscapes full of imagination with an overall mood of an epic journey into a melancholy darkness.

Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Elgarian on May 05, 2012, 09:45:39 AM
Okay, I'm listening to the Planet's for the first time, decided to listen to Boult first, based on Elgarian's thoughts on that recording, feeling it would suit my sensibility for the first run through of this work.

IN the middle of Saturn right now, and had to get on and say it is a GREAT experience so far, this work and recording, which is a vinyl rip on CD. The sound is excellent and open, no distortions in the loud parts.

I am enchanted by Holst's music, recognizing a few sections of the music, in Mars, Venus and especially Jupiter. I'm having those, "so that's who wrote that!" moments. The work is so embedded in our collected consciousness, I guess I shouldn't be so surprised.

I love the bleakness of Saturn, and now on to Uranus. Back to listening...


(returning) The music as a whole is somewhat nostalgic in tone, the soundscapes full of imagination with an overall mood of an epic journey into a melancholy darkness.

Great to hear it's having such a positive impact, Leo. Do please keep posting your thoughts. When my Karajan and Steinberg decide to arrive (it's taking an age!) we should be able to compare some very interesting impressions.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Scion7 on May 06, 2012, 02:36:51 PM
Beethoven and Holst have this in common, that they are both uncompromisingly direct in their utterance. Holst never fumbles; he says what he means without circumlocution; he is not afraid of a downright tune like both the tunes in ‘Jupiter’. On the other hand, where the depth of the thought requires recondite harmony he does not flinch. The strange chords in ‘Neptune’ make our ‘moderns’ sound like milk and water. Yet these chords never seem ‘wrong’, nor are they incongruous ... - Ralph Vaughan Williams
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Leo K. on May 07, 2012, 06:03:37 AM
Great to hear it's having such a positive impact, Leo. Do please keep posting your thoughts. When my Karajan and Steinberg decide to arrive (it's taking an age!) we should be able to compare some very interesting impressions.

Wow, the Karajan completely devastated me in it's rich sound and effortless playing!

I still love Boult, but Karajan's account, not as rushed, has weight and grandeur, and the BPO sound glorious. The surreal, ambient landscapes in Saturn and Neptune are chilling in its wandering loneliness.

I'll have to listen again for more specific thoughts :)

Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Elgarian on May 07, 2012, 07:14:54 AM
I still love Boult, but Karajan's account, not as rushed, has weight and grandeur, and the BPO sound glorious. The surreal, ambient landscapes in Saturn and Neptune are chilling in its wandering loneliness.

The Karajan I have on order is the one with the Vienna PO, so in view of your comments Leo, I'm now wondering if I should try to track down a copy of the one with the BPO as well.

My Andrew Davis recording has arrived; it seems very good, and yet I found myself asking: 'Is this showing me anything about The Planets that I haven't seen already? I'm not sure that it is. And the more I let the business stew, and the more I sample the recordings I have, the more I'm inclined to think that Bernstein is in a class of his own; that Boult shows us the masterful and decisive result of a lifetime's contemplation of the work; and that those two are the distinctive voices that have emerged from my experiment so far. Nothing wrong with the others (apart from Dutoit, who doesn't get close to what I'm looking for) - it's just that I can't quite see why I would listen to them when I can choose either Bernstein or Boult instead.

But nothing is fixed in stone; everything is provisional; and these are not in any sense recommendations for anyone else: merely how things stand, for me, at the moment. Karajan and Steinberg may well stir things up. And I'm thinking also about trying out the distinctiveness of Gardiner, as noted by Sarge.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Mirror Image on May 07, 2012, 07:22:28 AM
The Karajan I have on order is the one with the Vienna PO, so in view of your comments Leo, I'm now wondering if I should try to track down a copy of the one with the BPO as well.

My Andrew Davis recording has arrived; it seems very good, and yet I found myself asking: 'Is this showing me anything about The Planets that I haven't seen already? I'm not sure that it is. And the more I let the business stew, and the more I sample the recordings I have, the more I'm inclined to think that Bernstein is in a class of his own; that Boult shows us the masterful and decisive result of a lifetime's contemplation of the work; and that those two are the distinctive voices that have emerged from my experiment so far. Nothing wrong with the others (apart from Dutoit, who doesn't get close to what I'm looking for) - it's just that I can't quite see why I would listen to them when I can choose either Bernstein or Boult instead.

But nothing is fixed in stone; everything is provisional; and these are not in any sense recommendations for anyone else: merely how things stand, for me, at the moment. Karajan and Steinberg may well stir things up. And I'm thinking also about trying out the distinctiveness of Gardiner, as noted by Sarge.

Yes, the Bernstein is in a class of it's own. It's the first recording of Planets that really hit me. Everything is just right about it. Mars is ferious, Jupiter is majestic, Saturn is brooding, Neptune is dreamy, Mercury is a lightning bolt, etc. The performance has everything.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Scion7 on May 07, 2012, 07:35:37 AM
Really?  I don't think Bernstein's take on it is right at all.   Much prefer the Karajan/BPO.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Elgarian on May 07, 2012, 08:16:11 AM
Really?  I don't think Bernstein's take on it is right at all

I've no idea whether it's 'right' in some absolute sense, or for anyone else. But it seems to me to come close to being the Planets that I always hoped would be out there somewhere. Of course I haven't heard Karajan yet. It's all still in the melting pot.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: eyeresist on May 07, 2012, 04:26:05 PM
the distinctiveness of Gardiner

I have the Gardiner in the Eloquence reissue. It sounds great (it's the Concertgebouw recorded by Decca FFS) and Gardiner is completely in the English idiom. But I'm not sure it's quite special enough. Expert, but without the ultimate commitment necessary. IMHO.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Elgarian on May 07, 2012, 10:19:55 PM
I have the Gardiner in the Eloquence reissue. It sounds great (it's the Concertgebouw recorded by Decca FFS) and Gardiner is completely in the English idiom. But I'm not sure it's quite special enough. Expert, but without the ultimate commitment necessary. IMHO.

That's an interesting comment, and one that I'll take note of. Sarge's comment related to the fact that it took things particularly slowly. Is that something that strikes you about it? (Actual timings are less significant than the perceived tempo, I think.)
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: The new erato on May 07, 2012, 11:03:33 PM
Interestingly enough, last night I saw this:

(http://ia.media-imdb.com/images/M/MV5BMTYxNTA5MDQxMV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwODU5MjE5Mw@@._V1._SY317_CR10,0,214,317_.jpg)

The series -like its predecessor ,Inspector Morse ,has always utilised classical music for gravitas and Holst is deployed frequently in the episode.

Factual errors: During the concert, the orchestra play the movements of Holst's "Planets" in the wrong order. We hear Mars, followed by Jupiter, followed by Venus. The correct order is Mars, Venus, Mercury, Jupiter
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: eyeresist on May 07, 2012, 11:39:32 PM
That's an interesting comment, and one that I'll take note of. Sarge's comment related to the fact that it took things particularly slowly. Is that something that strikes you about it? (Actual timings are less significant than the perceived tempo, I think.)

Dammit, I'm sorry - I was actually thinking of the recording by Marriner!



Marriner's timings are:
 Mars       7.41
 Venus     7.35
 Mercury  3.59
 Jupiter    8.10
 Saturn    7.47
 Uranus   5.25
 Neptune 6.30
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Sergeant Rock on May 08, 2012, 01:07:13 AM
That's an interesting comment, and one that I'll take note of. Sarge's comment related to the fact that it took things particularly slowly.

I want to clarifiy my comment: I only meant Mars is on the slow side. The other movements are actually swift with Jupiter almost as fast as Holst's own recording:

Holst 7:02
Gardiner 7:17

Gardiner's Planets is rather a stiff-upper-lipped affair. The CD has what I think is the most interestig coupling of any Planets: Percy Grainger's The Warriors: Music to an imaginary ballet for orchestra and three pianos.

Sarge
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Elgarian on May 08, 2012, 03:36:10 AM
I want to clarifiy my comment: I only meant Mars is on the slow side. The other movements are actually swift with Jupiter almost as fast as Holst's own recording:

Holst 7:02
Gardiner 7:17

Ah! Thanks Sarge - all is clear!
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Elgarian on May 08, 2012, 03:45:40 AM
Dammit, I'm sorry - I was actually thinking of the recording by Marriner!

No apology needed. Mistake highly understandable, because Gardiner and Marriner are mostly (67.5% in fact) the same - one being changeable to the other, one letter at a time, in only two moves, thus:
Gardiner
Mardiner
Marriner

On a dark night, nobody would be able to tell them apart.

Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: eyeresist on May 09, 2012, 04:50:01 PM
Furthermore it is demonstrable that Robert Schumann and William Schuman were in fact the same person.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on May 09, 2012, 05:24:57 PM
Furthermore it is demonstrable that Robert Schumann and William Schuman were in fact the same person.

Fibber!
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: eyeresist on May 09, 2012, 06:05:30 PM
Fibber!

Did you ever see them together in the same place, huh, huh? Even Lois Lane would've figured it out!


Okay, I'll shut up now.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Elgarian on May 10, 2012, 10:19:13 PM
Steinberg has arrived!

Now I just need some time to listen to it....
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on May 11, 2012, 02:49:43 AM
Now I just need some time to listen to it....

Time, and a planet . . . .
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: DavidRoss on May 12, 2012, 04:12:56 AM
Every so often I'm delightfully surprised by James Levine. His outing with the Chicago is one of my faves, with a wonderfully ominous Mars to kick it off. Surprised to see no mentions of it here.

Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Elgarian on May 12, 2012, 07:50:09 AM
Every so often I'm delightfully surprised by James Levine.

And every so often I'm delightfully surprised by DavidRoss. Good to see you, Dave - been a while.

(I think I'll shortly be making some controversial comments about Steinberg's Planets.)
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on May 12, 2012, 08:16:24 AM
Steinberg and the band that was not banned in Boston.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Montpellier on May 13, 2012, 11:01:01 AM
An interesting thread as I'm pondering an update. I have only the Previn/LSO version. It seemed to be received favourably in England some years ago and went on to become a "supercut" disc, whatever that might be.

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/31064SB37TL._SL500_AA300_.jpg)


I was also thinking about one of the Boult versions. I looked into Gramophone Magazine's archive to discover one by the New Philharmonia conducted by Adrian Bonk. The review also mentions a great English composer, Box, besides implying the Planets was composed by Hoist.

http://www.gramophone.net/Issue/Page/March%201967/47/773927/HOLST.+The+Planets,+Op.+32.+New+Phil+harmonia+Orchestra+conducted+by+Sir+Adrian+Bonk+with+the+Ambrosian+Singers.+HMV+474)+ALP2301+Q+ASD2301+(12+in.,+32s.+3d.+plus+5s.+9d.+PT).

I suppose optical digitising has a little way to go.  :D
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Elgarian on May 13, 2012, 11:42:51 AM
I was also thinking about one of the Boult versions. I looked into Gramophone Magazine's archive to discover one by the New Philharmonia conducted by Adrian Bonk. The review also mentions a great English composer, Box, besides implying the Planets was composed by Hoist.

Bonk, Box, and Hoist. Sounds like a comic strip about three solicitors.


(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51H5P4VY4VL._SL500_AA300_.jpg)

Gardiner/Philharmonia arrived a couple of days ago. I listened to Mars, and was (as Sarge suggested) struck by the slow tempo. Not a bad thing in itself: inexorable and slowly unfolding menace seems like a way to go ... except that in the case of Gardiner I couldn't pick up much in the way of menace. Just slowness, really. That's as far as I got at the time, but I don't have high hopes if this is anything to go by.

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41PBMHJVQZL._SL500_AA300_.jpg)

Steinberg too has arrived at last. This has been so praised here that I'm reluctant to post my impressions without further hearings, but I'll be surprised if they change all that much. The jaunty pace of Mars sounds more like marching toy soldiers than real ones, to me; and the 'hymn' section of Jupiter lacks all sense of gravitas, so essentially required for contrast with the general bacchanalistic joviality. I must clearly be missing something here, so will report back after more listening. But already it's becoming clear to me (unless Karajan stuns me when he arrives) that the likely personal outcome of my experiment  is going to be Bernstein and Boult, each differently outstanding and in a class of their own, with the others consigned to the 'worthy but for occasional listening only' drawer.


But nothing's carved in stone. I'm still listening.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: vandermolen on May 13, 2012, 01:32:55 PM
This fine old recording has just been reissued and I really like the performances of the Bax and accompanying Holst work too.

Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Mirror Image on May 13, 2012, 02:58:27 PM

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41PBMHJVQZL._SL500_AA300_.jpg)

Steinberg too has arrived at last. This has been so praised here that I'm reluctant to post my impressions without further hearings, but I'll be surprised if they change all that much. The jaunty pace of Mars sounds more like marching toy soldiers than real ones, to me; and the 'hymn' section of Jupiter lacks all sense of gravitas, so essentially required for contrast with the general bacchanalistic joviality. I must clearly be missing something here, so will report back after more listening. But already it's becoming clear to me (unless Karajan stuns me when he arrives) that the likely personal outcome of my experiment  is going to be Bernstein and Boult, each differently outstanding and in a class of their own, with the others consigned to the 'worthy but for occasional listening only' drawer.


But nothing's carved in stone. I'm still listening.

I'm not a fan of the Steinberg myself. I'd be happy to never listen to again, especially when there's several other performances more worthy of my time. Glad to see my recommendation of Bernstein is still the one you're preferring after hearing many others. :)
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: eyeresist on May 13, 2012, 06:42:04 PM
I too wasn't impressed by Steinberg. Like Lloyd-Jones, I think he's too fast and doesn't dig in enough. That dry bright recording probably doesn't help.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Elgarian on May 14, 2012, 12:07:40 AM
I too wasn't impressed by Steinberg. Like Lloyd-Jones, I think he's too fast and doesn't dig in enough. That dry bright recording probably doesn't help.

Yes you're right, that's another relevant factor - I forgot to mention the recording quality. It seems to lack weight, and in such a way that the lightweightness and the character of the top end become quite wearing after a while. I can imagine some folk would enjoy the rapid pacing, but I find myself unable to adjust to it and keep wanting to say 'Slow down!'
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Elgarian on May 14, 2012, 12:16:16 AM
Glad to see my recommendation of Bernstein is still the one you're preferring after hearing many others. :)

It is truly outstanding; though I've also come to admire the Boult more and more as time has gone on. Together they make a fascinating pair of brilliant alternate readings.

There's a marked contrast between this Planets experiment and my similar Scheherazade quest. Scheherazade seems to invite a much wider range of different 'takes', and there are a lot of recordings of distinction that I found myself responding to positively, for the sheer quiddity of each. I'm delighted now to have so many different approaches to it. With the Planets though, I've so far gathered together about 8 CDs, only two of which I'll probably listen to in the future when the experiment is done.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: mc ukrneal on May 14, 2012, 02:54:36 AM
Yes you're right, that's another relevant factor - I forgot to mention the recording quality. It seems to lack weight, and in such a way that the lightweightness and the character of the top end become quite wearing after a while. I can imagine some folk would enjoy the rapid pacing, but I find myself unable to adjust to it and keep wanting to say 'Slow down!'
Then Boult is for you based on your description, a version I DETEST because it is so SLOW!!! I'm always thinking - 'stop dragging!' (total opposite of your reaction). It's a version that actually made me angry because I felt it lacked any spirit. Steinberg is violent and relentless (and breathless) in Mars, and I think perfect in nearly every way. I don't understand your Jupiter comment though. Steinberg's Jupiter personifies Bacchanalia in my opinion.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Elgarian on May 14, 2012, 07:55:22 AM
Then Boult is for you based on your description, a version I DETEST because it is so SLOW!!! I'm always thinking - 'stop dragging!' (total opposite of your reaction). It's a version that actually made me angry because I felt it lacked any spirit.

I think we're lucky that there's enough of a range of recordings available to permit all of us to have a version of The Planets we can be inspired by. However (in view of the fact that in writing about differences I (we?) tend to exaggerate them), I'd like to stress that there are NONE of these recordings that I detest. Even dislike would be too strong a word. The worst I could say about most of them is that they are merely 'alright', with the possible exceptions of Dutoit (whose approach I can't engage with sufficiently to say anything sensible about it), and Steinberg (who feels too fast, lightweight, and a bit flimsy). But this, here, is me, and that, over there, is you, and we clearly have very different expectations from this music. I'm not attempting to make recommendations for anyone else based on my listening; I'm merely trying to arrive at the recordings that interest and excite me most, and reporting on my progress.

Quote
I don't understand your Jupiter comment though. Steinberg's Jupiter personifies Bacchanalia in my opinion.

My comment related specifically to the 'hymn' section. For me (I speak for no one else), the contrast between the almost solemn nobility of the hymn section and the joviality of the bacchanal is important. There's no shortage of bacchanalian jollity in Steinberg (I agree with you there); but to me he sounds more or less jolly all the way through; and that makes me feel as if I'm having a weirdly incomplete experience.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Mirror Image on May 14, 2012, 09:25:43 AM
It is truly outstanding; though I've also come to admire the Boult more and more as time has gone on. Together they make a fascinating pair of brilliant alternate readings.

There's a marked contrast between this Planets experiment and my similar Scheherazade quest. Scheherazade seems to invite a much wider range of different 'takes', and there are a lot of recordings of distinction that I found myself responding to positively, for the sheer quiddity of each. I'm delighted now to have so many different approaches to it. With the Planets though, I've so far gathered together about 8 CDs, only two of which I'll probably listen to in the future when the experiment is done.

I need to listen to Boult's again. So did you say you liked the Andrew Davis/BBC Symphony recording (coupled with Egdon Heath)? I couldn't remember your comments regarding this recording. Andrew Davis' first recording (w/ the Toronto Symphony) is also good. You might want to check it out. Davis' third recording, on Chandos with the BBC Philharmonic, I found less satisfying. Another Planets you may want to checkout that I remember enjoying was Yoel Levi and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra on Telarc.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Elgarian on May 14, 2012, 10:50:07 AM
I need to listen to Boult's again. So did you say you liked the Andrew Davis/BBC Symphony recording (coupled with Egdon Heath)?

The Davis was fine, along with the other fine performances; but none of them quite manage to persuade me that I need to own a lot of different recordings. So far, it seems that two may be enough, and the rest merely a luxury.

I think (when and if Karajan arrives - my only currently outstanding order), I'll probably draw a line, and instead of acquiring more, I'll revisit the ones I have. I would, for example, be delighted if I could become more receptive to Steinberg on repeated listening. (Boult, after all, grew in stature the more I listened.) I also want to check out my vague feeling that Bernstein is the only conductor who injects a sparkling vitality into Venus (without losing its dreamy beauty); I want to listen to the other Venuses again to see if I'm missing something in their interpretations. That sort of thing.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: DavidRoss on May 14, 2012, 05:33:26 PM
And every so often I'm delightfully surprised by DavidRoss. Good to see you, Dave - been a while. )
Aw, shucks, Alan.... :-[

I always liked Gardiner's recording--as I recall, Mars is inexorable rather than menacing--a valid take in my book. I must be due for a listen (bet it's been more than a year!), for I remember every movement is quite good.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Mirror Image on May 25, 2012, 06:51:10 AM
I wonder how Elgarian's Holst The Planets exploration is going? Please fill us in! 8)
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Elgarian on May 25, 2012, 11:12:29 AM
I wonder how Elgarian's Holst The Planets exploration is going? Please fill us in! 8)

Well, I've had a lot less time to devote to the project recently. But my order for the Karajan/Vienna never arrived (money refunded) and at the moment I can't find a really cheap alternative copy.

What I did do however, yesterday, was pull a chair into the garden with a cup of tea, and listen to Bernstein again, on phones, after a longish gap. It was stupendous, and I must say, really, I don't expect ever to find a version that thrills me more than this. It has everything I want, really - a devastating Mars, a calm yet exquisite Venus (which completely avoids the 'plodding' tempo that many seem unable to escape), a scintillating Mercury, a Jupiter that straddles magnificently between joviality and nobility (with the hymn section achieving something close to Elgarian nobilmente) ... and so on. Through all this is a most satisfying weight of sound and texture, against which those bits that need to sparkle, sparkle.

So I'm settling down more firmly to what I said earlier: Bernstein and Boult between them cover all my bases when it comes to the Planets, and I'm not really in a hurry to go further right now. (I'm getting close to being a bit Planeted-out for the present.)
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: mc ukrneal on May 25, 2012, 11:54:13 AM
(I'm getting close to being a bit Planeted-out for the present.)
I find I must watch my intake as well. Isn't it strange how you can listen to some pieces and they never seem to tire you (no matter how often you listen) and others can be fatiguing after a listen or two? When I actually performed this (Mars) for performance, I couldn't listen to it for nearly a year afterwards. Yet, something like his Military Suites, well I can listen to that over and over and never be tired of hearing it. Human beings are an odd sort... :)
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Elgarian on May 25, 2012, 12:02:03 PM
I find I must watch my intake as well. Isn't it strange how you can listen to some pieces and they never seem to tire you (no matter how often you listen) and others can be fatiguing after a listen or two? When I actually performed this (Mars) for performance, I couldn't listen to it for nearly a year afterwards. Yet, something like his Military Suites, well I can listen to that over and over and never be tired of hearing it. Human beings are an odd sort... :)

Exactly so. I can't reliably predict, though, how it will go. I was amazed by how many different Scheherazades I could listen to, and it never wore thin, and still hasn't. The Planets definitely needs a rest now, I think, though I've listened to far fewer versions. Like you, I have no notion of what quality it is that gives rise to the listening fatigue syndrome.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: TheGSMoeller on May 25, 2012, 04:53:33 PM
Is Tomita not getting any love? Let's put an end to that.
(doesn't really start until 3:07 on the video)


http://www.youtube.com/v/hsZqXdPZb8s
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Mirror Image on May 25, 2012, 06:32:59 PM
Well, I've had a lot less time to devote to the project recently. But my order for the Karajan/Vienna never arrived (money refunded) and at the moment I can't find a really cheap alternative copy.

What I did do however, yesterday, was pull a chair into the garden with a cup of tea, and listen to Bernstein again, on phones, after a longish gap. It was stupendous, and I must say, really, I don't expect ever to find a version that thrills me more than this. It has everything I want, really - a devastating Mars, a calm yet exquisite Venus (which completely avoids the 'plodding' tempo that many seem unable to escape), a scintillating Mercury, a Jupiter that straddles magnificently between joviality and nobility (with the hymn section achieving something close to Elgarian nobilmente) ... and so on. Through all this is a most satisfying weight of sound and texture, against which those bits that need to sparkle, sparkle.

So I'm settling down more firmly to what I said earlier: Bernstein and Boult between them cover all my bases when it comes to the Planets, and I'm not really in a hurry to go further right now. (I'm getting close to being a bit Planeted-out for the present.)

I'm happy to hear that my Bernstein recommendation took top honors with you. 8) On the other hand, I completely understand what you mean when you said, and this is paraphrasing, that you're burned out on Planets right now. This is the very reason why I don't play The Planets that much and I really save for special occasions. It's not one of my favorite works of all-time and it's not even in my top 20 favorites, but it is a piece that I imagine myself wearing out pretty easily, which is, again, why I seldom play it. I do hope you continue to enjoy the work because I've certainly enjoyed keeping up with your discoveries.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Elgarian on May 25, 2012, 11:02:46 PM
It's not one of my favorite works of all-time and it's not even in my top 20 favorites, but it is a piece that I imagine myself wearing out pretty easily, which is, again, why I seldom play it.

If I were to compile a list of lifetime favourites, Planets would be high up the list. It was one of those works that shouted, to this (then) sixteen-year-old: 'And you think the Beatles are exciting? Well, listen to this!' And listen I did, again and again and again. Enough listenings to push it permanently into my all-time chart. It's been great revisiting it now, and discovering that there's plenty of life in it yet.

Incidentally, do you know what I mean about the tendency of many performances of Venus to become a kind of solid monotonous plod? There's something about the prolonged rhythm in places that can so easily make it snoozeworthy instead of enchanting. (Boult's Venus is a snoozefest, for instance, in striking contrast to Bernstein's.)
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on May 26, 2012, 03:35:46 AM
All my lovin' . . . .
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Mirror Image on May 26, 2012, 06:02:47 AM
If I were to compile a list of lifetime favourites, Planets would be high up the list. It was one of those works that shouted, to this (then) sixteen-year-old: 'And you think the Beatles are exciting? Well, listen to this!' And listen I did, again and again and again. Enough listenings to push it permanently into my all-time chart. It's been great revisiting it now, and discovering that there's plenty of life in it yet.

Incidentally, do you know what I mean about the tendency of many performances of Venus to become a kind of solid monotonous plod? There's something about the prolonged rhythm in places that can so easily make it snoozeworthy instead of enchanting. (Boult's Venus is a snoozefest, for instance, in striking contrast to Bernstein's.)

I guess I should have reemphasized my point from above. I think The Planets is one of the great orchestral scores of the 20th Century, but there's a danger, for me, in playing it too much. I want to come to this work fresh each time I hear it which is why I don't listen to it much. That said, it's not in my top 20 for the simple reason that it doesn't touch me like so many other works do. I vastly prefer Holst's Egdon Heath to The Planets not because I think one is better than the other, but because I'm more touched by the emotional content in Egdon Heath. Does this make any sense?
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Elgarian on May 26, 2012, 11:53:02 AM
I guess I should have reemphasized my point from above. I think The Planets is one of the great orchestral scores of the 20th Century, but there's a danger, for me, in playing it too much. I want to come to this work fresh each time I heard it which is why I don't listen to it much. That said, it's not in my top 20 for the simple reason that it doesn't touch me like so many other works do. I vastly prefer Holst's Egdon Heath to The Planets not because I think one is better than the other, but because I'm more touched by the emotional content in Egdon Heath. Does this make any sense?

Yes of course. As ever, there's the recognition of great art on the one hand, and the personal emotive response on the other. Sometimes they converge; sometimes they don't.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: brunumb on June 10, 2012, 07:31:36 PM
Based on the comments in this thread I bought a copy of the NYPO/Bernstein recording.  What a surprise.  Mars was the bringer of drums, Venus the bringer of slumber and Jupiter the bringer of porridge.  I found it all rather boring.  I still prefer the Steinberg by a mile, or even kilometre.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Mirror Image on June 10, 2012, 07:42:07 PM
Based on the comments in this thread I bought a copy of the NYPO/Bernstein recording.  What a surprise.  Mars was the bringer of drums, Venus the bringer of slumber and Jupiter the bringer of porridge.  I found it all rather boring.  I still prefer the Steinberg by a mile, or even kilometre.

::) I find this post rather boring. Bernstein's is a classic. Steinberg can't touch Bernstein.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: brunumb on June 10, 2012, 08:19:31 PM
::) I find this post rather boring. Bernstein's is a classic. Steinberg can't touch Bernstein.

I'm sorry I couldn't write a more exciting review.  Bernstein's was only the second recording of this work that disappointed me on first and second listening.  The first was Dutoit, and although I rarely get rid of CDs once I have bought them, that one I did.

Other CD versions in my collection that I like better than Bernstein are:
Saint Louis SO/Susskind
Vienna PO/Karajan
Atlanta SO/Levi
BBC SO/ Davis
Philharmonia/Gardiner
(LPO/Herrmann is too eccentric to really compare)

On LP I have:
LPO/Solti
Bournemouth SO/Hurst

The Hurst has had some pretty good reviews but hadn't made it onto CD until very recently.  It is now available as a CD-R from Amazon.

I haven't listened to most of them in quite a while and would love to get them out see how my opinions may have changed over time.  Unfortunately most of my music is inaccessible at the moment.  Who knows, Bernstein may yet make it onto the list.



Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Mirror Image on June 10, 2012, 08:32:38 PM
I'm sorry I couldn't write a more exciting review.  Bernstein's was only the second recording of this work that disappointed me on first and second listening.  The first was Dutoit, and although I rarely get rid of CDs once I have bought them, that one I did.

Other CD versions in my collection that I like better than Bernstein are:
Saint Louis SO/Susskind
Vienna PO/Karajan
Atlanta SO/Levi
BBC SO/ Davis
Philharmonia/Gardiner
(LPO/Herrmann is too eccentric to really compare)

On LP I have:
LPO/Solti
Bournemouth SO/Hurst

The Hurst has had some pretty good reviews but hadn't made it onto CD until very recently.  It is now available as a CD-R from Amazon.

I haven't listened to most of them in quite a while and would love to get them out see how my opinions may have changed over time.  Unfortunately most of my music is inaccessible at the moment.  Who knows, Bernstein may yet make it onto the list.

It's surprising to hear someone who doesn't like Bernstein's Planets, but stranger things have happened. I never have liked many of Karel Ancerl recordings and he's praised to the hills on this forum. To each their own. Yes, the Levi/ASO recording is another one that doesn't get mentioned enough. My Dad, who collects Holst, really likes this performance as well.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Elgarian on June 11, 2012, 12:14:54 AM
Based on the comments in this thread I bought a copy of the NYPO/Bernstein recording.  What a surprise.  Mars was the bringer of drums, Venus the bringer of slumber and Jupiter the bringer of porridge.  I found it all rather boring.  I still prefer the Steinberg by a mile, or even kilometre.

It always feels extraordinary when a performance that bedazzles us turns out to bore someone else to tears, but really it isn't surprising. We all approach these things with different expectations, different hopes, and different backgrounds of listening experience. I, for example, was shocked by my lack of response to what have long been acclaimed as great recordings of the Planets, Dutoit and Steinberg being particularly notable examples of what turns me off. Similarly, it's particularly weird to read that you found Bernstein's Venus so snoozeworthy, because out of all the Venuses I've listened to, Bernstein's was the only one that didn't seem like a steady plodding journey into the Land of Nod.

And herein lie the dangers of making recommendations for someone else. All one can do is try to describe what one hears, and hope for the best. And to reiterate what I said earlier: thank goodness there are so many different takes available that everyone is sure to be able to find a version that suits.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: DavidRoss on June 11, 2012, 05:50:38 AM
Please note, Alan, that several Amazon UK Marketplace sellers have this at nice prices:

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51RN4WS0MGL._SL500_AA300_.jpg)



Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on June 11, 2012, 05:55:06 AM
Mmm, Jimmy and the Chicago band . . . .
 
And one of these days, I'll listen to that Steinberg/BSO account, and hear for my own self . . . .
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on June 11, 2012, 06:01:41 AM
Mmm, Jimmy and the Chicago band . . . .
 
And one of these days, I'll listen to that Steinberg/BSO account, and hear for my own self . . . .

Well, there I've done it: one copy of each of these to arrive by transatlantic dinghy.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Elgarian on June 11, 2012, 07:40:44 AM
Please note, Alan, that several Amazon UK Marketplace sellers have this at nice prices:

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51RN4WS0MGL._SL500_AA300_.jpg)

Thanks Dave. I've over-listened to the Planets in recent weeks and am giving it a break, but yes, thanks. Noted for the future.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on June 11, 2012, 07:41:58 AM
Knowing when you need a break = wisdom
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Elgarian on June 11, 2012, 07:52:14 AM
Knowing when you need a break = wisdom

OK, I think five minutes is long enough. Now, which is the quickest way to Amazon Marketplace?



[Just kidding.]
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on June 11, 2012, 07:59:51 AM
. . . Now, which is the quickest way to Amazon Marketplace?

You found your answer . . . in The Shed.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: brunumb on June 11, 2012, 06:55:50 PM
It always feels extraordinary when a performance that bedazzles us turns out to bore someone else to tears, but really it isn't surprising. We all approach these things with different expectations, different hopes, and different backgrounds of listening experience.

So true.  I think that perhaps imprinting may have a lot to do with it.  In the days when I only had a single recording of a work to listen to frequently, if it left a favourable impression then it became the yardstick for how the work 'should' sound.  My first disc of The Planets was the Steinberg.  Similarly, the rapid descent at the very end of the first movement of the Mahler 2nd in my LSO/Solti recording became the norm.  When I heard other conductors take it much more slowly it sounded perverse.  It took a lot of listening to many recordings for many years to overcome.

Last night I tried listening to the Bernstein again.  Admittedly it was late, and I was tired, but I did doze off during Venus  :D  Today I will have another listen to Jupiter which particularly disappointed me the first time around.  It's hard for me to describe what I don't like, but Bernstein makes it all sound a bit 'mannered'.

I must add that I listened to the Mackerras 'Mars' via the link in one of the posts here and liked it very much.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on June 12, 2012, 02:03:34 AM
You meant "doze off," but I admit: I really like the image of "dose off"!
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: brunumb on June 12, 2012, 02:25:28 AM
You meant "doze off," but I admit: I really like the image of "dose off"!

Oops!  And me a stickler for correct spelling no less.  Thanks.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on June 12, 2012, 03:03:43 AM
No worries, mate! We all make slips, and it's just that my eye has a habit of picking things out (not that this absolutely prevents any of my own slips, mind) . . . and I've learnt to appreciate the more amusing of the typos! : )
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: eyeresist on June 14, 2012, 05:47:20 PM
Last night I listened to the Svetlanov/Philharmonia recording of the Planets, rereleased on Brilliant. It's not a first choice, but it's interesting.

The least impressive movement is Mars. It's not awful, but doesn't grab you in the way the best performances do.

After this things pick up. Svetlanov is known for his flowingly romantic style, and with this approach the music seemed different to how I usually hear it. For perhaps the first time I was very conscious of the depth to which Holst drew on his late Romatic predecessors, including (which surprised me) Tchaikovsky. In Mercury I noted the influence of Tchaik's Nutcracker and 4th symphony scherzo. (Nutcracker should not really be such a surprise - I consider it an underrated masterclass in orchestration, just as the Planets later proved to be.)
The ending of Saturn was notable moving here.

Sadly, the very ending was spoiled by the singing; during the movement the choir are alright, but in the last repeated phrase there is one soprano with a keening sound that grates - no etheriality here, I'm afraid.

The timings on the case are amusingly inaccurate - Jupiter is given as 5:46, which would make it the fastest in history! According to Media Player, Svet's times are:

Mars    8.51
Venus   8.29
Mercury 4.16
Jupiter 8.48
Saturn  9.53
Uranus  5.45
Neptune 9.34
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Elgarian on June 14, 2012, 11:41:45 PM
Thanks for your thoughts, and the detailed description.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: brunumb on June 19, 2012, 04:24:48 PM
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51O7PVSHwLL._SL500_AA300_.jpg)

I have just listened to this recording a couple of times and enjoyed it immensely.  Mars opens a little tentatively, but Karajan racks up the tension pretty quickly and it just gets better and better.  Everything sounds right, the VPO is great, and this now goes to near the top of the list.

Another disc I was able to access was the BBC SO/Andrew Davis one.  Listening to the 'deal breakers', Mars and Jupiter, left me with the impression that it was just a bit too lightweight.

After listening to the Bernstein again, I'm still left cold.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Mirror Image on June 19, 2012, 06:05:21 PM
After listening to the Bernstein again, I'm still left cold.

Then go warm up next to a heater...

 :P
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Elgarian on June 19, 2012, 11:40:26 PM
After listening to the Bernstein again, I'm still left cold.

Perhaps because Bernstein has perfectly expressed the idea that Neptune is a very long way from the Sun ...?
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on June 20, 2012, 01:09:25 AM
Brrr
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: brunumb on June 20, 2012, 02:44:09 AM
Perhaps because Bernstein has perfectly expressed the idea that Neptune is a very long way from the Sun ...?

Or perhaps he just made a very ordinary recording of The Planets.

Grrrr.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Elgarian on June 20, 2012, 06:18:23 AM
Beating my little joke to death: I would expect the 'updated' versions of The Planets - those which add Pluto at the end - to leave you even colder. (Pluto being even further from the Sun....)

Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on June 20, 2012, 06:21:38 AM
Pluto, the Knitter of Mittens
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Elgarian on June 20, 2012, 06:35:08 AM
Pluto, the Knitter of Mittens

Which just goes to show that Colin Matthews was guilty of woolly thinking.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Lisztianwagner on June 20, 2012, 11:26:50 AM
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51O7PVSHwLL._SL500_AA300_.jpg)

I have just listened to this recording a couple of times and enjoyed it immensely.  Mars opens a little tentatively, but Karajan racks up the tension pretty quickly and it just gets better and better.  Everything sounds right, the VPO is great, and this now goes to near the top of the list.

I've got the same version, but in the disc with Strauss' Don Juan. :) I agree anyway, Karajan's performance is gorgeous, absolutely expressive and powerful; excellent orchestral playing by the WP, with a marvelous, crystalline sound. Maybe just in some sections of Jupiter, Karajan took better, more involving tempi in the BP recording.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: brunumb on June 20, 2012, 03:40:33 PM
Beating my little joke to death: I would expect the 'updated' versions of The Planets - those which add Pluto at the end - to leave you even colder. (Pluto being even further from the Sun....)

It's funny that Pluto only gained astrological significance after it was discovered (1930).

I have only heard Colin Matthews'  'Pluto' once, and hope never to hear it again.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on June 20, 2012, 05:39:57 PM
How long is a Pluto year?...
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: TheGSMoeller on June 20, 2012, 07:31:23 PM
I composed a fifth movement to Respighi's Fountains of Rome, only to find out my inspiration was actually just a water fountain at my local swimming pool, not even in the same country as Rome...bummer.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Mirror Image on June 20, 2012, 07:52:59 PM
I composed a fifth movement to Respighi's Fountains of Rome, only to find out my inspiration was actually just a water fountain at my local swimming pool, not even in the same country as Rome...bummer.

I composed a fifth movement to Rimsky-Korsakov's Scheherazade called Sailor Ends Up In Giant Orgy or by it's better known Russian title Моряк заканчивается в гигантские оргия.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Elgarian on June 20, 2012, 09:29:55 PM
How long is a Pluto year?...

About the same length as a piece of string, but in years instead of miles, and a lot colder.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on June 21, 2012, 03:06:16 AM
String cheese, perhaps, which needs to be kept refrigerated.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on June 21, 2012, 03:08:33 AM
I've often felt that the book Madeleine L'Engle meant to write was A Wrinkle in Cheese.
 
The variety of responses to recordings is most interesting, nor does it greatly surprise me.  Here, I still await the arrival of some Planets new to me . . . .
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Elgarian on June 21, 2012, 05:30:00 AM
The variety of responses to recordings is most interesting, nor does it greatly surprise me.

Nor should it surprise any of us, I guess. It's that old thing (or the musical equivalent of it) that Gombrich called 'the beholder's share', with regard to the visual arts. The artist creates his art, and we each bring our individually different motivations, temperaments, backgrounds, and perceptions into play when we complete our part of the contract. There are as many outcomes as there are beholders (or listeners). The amazing thing is that we manage to get any agreement at all!

Meanwhile, on Pluto, ice cream sales are in decline.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: bwv 1080 on June 21, 2012, 05:33:46 AM
FWIW the riff to Black Sabbath's title song was lifted from Mars
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: DavidRoss on June 21, 2012, 07:05:08 AM
Meanwhile, on Pluto, ice cream sales are in decline.
Tourism is down following demotion from planethood.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on June 26, 2012, 05:15:57 AM
My back-of-the-envelope notes on a survey of Mercury, the Wingèd Messenger:

Boult/New Philharmonia: Beautifully done, all the grace and unforced energy one expects for the movement.  Something one wouldn’t know from simply listening to this recording, though, is that (recording limitations of the time? 1966 isn’t that long ago) I don’t hear all the voices of the various textures with the clarity which (a) I prefer and (b) Holst’s exquisite scoring deserves, I think.

Steinberg/Boston: No less beautiful than the Boult, and with the benefit of a much clearer profile.  The violin solo is especially sweet in this one, setting it apart from this ‘pack’ of four.  At the climax, the brass are notably rougher and more forward than the others, as well; I don’t think that either a plus or minus, just an interesting characteristic of this recording.  I am especially grateful to hear the harps so well here.

Levine/Chicago: My observation on the Boston brass surprised me (a little), especially since Chicago was in this sampling.  Here, Levine has the brass mellower as a choir (Bayreuthified?)  Again, neither praise nor censure, just an interesting aspect.  Jimmy does take the wings seriously:  this is easily (both by the clock and to the ear) the most rapid among the four Messengers here.  At times, I wonder if it be not troppo rapido, but it basically works, and as Jimmy once remarked here in Boston, you necessarily get the odd wrinkle “if you ‘go for it’.”  As with the Boston account, nice to hear the harps so clearly, particularly in the last system.

Rattle/Philharmonia: The quietest and subtlest of the lot . . . I probably ought not to have left it until last, then!  Still, I shouldn’t call this at all a bad account (the orchestra sounds lovely).  It may well be only in the afore-listened-to company that it appears a bit less characterful.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Sergeant Rock on June 26, 2012, 05:27:39 AM
Steinberg/BostonAt the climax, the brass are notably rougher and more forward than the others, as well;

Off-topic comment: I would say that about some of the brass entries in Davis' Boston Sibelius cycle. I wonder if that was a characteristic of the orchestra in those days...or merely a coincidence?

Sarge
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on June 26, 2012, 05:34:43 AM
You're certainly right, Sarge; I do remember that from a few symphonies I listened to from that set.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Elgarian on June 26, 2012, 07:02:59 AM
My back-of-the-envelope notes on a survey of Mercury, the Wingèd Messenger:

I wish, with hindsight, that I'd adopted a similar approach to yours - that is, discussing single movements across a series of interpretations. Admittedly one then loses all sense of the piece as a coherent whole, but I think when I tried to convey my responses to those different wholes, I ended up with some weird kind of average impression of each - that is, something that doesn't really exist.

I wish you'd listen to Boult's 'Uranus', Karl and say what you think. I found that particularly memorable.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on June 26, 2012, 08:04:53 AM
In fairness, that approach would be something of a chore with CDs (let alone LPs), where with Media Player, it's an easy drag-&-drop operation.  Which I shall happily perform with The Magician, as well.

Given time, I shall emulate your approach, for there is certainly the matter of Grand Architecture which, too, is an interesting comparison.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: DavidA on October 19, 2013, 08:00:13 AM
Yes - a most special version!  Very exciting!

I used to have this on cassette. Very good version.

Today I have both the Karajan versions and one by Previn on Telarc.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: vandermolen on October 19, 2013, 09:31:57 AM
I think that any performance stands or falls by 'Saturn - the Bringer of Old Age' my favourite movement by far (and Holst's too I think). Boult in his myriad performances is very strong here. After all Boult, according to Holst 'first made the Planets shine'. I also like Steinberg, Bernard Herrmann, and Karajan on DGG and Decca. Recently I went to see Holst's grave in Chichester Cathedral.

'Pluto' was a disaster and just as the astronomers decided that it was no longer a planet!
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: jochanaan on October 24, 2013, 06:57:12 PM
How long is a Pluto year?...
Longer than you or I will ever see. :blank:
...'Pluto' was a disaster and just as the astronomers decided that it was no longer a planet!
I haven't heard "Pluto" yet.  It's perhaps the only piece of music I have no interest in hearing.  How can you follow Neptune's long long celestial fadeout?!
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Dax on October 25, 2013, 12:40:46 AM
Pluto's awful. Listen to it on YouTube.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: vandermolen on October 25, 2013, 02:43:11 AM
Longer than you or I will ever see. :blank:I haven't heard "Pluto" yet.  It's perhaps the only piece of music I have no interest in hearing.  How can you follow Neptune's long long celestial fadeout?!

You can't. That's why Colin Matthews had to bring it back again at the end of 'Pluto'.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on October 25, 2013, 04:03:53 AM
Pluto's awful. Listen to it on YouTube.

I trust you. I shan't.

 0:)
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: North Star on October 25, 2013, 04:16:42 AM
Pluto isn't even a planet anymore, so there's no reason to hear that..
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on October 25, 2013, 04:22:40 AM
(* chortle *)
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: North Star on October 25, 2013, 04:25:52 AM
The Asteroid Belt, symphonic suite in ca. 1,300,000 parts.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Dax on October 25, 2013, 03:44:46 PM
I trust you. I shan't.

 0:)

Thanks for the vote of confidence, but its many-layered incompetence has to be heard to be believed - 30 seconds will probably do the trick.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: jochanaan on October 25, 2013, 08:36:56 PM
You can't. That's why Colin Matthews had to bring it back again at the end of 'Pluto'.
Ah, he "pulled a Sussmayer!"  :P (Reference to Mozart Requiem.)
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on January 02, 2015, 07:15:55 PM
'Pluto' was a disaster and just as the astronomers decided that it was no longer a planet!

I haven't heard "Pluto" yet.  It's perhaps the only piece of music I have no interest in hearing.  How can you follow Neptune's long long celestial fadeout?!

You can't. That's why Colin Matthews had to bring it back again at the end of 'Pluto'.

Pluto's awful. Listen to it on YouTube.

I trust you. I shan't.

 0:)

For anyone game enough to try, here it is:

https://www.youtube.com/v/9IA7BfZZd_Q
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: 71 dB on January 03, 2015, 03:47:32 AM
How about Colin Matthews doing Eris?  ;D

Eris was discovered in 2005 and appears to be larger than Pluto. At first it was called the tenth planet of our solar system, but in 2006 International Astronomical Union defined the term "planet". Pluto and Eris aren't massive enough to meet the criteria, so they are dwarf planets.

Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Mirror Image on January 03, 2015, 10:09:56 AM
Getting back on topic, what does everyone think of Sir Rattle's performance with the Berliners? I think it's one of the finest on record. I never cared for many of the ones that seem to be rated the highest. I also like Mackerras' performance a lot, although he sometimes adopts a faster tempi in certain sections that I feel need to be taken a bit slower and should be allowed to wallow in a bit. I'm thinking here of Saturn and Neptune. I still need to hear the Steinberg/BSO recording which I've embarrassingly continue to ignore for no good reason. Perhaps I'll give it a spin later on today.

As for the discussion of Matthews' Pluto, I have no interest in hearing it whatsoever.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on January 03, 2015, 02:46:19 PM
Getting back on topic, what does everyone think of Sir Rattle's performance with the Berliners? I think it's one of the finest on record. I never cared for many of the ones that seem to be rated the highest.

I haven't heard the Rattle version yet. I'm interested in hearing what Simon and the Berliners do with The Planets.

I also like Mackerras' performance a lot, although he sometimes adopts a faster tempi in certain sections that I feel need to be taken a bit slower and should be allowed to wallow in a bit. I'm thinking here of Saturn and Neptune. I still need to hear the Steinberg/BSO recording which I've embarrassingly continue to ignore for no good reason. Perhaps I'll give it a spin later on today.

The Steinberg version (http://www.amazon.com/Planets-Steinberg/dp/B000056TKD) is highly regarded, but for me it's a little too zippy. It's a fairly breathless reading, and one that I find it exciting, but the problem for me is that it doesn't allow me to linger on anything. I might want to savour a certain part of the suite, but Steinberg will say, "No, there's no time, we must keep moving." Everything seems to be treated in such a brisk manner that I keep wanting to say "Billy! Relax, enjoy!". The timings might indicate that, tempo-wise, it's a fairly average reading, but it all just feels so fast.

This is The Planets to listen to if you've had too much coffee.

Here's his Mars:

https://www.youtube.com/v/PlHn90j2Ri4

As for the discussion of Matthews' Pluto, I have no interest in hearing it whatsoever.

I've heard it once. I don't want to hear it again.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Mirror Image on January 03, 2015, 03:10:54 PM
I haven't heard the Rattle version yet. I'm interested in hearing what Simon and the Berliners do with The Planets.

The Steinberg version (http://www.amazon.com/Planets-Steinberg/dp/B000056TKD) is highly regarded, but for me it's a little too zippy. It's a fairly breathless reading, and one that I find it exciting, but the problem for me is that it doesn't allow me to linger on anything. I might want to savour a certain part of the suite, but Steinberg will say, "No, there's no time, we must keep moving." Everything seems to be treated in such a brisk manner that I keep wanting to say "Billy! Relax, enjoy!". The timings might indicate that, tempo-wise, it's a fairly average reading, but it all just feels so fast.

This is The Planets to listen to if you've had too much coffee.

Here's his Mars:

https://www.youtube.com/v/PlHn90j2Ri4

I've heard it once. I don't want to hear it again.

Of the 15 something performances I've heard of The Planets, Rattle/Berlin and Bernstein/NY Philharmonic go straight to the top. I'm kind of cautious to hear Steinberg's performance now. For me, listening to his Saturn and Neptune will be the ultimate test to see whether I enjoy what he does with the work. Thanks for your feedback, Peter.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on January 03, 2015, 04:33:48 PM
Of the 15 something performances I've heard of The Planets, Rattle/Berlin and Bernstein/NY Philharmonic go straight to the top. ...

Now I definitely want to hear the Rattle.

And now I want to hear Bernstein's as well.

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51Q0JH2T6WL.jpg) (http://www.amazon.com/Planets-Pluto-Asteriods-Colin-Matthews/dp/B000H80LEK)

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51BClg8fUkL.jpg) (http://www.amazon.com/Bernstein-Century-Holst-Planets-Circumstance/dp/B0000029XK)     or     (http://g-ecx.images-amazon.com/images/G/01/ciu/1e/1e/d98f225b9da0c9afb7f11110.L.jpg) (http://www.amazon.com/Holst-Planets-Gustav/dp/B00000DRY3)

... I'm kind of cautious to hear Steinberg's performance now. For me, listening to his Saturn and Neptune will be the ultimate test to see whether I enjoy what he does with the work. Thanks for your feedback, Peter.

No problem. You might not find Steinberg's Planets as frisky as I did. As people from the land of Americans like to say: "Your mileage may vary."
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on January 03, 2015, 04:53:57 PM
Of the 15 something performances I've heard of The Planets, Rattle/Berlin and Bernstein/NY Philharmonic go straight to the top. I'm kind of cautious to hear Steinberg's performance now. For me, listening to his Saturn and Neptune will be the ultimate test to see whether I enjoy what he does with the work. Thanks for your feedback, Peter.

I've just discovered Simon Rattle has an earlier The Planets, with the Philharmonia Orchestra. It's from 1987. (Details at Amazon.co.uk (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Holst-Planets-Philharmonia-Orchestra/dp/B00000DR1O))

You can hear both Rattle versions in their entirety (entireties?) on Spotify:

Holst: The Planets, Op. 32 - Philharmonia Orchestra / Sir Simon Rattle (1987) (https://play.spotify.com/album/3G6EqPey5LjM2kLdoP1Oj5)

Holst: The Planets, Op. 32 - Berliner Philharmoniker / Sir Simon Rattle (2006) (https://play.spotify.com/album/5a5eHBTZbbHPSTnQo5PNKz)

(http://i.scdn.co/image/dfd014bf50f8ffe51ca0ff7e2b0688f1952233e6) (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Holst-Planets-Philharmonia-Orchestra/dp/B00000DR1O)

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/71HcR8PZfsL._SL1417_.jpg) (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Planets-Rattle-Berliner-Philharmoniker-Holst/dp/B000GBEPHM)
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Ken B on January 03, 2015, 05:14:53 PM
Of the 15 something performances I've heard of The Planets, Rattle/Berlin and Bernstein/NY Philharmonic go straight to the top. I'm kind of cautious to hear Steinberg's performance now. For me, listening to his Saturn and Neptune will be the ultimate test to see whether I enjoy what he does with the work. Thanks for your feedback, Peter.
d

Karajan/Decca is the best I know of, but have not heard Rattle.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Green Destiny on January 03, 2015, 05:46:10 PM
^^Reading this thread I remembered that I bought Steinberg's Planets/TSZ recording a couple of years ago and haven't even listened to it yet! - I will give it a spin sometime today. Thanks for the reminder gents :)
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Mirror Image on January 03, 2015, 06:02:36 PM
I've just discovered Simon Rattle has an earlier The Planets, with the Philharmonia Orchestra. It's from 1987. (Details at Amazon.co.uk (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Holst-Planets-Philharmonia-Orchestra/dp/B00000DR1O))

You can hear both Rattle versions in their entirety (entireties?) on Spotify:

Holst: The Planets, Op. 32 - Philharmonia Orchestra / Sir Simon Rattle (1987) (https://play.spotify.com/album/3G6EqPey5LjM2kLdoP1Oj5)

Holst: The Planets, Op. 32 - Berliner Philharmoniker / Sir Simon Rattle (2006) (https://play.spotify.com/album/5a5eHBTZbbHPSTnQo5PNKz)

(http://i.scdn.co/image/dfd014bf50f8ffe51ca0ff7e2b0688f1952233e6) (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Holst-Planets-Philharmonia-Orchestra/dp/B00000DR1O)

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/71HcR8PZfsL._SL1417_.jpg) (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Planets-Rattle-Berliner-Philharmoniker-Holst/dp/B000GBEPHM)

Now I definitely want to hear the Rattle.

And now I want to hear Bernstein's as well.

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51Q0JH2T6WL.jpg) (http://www.amazon.com/Planets-Pluto-Asteriods-Colin-Matthews/dp/B000H80LEK)

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51BClg8fUkL.jpg) (http://www.amazon.com/Bernstein-Century-Holst-Planets-Circumstance/dp/B0000029XK)     or     (http://g-ecx.images-amazon.com/images/G/01/ciu/1e/1e/d98f225b9da0c9afb7f11110.L.jpg) (http://www.amazon.com/Holst-Planets-Gustav/dp/B00000DRY3)

No problem. You might not find Steinberg's Planets as frisky as I did. As people from the land of Americans like to say: "Your mileage may vary."

I have not heard Rattle's earlier account with the Philharmonia and seeing how good he is with the Berliners, I'm almost scared to listen to that performance out of fear that it could be better. If anything, Rattle's tempi might be a bit more on the brisk side with the Philharmonia. I'll have to investigate that recording. Thanks for all the commentary thus far, Peter. Quite interesting.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Mirror Image on January 03, 2015, 06:04:17 PM
Karajan/Decca is the best I know of, but have not heard Rattle.

HvK/VPO is quite good indeed, but it doesn't top my two favorites, but you probably already knew this. :)
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on January 03, 2015, 06:05:55 PM
I have not heard Rattle's earlier account with the Philharmonia and seeing how good he is with the Berliners, I'm almost scared to listen to that performance out of fear that it could be better. If anything, Rattle's tempi might be a bit more on the brisk side with the Philharmonia. I'll have to investigate that recording. Thanks for all the commentary thus far, Peter. Quite interesting.

You're entirely welcome, Mirror Image.

And now it's Interview-with-Simon-Rattle time!

https://www.youtube.com/v/Tv6Yd1uanbM
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Ken B on January 03, 2015, 06:13:14 PM
HvK/VPO is quite good indeed, but it doesn't top my two favorites, but you probably already knew this. :)

Yes, I can usually predict your errors John.  :laugh: >:D :P :laugh: >:D ;)

Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Mirror Image on January 03, 2015, 06:17:42 PM
Yes, I can usually predict your errors John.  :laugh: >:D :P :laugh: >:D ;)

 :P
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Mirror Image on January 03, 2015, 07:01:12 PM
You're entirely welcome, Mirror Image.

And now it's Interview-with-Simon-Rattle time!

https://www.youtube.com/v/Tv6Yd1uanbM

I remember seeing this interview years ago. It's a novel idea putting the more contemporary works alongside of The Planets, but I got the feeling that it's kind of like putting a bunch of musically unrelated paintings next to a more well-known Van Gogh painting and expecting these other artists' paintings to somehow compliment it when all it really does is create a distraction. Rattle should get a pat on the back for programming an interesting line-up of works, but anything can look good on paper. I believe he should stuck with a Holst program and record a work like "Egdon Heath" or "Beni Mora" to show a different side of the composer.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on January 03, 2015, 07:24:33 PM
I remember seeing this interview years ago. It's a novel idea putting the more contemporary works alongside of The Planets, but I got the feeling that it's kind of like putting a bunch of musically unrelated paintings next to a more well-known Van Gogh painting and expecting these other artists' paintings to somehow compliment it when all it really does is create a distraction. Rattle should get a pat on the back for programming an interesting line-up of works, but anything can look good on paper. I believe he should stuck with a Holst program and record a work like "Egdon Heath" or "Beni Mora" to show a different side of the composer.

Yes indeed.

St. Paul's Suite seems to be The Planets' coupling of choice for most record companies:

https://www.youtube.com/v/pRRtmrjWsPE

For something to go with The Planets, I'm with you Mirror Image. I think Beni Mora would be ideal coming after Neptune:

https://www.youtube.com/v/jrn2LUQ3Vjc

Egdon Heath even more so:

https://www.youtube.com/v/2kDF3AG3Gp4
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Mirror Image on January 03, 2015, 07:39:16 PM
Yes indeed.

St. Paul's Suite seems to be The Planets' coupling of choice for most record companies:

https://www.youtube.com/v/pRRtmrjWsPE

For something to go with The Planets, I'm with you Mirror Image. I think Beni Mora would be ideal coming after Neptune:

https://www.youtube.com/v/jrn2LUQ3Vjc

Egdon Heath even more so:

https://www.youtube.com/v/2kDF3AG3Gp4

I'm drooling at the very thought of Rattle conducting Beni Mora or Egdon Heath with the Berliners. I really wish he would get back to conducting more British music. His somewhat neglect of his own country's music is completely dumbfounding. Imagine what Rattle could do in Elgar's symphonies or even more of a stretch RVW's symphonies. Oh, the possibilities!!!
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: mc ukrneal on January 03, 2015, 07:42:25 PM
I haven't heard the Rattle version yet. I'm interested in hearing what Simon and the Berliners do with The Planets.

The Steinberg version (http://www.amazon.com/Planets-Steinberg/dp/B000056TKD) is highly regarded, but for me it's a little too zippy. It's a fairly breathless reading, and one that I find it exciting, but the problem for me is that it doesn't allow me to linger on anything. I might want to savour a certain part of the suite, but Steinberg will say, "No, there's no time, we must keep moving." Everything seems to be treated in such a brisk manner that I keep wanting to say "Billy! Relax, enjoy!". The timings might indicate that, tempo-wise, it's a fairly average reading, but it all just feels so fast.

This is The Planets to listen to if you've had too much coffee.

Here's his Mars:

https://www.youtube.com/v/PlHn90j2Ri4
Bliss! Pure Bliss! I find that most composers linger FAR too long - So much so that the piece becomes a snoozefest (think Boult, which may mean you would like his - but don't blame me! :) ). I could listen to this over and over and over (and I have) and still love it.

I've played this in a marching band and a symphonic winds group. It's a challenge to get your head around the 5/4 time the first time you play it. I think we spent the first 1-2 rehearsals just trying to feel the beat.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on January 03, 2015, 08:10:47 PM
Bliss! Pure Bliss! I find that most composers linger FAR too long - So much so that the piece becomes a snoozefest (think Boult, which may mean you would like his - but don't blame me! :) ). ...

I must admit I'm not much of a Boultian. I know he's highly regarded by the English classical musical fraternity, but I'm afraid my ears don't hear the justification for that highly-regarded-ness. (I wouldn't mind borrowing the ears of a Boult fan – then I could hear what they hear, and say to myself: "Ah, that's why he's great!")

... I could listen to this over and over and over (and I have) and still love it.

Excellent.

Considering you like your Planets zippy, I can thoroughly recommend Zubin Mehta's 1971 recording with the Los Angeles Philharmonic (not the later 1990 one with the New York Philharmonic). It has energy to spare:

Spotify:
Holst: The Planets, Op. 32 - Los Angeles Philharmonic / Zubin Mehta (1971) (https://play.spotify.com/album/3k7LxklTdKpySJbjql8Zf9)

Here's Mehta's 1971 Mars:

https://www.youtube.com/v/hf3Ra1Rwopg

I've played this in a marching band and a symphonic winds group. It's a challenge to get your head around the 5/4 time the first time you play it. I think we spent the first 1-2 rehearsals just trying to feel the beat.

It's tricky alright.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Mirror Image on January 03, 2015, 08:23:58 PM
I must admit I'm not much of a Boultian. I know he's highly regarded by the English classical musical fraternity, but I'm afraid my ears don't hear the justification for that highly-regarded-ness. (I wouldn't mind borrowing the ears of a Boult fan – then I could hear what they hear, and say to myself: "Ah, that's why he's great!")

+1

I never could get aboard the Boult express, although I do enjoy some of his RVW recordings, but, again, like I've been saying in another thread about his Elgar, he's just too mannered and refined for my tastes. I like a conductor who can let their hair down a bit so to speak.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: vandermolen on January 04, 2015, 05:53:18 AM
+1

I never could get aboard the Boult express, although I do enjoy some of his RVW recordings, but, again, like I've been saying in another thread about his Elgar, he's just too mannered and refined for my tastes. I like a conductor who can let their hair down a bit so to speak.

The old Decca Boult Vaughan Williams Symphony 6 is unrivalled in my view. Boult has quite a coldly dispassionate view which ideally suits this work, which is maybe why he is ideal in Saturn and Neptune from The Planets. I can understand that Boult is not to everyone's taste but having seen the old boy conduct a number of times in my youth I have a nostalgic affection for him. He was very un-showy as a conductor and rather self-effacing which I rather admired. For all its great beauty Vaughan Williams's music has an oddly impersonal quality to it which, IMHO suits Boults's approach. I liked his objective Sibelius recordings too and his later recording of the great Moeran Symphony on Lyrita.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Mirror Image on January 04, 2015, 07:35:30 AM
The old Decca Boult Vaughan Williams Symphony 6 is unrivalled in my view. Boult has quite a coldly dispassionate view which ideally suits this work, which is maybe why he is ideal in Saturn and Neptune from The Planets. I can understand that Boult is not to everyone's taste but having seen the old boy conduct a number of times in my youth I have a nostalgic affection for him. He was very un-showy as a conductor and rather self-effacing which I rather admired. For all its great beauty Vaughan Williams's music has an oddly impersonal quality to it which, IMHO suits Boults's approach. I liked his objective Sibelius recordings too and his later recording of the great Moeran Symphony on Lyrita.

We definitely agree on his RVW performances. I've always enjoyed them and his stereo set on EMI is what launched my ears into the RVW's musical world for the first time. He's certainly a great conductor. No question about it.

Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: vandermolen on January 04, 2015, 07:45:19 AM
We definitely agree on his RVW performances. I've always enjoyed them and his stereo set on EMI is what launched my ears into the RVW's musical world for the first time. He's certainly a great conductor. No question about it.

Yes, the EMI LP set was my way into the VW symphonies as a 17 year old but the Decca No 6 was the initial revelation for me John.

Back to the Planets, I always rather liked the Steinberg DGG recording as well as Sargent's CFP recording. Bernard Herrmann's more controversial version is also a fine one in my view.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on January 04, 2015, 02:26:17 PM
Quote
https://www.youtube.com/v/PlHn90j2Ri4

Bliss! Pure Bliss! I find that most composers linger FAR too long - So much so that the piece becomes a snoozefest (think Boult, which may mean you would like his - but don't blame me! :) ). I could listen to this over and over and over (and I have) and still love it.

I've played this in a marching band and a symphonic winds group. It's a challenge to get your head around the 5/4 time the first time you play it. I think we spent the first 1-2 rehearsals just trying to feel the beat.

Seein' as you like a brisk Mars, try the one by James Levine and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra (http://www.amazon.com/Holst-Planets-Gustav/dp/B000001GCZ). They manage the feat of making Mars both fast and menacing:

https://www.youtube.com/v/q6HUVYQ63GY

That's another one for the Planets shopping list.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: mc ukrneal on January 04, 2015, 02:51:31 PM
Mehta - not bad, but the rhythm seems to fluctuate at times and I didn't really like that.
Levine - very menacing indeed, with a lot of low brass and such.

As to Boult, I generally like his work, just not in the Planets.

What I love about the Steinberg is his sense of propulsion and forward driving power. The others have this, but Steinberg is on a different planet! :)
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: aukhawk on January 05, 2015, 08:14:55 AM
(I wouldn't mind borrowing the ears of a Boult fan – then I could hear what they hear, and say to myself: "Ah, that's why he's great!")

You maybe had to see him conduct as well, to fully 'get it'.  Hands stationary, fingers barly moving, the end of the baton maybe a couple of inches.  Add the occasional quiver of an eyelid, and that was about it.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: vandermolen on January 05, 2015, 12:45:16 PM
You maybe had to see him conduct as well, to fully 'get it'.  Hands stationary, fingers barly moving, the end of the baton maybe a couple of inches.  Add the occasional quiver of an eyelid, and that was about it.

A brief extract:

http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=YRXkISjm97U

I was at this concert on October 12th 1972, 100th Anniversary of Vaughan Williams's birth.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Sergeant Rock on January 05, 2015, 01:48:45 PM
Back to the Planets, I always rather liked the Steinberg DGG recordin...Bernard Herrmann's more controversial version is also a fine one in my view.

You and I are on the same page  8)

Sarge
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on January 05, 2015, 03:43:28 PM
You maybe had to see him conduct as well, to fully 'get it'.  Hands stationary, fingers barely moving, the end of the baton maybe a couple of inches. Add the occasional quiver of an eyelid, and that was about it.

A brief extract:

https://www.youtube.com/v/YRXkISjm97U

I was at this concert on October 12th 1972, 100th Anniversary of Vaughan Williams's birth.

Excellent.

Thanks for the video, vandermolen.

There's also this:

https://www.youtube.com/v/p7Nc9Wj36-4

I've always enjoyed watching Sir Adrian conduct. He's so elegant, so unostentatious, so... dapper.

For me it's a refreshingly calming antidote to, say, someone like Leonard Bernstein (a.k.a. "Mr. Emotion"), who's constantly stabbing the air with his baton ("And HERE, we PLAY with SO MUCH INTENSITY that you FEEL. EVERY. NOTE.").

Unfortunately, when I'm not watching The Urbane Mr. Boult™ is when the problems start and I'm underwhelmed with what I'm hearing.

I do like self-effacing conductors (Hello, Frans Brüggen and Herbert Blomstedt), but with Ado the Boult Man* he seems to be self-effacing to the point of not even making an effort to present the music in its best possible light. Maybe it's all that "British reserve". Who knows?

As for the man himself, I like The Boultster* very much. But his conducting does very little for me. When I listen to the music, I don't hear anything. (You know what I mean.) It reminds me of Gertrude Stein's comment, "There's no there there."


(*Yes, I know it's disrespectful to call Sir Adrian "Ado the Boult Man" and "The Boultster", but at least I didn't go with the first thing I had thought of, which was "Boulty Boy".)
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on January 05, 2015, 04:43:17 PM
I have not heard Rattle's earlier account with the Philharmonia and seeing how good he is with the Berliners, I'm almost scared to listen to that performance out of fear that it could be better. If anything, Rattle's tempi might be a bit more on the brisk side with the Philharmonia. I'll have to investigate that recording.

You can hear it on Spotify:

https://play.spotify.com/album/3G6EqPey5LjM2kLdoP1Oj5 (https://play.spotify.com/album/3G6EqPey5LjM2kLdoP1Oj5)

(http://cps-static.rovicorp.com/3/JPG_400/MI0000/955/MI0000955596.jpg)

I'm listening to it now, and enjoying it. It's not as fussy as Rattle's later Berlin recording (also on Spotify (https://play.spotify.com/album/5a5eHBTZbbHPSTnQo5PNKz)).

Thanks for all the commentary thus far, Peter. Quite interesting.

A-OK, MI.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Est.1965 on January 05, 2015, 07:28:46 PM
This one knocks me daft...love it.

Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Mirror Image on January 05, 2015, 07:38:08 PM
You can hear it on Spotify:

https://play.spotify.com/album/3G6EqPey5LjM2kLdoP1Oj5 (https://play.spotify.com/album/3G6EqPey5LjM2kLdoP1Oj5)

(http://cps-static.rovicorp.com/3/JPG_400/MI0000/955/MI0000955596.jpg)

I'm listening to it now, and enjoying it. It's not as fussy as Rattle's later Berlin recording (also on Spotify (https://play.spotify.com/album/5a5eHBTZbbHPSTnQo5PNKz)).

A-OK, MI.

I prefer Rattle when he's fussy. ;) I'll have to give his earlier Philharmonia performance a listen as I'm sure my dad owns it (he owns almost every single recording of The Planets released).
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on January 05, 2015, 09:40:58 PM
I prefer Rattle when he's fussy. ;) I'll have to give his earlier Philharmonia performance a listen as I'm sure my dad owns it (he owns almost every single recording of The Planets released).

I have a feeling that I've just started doing the same thing.

Up until participating in this thread, I was happy with my one CD of The Planets (Dutoit's (http://www.amazon.com/The-Planets-Gustav-Holst/dp/B0000041S7)). But now I'm seeking out various interpretations on CD from all over the place (mainly eBay, where they're cheap).

For the last few weeks, and also courtesy of recommendations (but on a different classical music forum), I went on a CD-buying frenzy with Orff's Carmina Burana. I ended up buying 26 of them. Yes, 26.

And now I'm doing exactly the same thing with The Planets. Gulp.

I see an alarming trend happening here.

(I was going to say "Somebody stop me!" – but I don't want anyone to stop me.)
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on January 05, 2015, 09:58:16 PM
This one knocks me daft...love it.



I'd love to hear the Groves version, but I can't find it anywhere. (Well, not anywhere cheap.)
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Mirror Image on January 05, 2015, 10:01:11 PM
I have a feeling that I've just started doing the same thing.

Up until participating in this thread, I was happy with my one CD of The Planets (Dutoit's (http://www.amazon.com/The-Planets-Gustav-Holst/dp/B0000041S7)). But now I'm seeking out various interpretations on CD from all over the place (mainly eBay, where they're cheap).

For the last few weeks, and also courtesy of recommendations (but on a different classical music forum), I went on a CD-buying frenzy with Orff's Carmina Burana. I ended up buying 26 of them. Yes, 26.

And now I'm doing exactly the same thing with The Planets. Gulp.

I see an alarming trend happening here.

(I was going to say "Somebody stop me!" – but I don't want anyone to stop me.)

It's certainly a masterwork and there are lesser works you could be collecting various recordings of like Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture or anything from Rossini. Sorry, I had to say it. ;) Anyway, here's a fun idea, if you could indulge us, what are your top 5 favorite performances of The Planets or have you not reached the point where you could give a list of favorites?
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on January 05, 2015, 10:13:01 PM
It's certainly a masterwork and there are lesser works you could be collecting various recordings of like Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture or anything from Rossini. Sorry, I had to say it. ;) Anyway, here's a fun idea, if you could indulge us, what are your top 5 favorite performances of The Planets or have you not reached the point where you could give a list of favorites?

I sure can.

I'll take stock of what I've grabbed so far (I now have plenty of versions), find out what I've heard and what I haven't, listen to what I haven't, and then let you know what I think. It might take a little while, but at least the work only goes about 50 minutes. Hopefully it won't take too long. (I'm awfully glad I won't be comparing recordings of The Ring (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Der_Ring_des_Nibelungen).)
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Mirror Image on January 05, 2015, 10:30:16 PM
I sure can.

I'll take stock of what I've grabbed so far (I now have plenty of versions), find out what I've heard and what I haven't, listen to what I haven't, and then let you know what I think. It might take a little while, but at least the work only goes about 50 minutes. Hopefully it won't take too long. (I'm awfully glad I won't be comparing recordings of The Ring (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Der_Ring_des_Nibelungen).)

Great! I await your list of favorites.

In the meantime, perhaps my favorite movement of the entire suite is Saturn, the Bringer of Old Age. This movement quite literally scares me to death. It's eerie atmosphere is one of inevitability. It used to be one of my least favorite movements as I suppose I preferred the more upbeat Jupiter, the Bringer of Jollity, but as I've gotten older and more experienced Saturn really has hit home with me.

https://www.youtube.com/v/mU04EScW4rM
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on January 06, 2015, 12:05:07 AM
Great! I await your list of favorites.

In the meantime, perhaps my favorite movement of the entire suite is Saturn, the Bringer of Old Age. This movement quite literally scares me to death. It's eerie atmosphere is one of inevitability. It used to be one of my least favorite movements as I suppose I preferred the more upbeat Jupiter, the Bringer of Jollity, but as I've gotten older and more experienced Saturn really has hit home with me.

https://www.youtube.com/v/mU04EScW4rM

Yeah, "Saturn" creeps up on you. It goes from "This is boring" to "Holy moly, this is freaking me out!"

Dutoit's (http://www.amazon.com/Planets-Gustav-Holst/dp/B0000041S7) "Saturn" is stunning. The last couple of minutes, when the low organ notes come in (from 8:00 onwards), amazes me every single time I hear it. Whenever I go testing hi-fi equipment, one of the things I play for bass response is the last couple of minutes of "Saturn". On a good hi-fi, and played loud, those low organ notes will blow you a beautiful breeze. (I think the British classical music press call low organ notes "trouser-flapping".)

I'm pleased to say Dutoit's "Saturn" is on YouTube. I'm not pleased to say it sounds moderately dreadful.

https://www.youtube.com/v/6sbnsLmwlbc

The Dutoit Planets (all of it) is on Spotify, where it sounds better (not great, but better):

Holst: The Planets, Op. 32 (Orchestre symphonique de Montréal / Charles Dutoit) (https://play.spotify.com/album/0w32A1A9aeuv5jLL7q3wOq)
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: 71 dB on January 06, 2015, 07:57:58 AM
Holst's The Planets is one of the most well known pieces of classical music. When part of it is played on radio, it's always Mars. I don't like that part much. So, for long I ignored to whole work. A few year ago I decided to give the work a change and bought David Lloyd-Jones for £0.01 +shipping from Amazon Marketplace. I was surprised by the work. Some of the planets are very very nice music, but never played in the media! I like the less aggressive planets the most while Mars is the most violent, of course.

Anyway, I am pleased with David Lloyd-Jones on Naxos and I'm not interested of other versions.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: mc ukrneal on January 06, 2015, 08:19:51 AM
Holst's The Planets is one of the most well known pieces of classical music. When part of it is played on radio, it's always Mars. I don't like that part much. So, for long I ignored to whole work. A few year ago I decided to give the work a change and bought David Lloyd-Jones for £0.01 +shipping from Amazon Marketplace. I was surprised by the work. Some of the planets are very very nice music, but never played in the media! I like the less aggressive planets the most while Mars is the most violent, of course.

Anyway, I am pleased with David Lloyd-Jones on Naxos and I'm not interested of other versions.
That's a good one - Consistently so across the different planets.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: jfdrex on January 06, 2015, 11:51:19 AM
I join many others here in lauding the Steinberg/ Boston Symphony recording.  It's been reissued a number of times, in different pairings.  (The particular CD I have pairs it with Jochum's Enigma Variations--and a very Brucknerian reading that is!)  But I seem to recall reading somewhere that one of the DG releases contain egregious editing errors.  Has anyone else noticed this?  (By the way, I believe there's also a live performance of The Planets by Steinberg and the BSO posted by one of the music sharing groups; I've not heard it, but that performance is said to be even better than Steinberg's DG recording.)

I've only scanned the previous pages of this long thread, so I might have missed it, but has anyone mentioned the Handley/ RPO recording?  I haven't listened to it in ages, but I recall finding it highly satisfying.  It still seems to be available in a couple of different incarnations:





Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: vandermolen on January 06, 2015, 01:09:52 PM
I have a feeling that I've just started doing the same thing.

Up until participating in this thread, I was happy with my one CD of The Planets (Dutoit's (http://www.amazon.com/The-Planets-Gustav-Holst/dp/B0000041S7)). But now I'm seeking out various interpretations on CD from all over the place (mainly eBay, where they're cheap).

For the last few weeks, and also courtesy of recommendations (but on a different classical music forum), I went on a CD-buying frenzy with Orff's Carmina Burana. I ended up buying 26 of them. Yes, 26.

And now I'm doing exactly the same thing with The Planets. Gulp.

I see an alarming trend happening here.

(I was going to say "Somebody stop me!" – but I don't want anyone to stop me.)

Clearly a hopeless case of OCCDCD (obsessive compulsive CD collecting disorder  - there is a thread in the Diner section of the forum I think). My favourite movement is, and always was, even when I was young, 'Saturn the Bringer of Old Age'. I think that Boult's dispassionate view works very well here on his various recordings. I read a view recently which interestingly argued that Vaughan Williams's turbulent 6th Symphony was a tribute to his old friend Holst and the epilogue could be referencing Neptune at the end.

My version of the fine Steinberg recording of The Planets on DGG is coupled with Ligeti's 'Atmospheres' of '2001 A Space Odyssey' fame.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: vandermolen on January 06, 2015, 01:13:51 PM
You and I are on the same page  8)

Sarge

Yes, they are both fine versions although the Herrmann is more controversial.  :)
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on January 06, 2015, 04:57:39 PM
I join many others here in lauding the Steinberg/ Boston Symphony recording.  It's been reissued a number of times, in different pairings.  (The particular CD I have pairs it with Jochum's Enigma Variations--and a very Brucknerian reading that is!)  But I seem to recall reading somewhere that one of the DG releases contain egregious editing errors.  Has anyone else noticed this?  (By the way, I believe there's also a live performance of The Planets by Steinberg and the BSO posted by one of the music sharing groups; I've not heard it, but that performance is said to be even better than Steinberg's DG recording.)

I've only scanned the previous pages of this long thread, so I might have missed it, but has anyone mentioned the Handley/ RPO recording?  I haven't listened to it in ages, but I recall finding it highly satisfying.  It still seems to be available in a couple of different incarnations:

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/61gLGt1x%2BuL.jpg) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000TLWGJS)     (http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51Kaab2mVeL._SL500_.jpg) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00000DGVJ)

Handley's Planets has been mentioned on this thread, but only in passing (here (http://www.good-music-guide.com/community/index.php/topic,20422.msg626087/topicseen.html#msg626087)).

I didn't know it existed until I heard about it on another classical music forum (it was praised to the heavens there), and was intrigued. I found the album on Spotify where I could hear it all:

Holst: The Planets, Op. 32 (Royal Philharmonic Orchestra / Vernon Handley) (https://play.spotify.com/album/3BYwLRikVsZoaAzEPrlikC)

I only heard a couple of minutes of "Mars", and I was hooked.

I immediately bought it. The CD I bought was the original release (on Tring's Royal Philharmonic Orchestra label). It has this cover:

(http://cps-static.rovicorp.com/3/JPG_400/MI0001/040/MI0001040263.jpg) (http://www.amazon.com/Holst-Planets-Pauls-Suite-Brook/dp/B000TLWGJS)
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Mirror Image on January 06, 2015, 05:02:53 PM
Yeah, "Saturn" creeps up on you. It goes from "This is boring" to "Holy moly, this is freaking me out!"

Dutoit's (http://www.amazon.com/Planets-Gustav-Holst/dp/B0000041S7) "Saturn" is stunning. The last couple of minutes, when the low organ notes come in (from 8:00 onwards), amazes me every single time I hear it. Whenever I go testing hi-fi equipment, one of the things I play for bass response is the last couple of minutes of "Saturn". On a good hi-fi, and played loud, those low organ notes will blow you a beautiful breeze. (I think the British classical music press call low organ notes "trouser-flapping".)

I'm pleased to say Dutoit's "Saturn" is on YouTube. I'm not pleased to say it sounds moderately dreadful.

https://www.youtube.com/v/6sbnsLmwlbc

The Dutoit Planets (all of it) is on Spotify, where it sounds better (not great, but better):

https://play.spotify.com/album/0w32A1A9aeuv5jLL7q3wOq (https://play.spotify.com/album/0w32A1A9aeuv5jLL7q3wOq)

I can't say that I enjoy Dutoit's Planets that much. My general problem with his conducting is the fact that everything is a bit too 'note perfect' if you understand what I'm saying. The notes are all there, but that's all I get with him. My favorite Dutoit recording is still his Daphnis et Chloe. Why he couldn't turn on the heat with other performances I have no idea.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Mirror Image on January 06, 2015, 06:02:24 PM
Let me say this, I kind of feel bad for Holst considering that The Planets is a sonic blockbuster and a concert staple. I wonder if people on this thread have given his other music a listen? I'm sure most of you have, it's just that I hate seeing a work like Edgon Heath or Japanese Suite get the shaft. It seems that The Planets is a rarity within his oeuvre. A lot of his music, and Ilaria can back me up on this one, is quite subdued, melodic, and lyrical. You won't hear Mars in his music nor will you get the sense of radiance you get with Jupiter. What you get, however, is a composer whose musical style isn't one of flamboyance or note-spinning. I'm not the greatest Holst fan in the world but I've come to appreciate his 'other' works as much as The Planets.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on January 06, 2015, 06:10:04 PM
I can't say that I enjoy Dutoit's Planets that much. My general problem with his conducting is the fact that everything is a bit too 'note perfect' if you understand what I'm saying. ...

I know where you're coming from.

...The notes are all there, but that's all I get with him. ...

You find it all a bit too slick.

...My favorite Dutoit recording is still his Daphnis et Chloe. Why he couldn't turn on the heat with other performances I have no idea.

Who knows?

Dutoit can leave some people cold, but like a lot of other divisive conductors he also has devotees. (I'm in the latter camp.) But I get what you're saying. His recordings are what I'd describe as "Rolls Royce" recordings. They're opulent and impeccable. But I understand that some times you won't want a Rolls Royce – you'll want something friskier, something that has more pep than perfection.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on January 06, 2015, 06:16:55 PM
Let me say this, I kind of feel bad for Holst considering that The Planets is a sonic blockbuster and a concert staple. I wonder if people on this thread have given his other music a listen? I'm sure most of you have, it's just that I hate seeing a work like Edgon Heath or Japanese Suite get the shaft. It seems that The Planets is a rarity within his oeuvre. A lot of his music, and Ilaria can back me up on this one, is quite subdued, melodic, and lyrical. You won't hear Mars in his music nor will you get the sense of radiance you get with Jupiter. What you get, however, is a composer whose musical style isn't one of flamboyance or note-spinning. I'm not the greatest Holst fan in the world but I've come to appreciate his 'other' works as much as The Planets.

It's bad news for a composer when you're a one-hit wonder. The recognition and acclaim can be enjoyable, but the lack of acknowledgement for everything else you've done can be enormously frustrating. (It reminds me of the time a fan went up to James Joyce and said "I must shake the hand that wrote Ulysses." Joyce replied, "It's done other things as well!")

I very much like Holst's other works (I love Beni Mora (http://youtu.be/jrn2LUQ3Vjc)), but for the time being I'm consumed with The Planets, listening to as many different interpretations as I can.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Mirror Image on January 06, 2015, 06:17:55 PM
Dutoit can leave some people cold, but like a lot of other divisive conductors he also has devotees. (I'm in the latter camp.) But I get what you're saying. His recordings are what I'd describe as "Rolls Royce" recordings. They're opulent and impeccable. But I understand that some times you won't want a Rolls Royce – you'll want something friskier, something that has more pep than perfection.

It's not that I'm completely against his conducting or have some kind of axe to grind, I just feel that so much of the time like he's more worried about making a mistake than he is letting some genuine emotion come through the performances. I do like several of his performances, but I was left cold by his Planets. I'm not sure if he had a full understanding of the material other than what the score tells the orchestra to play.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Mirror Image on January 06, 2015, 06:21:20 PM
It's bad news for a composer when you're a one-hit wonder. The recognition and acclaim can be enjoyable, but the lack of acknowledgement for everything else you've done can be enormously frustrating. (It reminds me of the time a fan went up to James Joyce and said "I must shake the hand that wrote Ulysses." Joyce replied, "It's done other things as well!")

I very much like Holst's other works (I love Beni Mora (http://youtu.be/jrn2LUQ3Vjc)), but for the time being I'm consumed with The Planets, listening to as many different interpretations as I can.

Of course, The Planets is Holst's best work or at least one of his greatest IMHO, but there are some gems scattered throughout his oeuvre as you already well know.

So how many Planets do you own now?
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: mc ukrneal on January 06, 2015, 06:34:49 PM
What about the piano duet version (also scored by Holst)? Anyone have a good recommendation for that one?
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Mirror Image on January 06, 2015, 06:37:36 PM
What about the piano duet version (also scored by Holst)? Anyone have a good recommendation for that one?

Since my dad owns all the Holst recordings or at least he collects them, I asked him about this and this is the recording he highly recommended:

Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: mc ukrneal on January 06, 2015, 06:47:09 PM
Since my dad owns all the Holst recordings or at least he collects them, I asked him about this and this is the recording he highly recommended:


Has he heard the others? I see there are a few - more than I expected (this one, Naxos, Nimbus, Olympia/Albany, and Netmark). Goldstone and Clemmow (Olympia/Albany) look to be the most famous pair to have recorded it (though that doesn't necessarily mean anything).
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Mirror Image on January 06, 2015, 06:49:20 PM
Has he heard the others? I see there are a few - more than I expected (this one, Naxos, Nimbus, Olympia/Albany, and Netmark). Goldstone and Clemmow (Olympia/Albany) look to be the most famous pair to have recorded it (though that doesn't necessarily mean anything).

I'm sure he's heard others, but this is the recording he recommended, so I would perhaps do some more research if you're uncertain about this particular recording. At least try and see if you can't sample several of the various performances.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on January 06, 2015, 08:30:22 PM
Of course, The Planets is Holst's best work or at least one of his greatest IMHO, but there are some gems scattered throughout his oeuvre as you already well know.

So how many Planets do you own now?

I currently have 21 of 'em:


And there are more on the way (I'm grabbing as many as I can).

I've heard about two-thirds of that list so far. Thanks to Spotify (https://play.spotify.com/album/3G6EqPey5LjM2kLdoP1Oj5), I've also heard Rattle's earlier (1981) Philharmonia Orchestra version, but I don't have it yet.


(*I mentioned the orchestra and recording date because the conductor has inconveniently recorded The Planets more than once, and with a different orchestra.)
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Mirror Image on January 06, 2015, 08:40:09 PM
I currently have 21 of 'em:

  • Bernstein (http://www.amazon.com/Holst-Planets-Gustav/dp/B00000DRY3)
  • Boult (London Philharmonic Orchestra, 1979) (http://www.amazon.com/Gustav-Holst-Collectors/dp/B007QEHQY6)*
  • Davis (Colin, not Andrew) (London Symphony Orchestra, 2003) (http://www.amazon.com/Holst-Planets-Gustav/dp/B000063DQJ)*
  • Dutoit (http://www.amazon.com/Planets-Gustav-Holst/dp/B0000041S7)
  • Elder (http://www.amazon.com/Holst-Planets-Matthews-Halle-Orchestra/dp/B00005JJ3M)
  • Gardiner (http://www.amazon.com/Holst-Planets-Percy-Grainger-Warriors/dp/B000V6ONEW)
  • Goodman (http://www.amazon.com/Planets-St-Pauls-Suite/dp/B000000TNH)
  • Handley (http://www.amazon.com/Holst-Planets-Pauls-Suite-Brook/dp/B000TLWGJS)
  • Haitink (http://www.amazon.com/Planets-Gustav-Holst/dp/B00000E3MZ)
  • Hickox (London Symphony Orchestra, 1988) (http://www.amazon.com/Holst-Planets-Moorside-Suite-Gustav/dp/B0007Y0DE2)*
  • Levi (http://www.amazon.com/Planets-Levi/dp/B000003D2R)
  • Levine (http://www.amazon.com/Holst-Planets-Gustav/dp/B000001GCZ)
  • Mackerras (http://www.amazon.com/Orff-Carmina-Burana-Holst-Planets/dp/B000TEVHC2)
  • Marriner (http://www.amazon.com/Holst-Planets-orchestra-Circumstance-Marches/dp/B000025KVX)
  • Mehta (http://www.amazon.com/Holst-Planets-Williams-Strauss-Zarathustra/dp/B0000042G5)
  • Previn (London Symphony Orchestra, 1974) (http://www.amazon.com/Holst-Planets-Gustav/dp/B000002RNA)*
  • Rattle (Berliner Philharmoniker, 2006) (http://www.amazon.com/Planets-Pluto-Asteriods-Colin-Matthews/dp/B000H80LEK)*
  • Simon (http://www.amazon.com/Holst-Planets-Gustav/dp/B000003SO6)
  • Solti (http://www.amazon.com/Holst-Planets-Elgar-Pomp-Circumstance/dp/B0000041Y6)
  • Steinberg (http://www.amazon.com/Planets-Steinberg/dp/B000056TKD)
  • Susskind (http://www.amazon.com/Holst-Planets-Gustav/dp/B0002C4IJK)

And there are more on the way (I'm grabbing as many as I can).

I've heard about two-thirds of that list so far. Thanks to Spotify (https://play.spotify.com/album/3G6EqPey5LjM2kLdoP1Oj5), I've also heard Rattle's earlier (1981) Philharmonia Orchestra version, but I don't have it yet.


(*I mentioned the orchestra and recording date because the conductor has inconveniently recorded The Planets more than once, and with a different orchestra.)

Very nice, Peter. I'm pretty sure my dad owns around 40 of them. I could be a little off, but I believe this is what he's counted.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on January 06, 2015, 09:05:56 PM
Very nice, Peter. I'm pretty sure my dad owns around 40 of them. I could be a little off, but I believe this is what he's counted.

Excellent. I wouldn't mind if he ripped them all*, converted them to FLAC files, and sent those files my way.


(*It just occurred to me that if most of those Planets are on LP, ripping them would be slightly difficult.)
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Mirror Image on January 06, 2015, 09:09:34 PM
Excellent. I wouldn't mind if he ripped them all*, converted them to FLAC files, and sent those files my way.


(*It just occurred to me that if most of those Planets are on LP, ripping them would be slightly difficult.)

No, they're all on CD and I'm pretty sure he doesn't rip many CDs these days. Looks, like you've got 39 to go to catch up with him. ;) ;D
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on January 06, 2015, 11:46:31 PM
No, they're all on CD and I'm pretty sure he doesn't rip many CDs these days. ...

Ah well. For a moment there, my eyes went very shiny with anticipation.

I'm not one for smiley faces, but... [insert un-smiley face here].

...Looks, like you've got 39 to go to catch up with him. ;) ;D

Yes indeed.

I'm keen to find as many as I can. (All donations greatly appreciated.)
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: 71 dB on January 07, 2015, 01:49:47 AM
I wonder if people on this thread have given his other music a listen?

Not really. The Naxos disc I have of The Planets contains The Mystic Trumpeter, Op. 18 as a filler. In a way I am curious about Holst's other works, but it all comes down to how much you have time and energy. Every minute I spend on Holst is away from other composers.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on January 07, 2015, 03:08:36 AM
Not really. The Naxos disc I have of The Planets contains The Mystic Trumpeter, Op. 18 as a filler. In a way I am curious about Holst's other works, ...

Well, there's the "Non-Planets Holst (http://www.good-music-guide.com/community/index.php/topic,431.msg7936.html#msg7936)" thread if you ever find yourself with a hankerin' for chatting about some, er, non-Planets Holst.

...but it all comes down to how much you have time and energy. Every minute I spend on Holst is away from other composers.

Fair enough.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Mirror Image on January 07, 2015, 08:31:13 AM
Not really. The Naxos disc I have of The Planets contains The Mystic Trumpeter, Op. 18 as a filler. In a way I am curious about Holst's other works, but it all comes down to how much you have time and energy. Every minute I spend on Holst is away from other composers.

So you don't think Holst is worth exploring, 71 dB? Is The Mystic Trumpeter (a fine work IMHO) and The Planets the only works you've heard from Holst?
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: 71 dB on January 07, 2015, 10:20:41 AM
So you don't think Holst is worth exploring, 71 dB? Is The Mystic Trumpeter (a fine work IMHO) and The Planets the only works you've heard from Holst?

No, I don't mean that. I mean it's a lot of "work" to explore all worthy composers/works. I seem to have these works by Holst:

- The Planets
- The Mystic Trumpeter
- Dirge and Hymeneal*
- Two Motets*
- Five Partsong*
- A moonside Suite*
- Nunc dimittis**


*on CDs I have bought for Elgar's music.
** on a culled CD given to me.

I actually have more Holst than I realised.  0:) I have to say I haven't paid much attention to those marked with * and **  :-\

For comparison, I don't know any works by Honegger, another composer whose surname begins with Ho...
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Daverz on January 07, 2015, 11:38:39 AM
No, I don't mean that. I mean it's a lot of "work" to explore all worthy composers/works. I seem to have these works by Holst:

- The Planets

My favorite non-Planets Holst is Beni Mori.  This is on the essential CD Boult Conducts Holst on Lyrita.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Mirror Image on January 07, 2015, 11:44:50 AM
No, I don't mean that. I mean it's a lot of "work" to explore all worthy composers/works. I seem to have these works by Holst:

- The Planets
- The Mystic Trumpeter
- Dirge and Hymeneal*
- Two Motets*
- Five Partsong*
- A moonside Suite*
- Nunc dimittis**


*on CDs I have bought for Elgar's music.
** on a culled CD given to me.

I actually have more Holst than I realised.  0:) I have to say I haven't paid much attention to those marked with * and **  :-\

For comparison, I don't know any works by Honegger, another composer whose surname begins with Ho...

I don't look at music as 'work' or a 'chore.' You either want to explore a composer or you don't. You either have the desire or you simply do not. There's a lot of music and so little time, but, at the end of the day, we choose what we want to listen to. Honegger isn't going to come to you and request you listen to his music. ;)
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: 71 dB on January 07, 2015, 12:09:38 PM
My favorite non-Planets Holst is Beni Mori.  This is on the essential CD Boult Conducts Holst on Lyrita.
Okay, thanks. I'll register this piece of infomation for the future.  ;)
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: vandermolen on January 07, 2015, 12:40:30 PM
I don't look at music as 'work' or a 'chore.' You either want to explore a composer or you don't. You either have the desire or you simply do not. There's a lot of music and so little time, but, at the end of the day, we choose what we want to listen to. Honegger isn't going to come to you and request you listen to his music. ;)

Interesting point about Honegger ( one of my favourite composers). As the originator of the 'Non- Planets Holst' thread I agree that Beni Mora is a fine work but also put in a word for The a Cloud a messenger, which has some terrific proto-minimalist sections and for a The Perfect Fool ballet music, with its wonderfully poetic and atmospheric central section.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Daverz on January 07, 2015, 12:44:22 PM
Okay, thanks. I'll register this piece of infomation for the future.  ;)

Amazon link:



Fabulous sonics, too.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: vandermolen on January 07, 2015, 12:54:25 PM
Amazon link:



Fabulous sonics, too.

That's a great CD.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: 71 dB on January 07, 2015, 01:15:36 PM
Amazon link:



Fabulous sonics, too.
Fabulous sonics maybe, but the cover art is ugly. Boult is sniffing his own name. Word "conducts" looks ridiculous. The colours are hidious, Holst must be sick since he is so green/yellow. Who designs these?  ::)

Thanks, I already found the CD myself on Amazon (on my Wishlist)
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Sergeant Rock on January 07, 2015, 01:18:56 PM
Fabulous sonics maybe, but the cover art is ugly. Boult is sniffing his own name. Word "conducts" looks ridiculous. The colours are hidious, Holst must be sick since he is so green/yellow. Who designs these?  ::)

You're right, dB...this belongs in the Worst Cover thread  ;D

Sarge
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Mirror Image on January 07, 2015, 01:49:18 PM
Interesting point about Honegger ( one of my favourite composers). As the originator of the 'Non- Planets Holst' thread I agree that Beni Mora is a fine work but also put in a word for The a Cloud a messenger, which has some terrific proto-minimalist sections and for a The Perfect Fool ballet music, with its wonderfully poetic and atmospheric central section.

All of those are fine works, Jeffrey. I would add Japanese Suite (a guilty pleasure of mine), The Golden Goose, Egdon Heath, and Hammersmith as other favorites.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: vandermolen on January 07, 2015, 01:59:50 PM
All of those are fine works, Jeffrey. I would add Japanese Suite (a guilty pleasure of mine), The Golden Goose, Egdon Heath, and Hammersmith as other favorites.

The first two I hardly know so must listen again. Egdon Heath and Hammersmith are top rate Holst.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Mirror Image on January 07, 2015, 03:56:21 PM
Getting back to The Planets, today I ripped a few of my dad's recordings (he owns 40+) of random choosing to my iPod and they are the following:

Boult/LPO - EMI
A. Davis/BBC SO - Warner Classics
A. Davis/BBC Philharmonic - Chandos
Handley/Royal PO
HvK/Vienna PO

I'm definitely going to be giving these a listen over the next couple of days.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Robert on January 07, 2015, 04:03:43 PM
My Favorite Planets

MacKerras, Monteux, Steinberg....
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Mirror Image on January 07, 2015, 06:26:31 PM
My Favorite Planets

MacKerras, Monteux, Steinberg....

I really love Mackerras and I've come to enjoy Steinberg, but I have not heard Monteux (yet). I'm sure it's good. He's such an excellent conductor.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Mirror Image on January 07, 2015, 06:30:48 PM
Re-listened to Boult's Planets with the LPO on EMI and it is magnificent! I'm not sure what it is about this performance that's magical to me, but Boult is in complete control of the orchestra. He favors slower tempi in Mars, which makes it even more menacing IMHO and also in Jupiter, which gave me the chance to hear all those quicksilver string passages in the beginning of the movement with great clarity. Anyway, this is really a great performance and could it be I'm starting to come around to Boult? It's very possible! 8)
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Mirror Image on January 07, 2015, 07:56:06 PM
Listened to Handley's Planets also tonight and I'm quite taken with it. There aren't any bizarre eccentricities, although sometimes those can be ear-opening, and I liked the consistency that Handley brought to the performance. It seems he treated every movement, or 'planet' in this case ;), with great care and the Royal Philharmonic certainly sounds wonderful. In fact, they sound better than I remember them. This could be a close contender for one of the best on record, especially in its' straightforward, even-tempered approach, although his Mars did sound quite ferocious.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on January 07, 2015, 11:17:32 PM
Getting back to The Planets, today I ripped a few of my dad's recordings (he owns 40+) of random choosing to my iPod and they are the following:

Boult/LPO - EMI
A. Davis/BBC SO - Warner Classics
A. Davis/BBC Philharmonic - Chandos
Handley/Royal PO
HvK/Vienna PO

I'm definitely going to be giving these a listen over the next couple of days.

The optimist in me thought you said: "I'm definitely going to be giving these to Peter over the next couple of days..."
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on January 08, 2015, 12:02:44 AM
(http://images.amazon.com/images/P/B000027QWB.01.L.jpg)

Fabulous sonics maybe, but the cover art is ugly. Boult is sniffing his own name. Word "conducts" looks ridiculous. The colours are hidious, Holst must be sick since he is so green/yellow. Who designs these?  ::)

I don't know who designs them, but that cover has been taken care of (http://www.good-music-guide.com/community/index.php?topic=239.msg859581#msg859581).
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Mirror Image on January 08, 2015, 11:07:24 AM
The optimist in me thought you said: "I'm definitely going to be giving these to Peter over the next couple of days..."

 :P
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: jfdrex on January 08, 2015, 11:57:07 AM
Fabulous sonics maybe, but the cover art is ugly. Boult is sniffing his own name. Word "conducts" looks ridiculous. The colours are hidious, Holst must be sick since he is so green/yellow. Who designs these?  ::)

We can only wonder what Sir Adrian thought of the cover of the Westminster Gold LP release of his recording of The Planets with the Vienna State Opera Orchestra. :D

(http://www.kimbawlion.com/westminstergold/WGS-8126a.jpg)

I was about 16 years old when I first saw this.  I know what I thought! ;)  8) :-[ :laugh:
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: 71 dB on January 08, 2015, 03:46:22 PM
We can only wonder what Sir Adrian thought of the cover of the Westminster Gold LP release of his recording of The Planets with the Vienna State Opera Orchestra. :D

(http://www.kimbawlion.com/westminstergold/WGS-8126a.jpg)

Yeah, that cover is really really really really... ...really really BAD!l  :-\   ???  :o
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: aukhawk on January 09, 2015, 02:06:43 AM
James Judd / RPO was a highly regarded Planets when it was first released - don't think I've seen it mentioned in this thread? 
There's also Tomita of course ...
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on January 09, 2015, 03:04:22 AM
James Judd / RPO was a highly regarded Planets when it was first released - don't think I've seen it mentioned in this thread?

I'll try to find that one. Thanks for mentioning it.

There's also Tomita of course ...

Er, I might give that one a miss.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: alkan on January 09, 2015, 06:46:31 AM
Re-listened to Boult's Planets with the LPO on EMI and it is magnificent! I'm not sure what it is about this performance that's magical to me, but Boult is in complete control of the orchestra. He favors slower tempi in Mars, which makes it even more menacing IMHO and also in Jupiter, which gave me the chance to hear all those quicksilver string passages in the beginning of the movement with great clarity. Anyway, this is really a great performance and could it be I'm starting to come around to Boult? It's very possible! 8)

I fully agree with you about Mars.     It is quite inexorable.    The power comes from the dynamic contrasts  and the remorseless build up of tension as the climaxes are approached.  It's like a slowly advancing steamroller.       Bernstein sounds positively hysterical by contrast, and thus loses all menace ...

This recording is my favourite.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on January 09, 2015, 06:55:44 AM
Of course, it is possible to be quick and clean.  But no need in any event to sacrifice accuracy for the cheap thrill of velocity.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on January 09, 2015, 07:00:40 AM
[...] Bernstein sounds positively hysterical by contrast, and thus loses all menace.

You've got me curious, though.  Do you mean the 30.xi.1971 NY Phil performance, or another?  Thanks!
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Ken B on January 09, 2015, 07:07:16 AM
I fully agree with you about Mars.     It is quite inexorable.    The power comes from the dynamic contrasts  and the remorseless build up of tension as the climaxes are approached.  It's like a slowly advancing steamroller.       Bernstein sounds positively hysterical by contrast, and thus loses all menace ...

This recording is my favourite.

I like the steamroller image, and will try not to think of Austin Powers.  ;)  But yes, Mars as he comes should have time to look around, to see where you are hiding, as he advances. He isn't anger personified, but implacability.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on January 09, 2015, 07:14:55 AM
I still see room to make a case for listening to Bernstein on his own merits, and not as a contrast to Boult  0:)
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on January 09, 2015, 07:17:07 AM
Ken, you have the concertos &c. box:  What's your read on Lenny there?

(Disclosure:  This discussion pushed me to pull the trigger at last on that box.  No, I've not yet done with — nor really properly plunged into — the symphonies box, yet ....)
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Ken B on January 09, 2015, 07:39:52 AM
Ken, you have the concertos &c. box:  What's your read on Lenny there?

(Disclosure:  This discussion pushed me to pull the trigger at last on that box.  No, I've not yet done with — nor really properly plunged into — the symphonies box, yet ....)

Have not heard it yet. I will listen this weekend.
It's a box worth having ...
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: alkan on January 09, 2015, 01:14:44 PM
You've got me curious, though.  Do you mean the 30.xi.1971 NY Phil performance, or another?  Thanks!
Hi Karl,

It's with the NY Phil, but I'm not sure about the date.

To my ears, Boult's Mars really sounds like the Bringer of War.
Bernstein's Mars sounds more like the Bringer of Star Wars.

I'm not anti-Bernstein  (his Mahler 6 is my favourite and one of the most powerful recordings ever made), but I do have trouble with his Mars Attacks .....
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: vandermolen on January 10, 2015, 12:36:17 PM
I really like Sargent's two recordings of The Planets. The CFP BBC SO version is a classic one but sadly only available at an absurd price unless you opt for a download. There is, however, also a very good live performance on BBC Radio Classics which I just picked up for about 20p on Amazon. There is a fair amount of coughing but the performance is very exciting. Also for a few pence I have just ordered the James Loughran (of Havergal Brian fame) recording which is highly regarded.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Daverz on January 10, 2015, 01:05:56 PM
I really like Sargent's two recordings of The Planets. The CFP BBC SO version is a classic one but sadly only available at an absurd price unless you opt for a download. There is, however, also a very good live performance on BBC Radio Classics which I just picked up for about 20p on Amazon. There is a fair amount of coughing but the performance is very exciting. Also for a few pence I have just ordered the James Loughran (of Havergal Brian fame) recording which is highly regarded.

There was also a recording with the LSO on Decca:

(http://i.ebayimg.com/00/s/MTAyNFg5Njc=/$(KGrHqZ,!roE+mh2UUrqBQ!!J,Ipog~~60_12.JPG)


Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: vandermolen on January 10, 2015, 02:18:44 PM
There was also a recording with the LSO on Decca:

(http://i.ebayimg.com/00/s/MTAyNFg5Njc=/$(KGrHqZ,!roE+mh2UUrqBQ!!J,Ipog~~60_12.JPG)

Thanks so much. I remember that LP and the fine old Decca Eclipse LP label with much affection. Sargent must have recorded The Planets more times that I realised.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on January 10, 2015, 04:22:03 PM
Anyway, here's a fun idea, if you could indulge us, what are your top 5 favorite performances of The Planets or have you not reached the point where you could give a list of favorites?

I'm awfully pleased (or foolhardy) to say that my list of Planets recommendations is fully underway. And I'm not going for a top 5 – I'm going for a top everything.

I'm listening to every version I can find, and writing about 'em. When I've finished, I'll be ranking them.

I have 28 versions at the moment, and have commented on 21 of them so far.

Are there any versions you want me to hear and talk about? I want to be as comprehensive as possible. (I also want to be more succinct in what I've been writing about each recording, but that ain't gonna happen.)
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Mirror Image on January 10, 2015, 08:51:25 PM
I'm awfully pleased (or foolhardy) to say that my list of Planets recommendations is fully underway. And I'm not going for a top 5 – I'm going for a top everything.

I'm listening to every version I can find, and writing about 'em. When I've finished, I'll be ranking them.

I have 28 versions at the moment, and have commented on 21 of them so far.

Are there any versions you want me to hear and talk about? I want to be as comprehensive as possible. (I also want to be more succinct in what I've been writing about each recording, but that ain't gonna happen.)

Have you listened to Mehta, Maazel, or Levine yet?
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on January 10, 2015, 10:11:54 PM
Have you listened to Mehta, Maazel, or Levine yet?

Yep. Nope. Yep.

I've heard the Mehta twice so far, but haven't written about it.

I haven't heard the Maazel, but I have heard that it's absolutely dreadful. (Because of that, I'm really looking forward to hearing it. How bad can it be?)

I've heard the Levine once, and have written about it. But I'll listen to it again and write a bit more.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: vandermolen on January 11, 2015, 12:51:24 AM
Top 5 not in order:

Steinberg
Boult (1945 recording and last EMI version - remember that Boult conducted the first ever performance of The Planets)
Sargent (BBC CFP version or LSO Decca)
Bernard Herrmann
Bernstein (Sony)

Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Sergeant Rock on January 11, 2015, 08:34:35 AM
I haven't heard the Maazel, but I have heard that it's absolutely dreadful. (Because of that, I'm really looking forward to hearing it. How bad can it be?)

Some of us don't think it bad at all...different, yeah, but not bad. Definitely has a unique sound:

...one of my own favorite versions of this piece is the one with Maazel and the Orchestre National de France, be the interpretation "right" or "wrong", I don't know, I just love the sound of the French woodwind, the slender but luminously sonorous brass, and the silky strings, in general and in this work in particular, and it appears to me that this sound comes fairly close to what Holst may have had in mind.

In any case, looking forward to your reviews.

Sarge
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: relm1 on January 11, 2015, 09:26:34 AM
To me, the best performance is a combo of Dutoit/Montreal, Mehta/NYPhil, and Levine/Chicago:
Mars: First half is Levine/Chicago.  Second half is definitely Dutoit by a large margine.  The first half of Mars with Dutoit has alot of distracting mistakes.
Venus: Dutoit
Mercury: Levine
Jupiter: Levine or Dutoit
Saturn: Mehta/NYPhil
Uranus: Levine or Dutoit
Neptune: Dutoit
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: vandermolen on January 12, 2015, 04:37:40 PM
Latest manifestation of the fine old Steinberg recording. Very inexpensive too on Amazon UK:

Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on January 15, 2015, 02:17:08 PM
Latest manifestation of the fine old Steinberg recording. Very inexpensive too on Amazon UK:



I'm not a huge fan of Steinberg's Planets, but the completist in me is whispering in my ear: "Buy, buy, buy!"

I think I'll buy Steinberg's Planets.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Daverz on January 15, 2015, 02:54:55 PM
I'm not a huge fan of Steinberg's Planets, but the completist in me is whispering in my ear: "Buy, buy, buy!"

I think I'll buy Steinberg's Planets.

But the Originals issue also has Steinberg's Also Sprach.

Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: vandermolen on January 15, 2015, 02:56:46 PM
I'm not a huge fan of Steinberg's Planets, but the completist in me is whispering in my ear: "Buy, buy, buy!"

I think I'll buy Steinberg's Planets.

Yes, you have no choice.  >:D
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Moonfish on January 15, 2015, 06:11:25 PM
I really like Sargent's two recordings of The Planets. The CFP BBC SO version is a classic one but sadly only available at an absurd price unless you opt for a download. There is, however, also a very good live performance on BBC Radio Classics which I just picked up for about 20p on Amazon. There is a fair amount of coughing but the performance is very exciting. Also for a few pence I have just ordered the James Loughran (of Havergal Brian fame) recording which is highly regarded.

I think the BBC SO version can be found in the Sargent Icon box.

Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: vandermolen on January 17, 2015, 10:53:01 AM
I think the BBC SO version can be found in the Sargent Icon box.



Yes, I have that box set, which is great and also contains Sargent's very much underrated recording of Walton's First Symphony, which I prefer to the eulogised Previn RCA recording.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Moonfish on January 17, 2015, 12:20:16 PM
Yes, I have that box set, which is great and also contains Sargent's very much underrated recording of Walton's First Symphony, which I prefer to the eulogised Previn RCA recording.

That box made me appreciate Sargent's legacy for the first time. I still need to listen to the Walton 1. Thanks for recommending it, Vandermolen!
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: vandermolen on January 17, 2015, 02:25:39 PM
That box made me appreciate Sargent's legacy for the first time. I still need to listen to the Walton 1. Thanks for recommending it, Vandermolen!

My pleasure. Hope you enjoy the Walton. Also the box contains interesting works such as Rubbra's Piano Concerto, a fine performance of Holst's Beni Mora and in my opinion the best version of Sibelius's 5th Symphony.

PS: this is really good as well. Picked it up for 1p on Amazon UK + p and p. Mars sounds closer to Vaughan Williams's 6th symphony (second movement) than I had ever noticed before. Michael Kennedy thinks that the VW work was a tribute to his long departed friend:
PPS can't get picture to appear. It is the recording by James Loughran and the Halle Orchestra on CFP.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on January 20, 2015, 04:10:20 PM
... Anyway, here's a fun idea, if you could indulge us, what are your top 5 favorite performances of The Planets or have you not reached the point where you could give a list of favorites?

Progress Report:

I'm still working on my list of recommended Planets recordings.

The list was originally going to be a Top 20 Planets, but it became a Top 40 Planets. Unfortunately, I kept listening to more Planets, and before I knew it, I had cracked the magic 50 mark. I've now ranked (and written reviews for) 51 recordings.

Now all bets are off. I'm going for every Planets I can lay my ears on.

I'm almost ready to publish the list, but there are still a few I haven't heard, namely:


I've bought the Sargent, Loughran, and Pople CDs, but they haven't arrived in the mail yet. (I live in Australia, and shipping can take a few weeks.)

If anyone can help me out with any of those, I'd be mighty grateful. And I'll be one step closer to getting this list finished.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Mirror Image on January 20, 2015, 07:41:04 PM
Very nice, Peter. Glad to hear everything is going well in your exploration of our solar system. 8)
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on January 20, 2015, 07:59:37 PM
Very nice, Peter. Glad to hear everything is going well in your exploration of our solar system. 8)

Thanks.

I'm hoping to have it published within a couple of weeks. I'm still waiting for a few Planets CDs to arrive.

Now, with regards to publishing, I'm in a bit of a quandary as to how to do it. The entire list, with comments on each recording, is enormous. I was thinking of doing one of three things:

1. Posting everything in this thread, with a separate post for each list item.

2. Creating a new thread, with a separate post for each item.

3. Creating a blog, with a separate post for each item.

I'm afraid that with option 1, the posts would get lost amongst all the other posts.

And with option 2, I'd want to post the entire list before inviting people to comment on the posts, but I don't think I can control that (i.e., stop people posting before the list is complete).

I'm leaning towards option 3, but that would move the list from here, where it all began.

Quandary!
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: kishnevi on January 20, 2015, 08:14:57 PM
Whoever starts a thread can lock and then unlock.  (Moderators can do that for all threads.). So you can start a new thread, and keep locking it until you complete the list.  Just start off with an explanation why it is initially read only.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Mirror Image on January 20, 2015, 08:15:52 PM
Yes, you're in a bit of a quandary indeed, Peter. What I would do is create a blog. This way you don't have to worry about creating a new thread or your posts in this thread getting buried. You can always provide a link to your blog in this thread and when that link gets buried, you can always hyperlink it again. This would be a lot better than making a post for each recording you reviewed.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Mirror Image on January 20, 2015, 08:19:37 PM
Another possible suggestion would be to also include the link to your blog in your signature. That way every post you make includes that hyperlink.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on January 20, 2015, 08:30:29 PM
Whoever starts a thread can lock and then unlock.  (Moderators can do that for all threads.). So you can start a new thread, and keep locking it until you complete the list.  Just start off with an explanation why it is initially read only.

I like that idea.

Yes, you're in a bit of a quandary indeed, Peter. What I would do is create a blog. This way you don't have to worry about creating a new thread or your posts in this thread getting buried. You can always provide a link to your blog in this thread and when that link gets buried, you can always hyperlink it again. This would be a lot better than making a post for each recording you reviewed.

I like that idea as well.

Another possible suggestion would be to also include the link to your blog in your signature. That way every post you make includes that hyperlink.

I think that's a great idea.

But the sentimentalist in me wants to keep it here. (Well, on this forum at least.) I might go with JS's suggestion.

What I want to do is start with the lowest number in the list (it's currently 52 – and it's a stinker), and with each post it'll be a countdown to number one.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Mirror Image on January 20, 2015, 08:35:12 PM
I like that idea.

I like that idea as well.

I think that's a great idea.

But the sentimentalist in me wants to keep it here. (Well, on this forum at least.) I might go with JS's suggestion.

What I want to do is start with the lowest number in the list (it's currently 52 – and it's a stinker), and with each post it'll be a countdown to number one.

Whew...get ready for a lot of buried posts! ;) ;D
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: mc ukrneal on January 20, 2015, 08:52:04 PM
There is another way if you want to post it here. Start a thread - but then post 50-60 times to reserve those slots for future use. Just say 'Reserved for future use' or something like that. Then, people can post after the last one you reserve. You can then edit each one as you go. But better too many - you can't add more, but you can delete.

Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Mirror Image on January 20, 2015, 08:59:11 PM
There is another way if you want to post it here. Start a thread - but then post 50-60 times to reserve those slots for future use. Just say 'Reserved for future use' or something like that. Then, people can post after the last one you reserve. You can then edit each one as you go. But better too many - you can't add more, but you can delete.

But creating a new thread is exactly what Peter doesn't want to do or so he mentioned previously.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on January 20, 2015, 09:07:03 PM
Whew...get ready for a lot of buried posts! ;) ;D

On second thoughts, I might make a blog.

Grrr.

Decisions, decisions!

By the way, I'm now listening to disc number 53: Yan Pascal Tortelier conducting the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra.

(http://i962.photobucket.com/albums/ae102/peterpowerpop/Holst-ThePlanetsTortelier.jpg) (http://www.amazon.com/Holst-The-Planets-BBC-Philharmonic/dp/B000IJJOI2)
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on January 20, 2015, 09:13:37 PM
There is another way if you want to post it here. Start a thread - but then post 50-60 times to reserve those slots for future use. Just say 'Reserved for future use' or something like that. Then, people can post after the last one you reserve. You can then edit each one as you go. But better too many - you can't add more, but you can delete.

Thanks for the suggestion, mc ukrneal. At first I thought that would be too messy (well, too messy for me), but I reckon I can manage that.

But creating a new thread is exactly what Peter doesn't want to do or so he mentioned previously.

I don't mind creating a new thread. I wasn't keen there for a while, but I've changed my mind.

Now I'm leaning towards creating a new thread. (I'm doing a lot of leaning today.)
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: mc ukrneal on January 21, 2015, 05:52:32 AM
Thanks for the suggestion, mc ukrneal. At first I thought that would be too messy (well, too messy for me), but I reckon I can manage that.

I don't mind creating a new thread. I wasn't keen there for a while, but I've changed my mind.

Now I'm leaning towards creating a new thread. (I'm doing a lot of leaning today.)
There are advantages to having your own blog. As long as you know how to manage the link and such, I think the blog the best alternative. If you don't (or are not sure you would have the time to maintain everything) a thread might be better.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on January 21, 2015, 02:04:14 PM
There are advantages to having your own blog. As long as you know how to manage the link and such, I think the blog the best alternative. If you don't (or are not sure you would have the time to maintain everything) a thread might be better.

I used to have a music blog (it focused on power pop (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Power_pop)). It was hosted by Blogger (http://www.blogger.com/), but it was deleted after I had received one too many copyright infringement notices (pop music record companies can be very touchy about people playing their music). The blog is now archived over at Wordpress (https://peterspowerpop.wordpress.com/).

I think I'm going to go with a new thread on the forum. The main reason is the way the list countdown will be handled. With a blog, every time you add a post, the latest one is shown at the top of the blog. For me, that would result in the highest number always being the first post you see, so when I've finished the list the first post you see in the blog will be my number one pick. I don't want that. I want people to read down the list, from the last to the first.

With a thread on this forum, it's the opposite. The first thing I post (which will be the lowest numbered item in the list) is the first thing you see, and as I progress it'll count down (count up?) to number one.

In other words:

Forum thread: 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5... (what I want)

Blog: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5... (not what I want)
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: vandermolen on January 21, 2015, 03:13:06 PM
Progress Report:

I'm still working on my list of recommended Planets recording.


I'm almost ready to publish the list, but there are still a few I haven't heard, namely:

  • Sir Malcolm Sargent (London Symphony Orchestra, 1954)
  • Bernard Haitink (London Philharmonic Orchestra, 1971)
  • James Loughran (Hallé Orchestra, 1975)
  • Ross Pople (London Festival Orchestra, 1992)
  • Adrian Leaper (Orquesta Filarmónica de Gran Canaria, 1995)



But these are the BEST versions, especially Sargent and Loughran! >:D
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on January 21, 2015, 04:07:41 PM
But these are the BEST versions, especially Sargent and Loughran! >:D

The only Sargent recording of The Planets I've heard (so far) is the 1958 stereo recording with the BBC Symphony Orchestra:

https://play.spotify.com/album/76YxvmXqIZxnQeEqj0ZI3V (https://play.spotify.com/album/76YxvmXqIZxnQeEqj0ZI3V)

That's on the list.

As far as I'm aware, Sargent recorded only one other version of Them Thar Planets, a 1954 mono recording with The London Symphony Orchestra:

(http://i962.photobucket.com/albums/ae102/peterpowerpop/Holst-ThePlanetsSargent1954.jpg)

I bought that yesterday.

I'm itching to hear the Loughran version (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Planets-Gustav-Holst/dp/B000027F5L). I bought the CD on eBay two weeks ago. It's coming from Guernsey, so it might take another week to get here in Australia (depending on whether it was sent by plane or boat). I've heard so many good things about it that I really, really, really, really want to hear it.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: André on January 21, 2015, 04:55:30 PM
I look forward to read your comments PPP !!

I myself have a dozen versions on my shelves and can't get enough !
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on January 27, 2015, 04:27:04 PM
Well, I've decided I'm going to go with a blog for the list of recommended Planets.

I'm using Wordpress, and what decided it for me was the fact that I can embed Spotify playlists (something i can't do here) so that readers can actually hear what I'm talking about.

I've created the blog, and added a couple of example posts for y'all:

https://petersplanets.wordpress.com/ (https://petersplanets.wordpress.com/)

The entries will be numbered once I've finalised the list. (It's almost there. I have about three or four more recordings to listen to.)

Feedback is entirely welcome.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Mirror Image on January 27, 2015, 04:36:02 PM
Awesome, Peter. I'm glad you went with a blog. I've just finished your review of Norrington's Planets. Good read. Keep up the good work.

(I haven't read the Rozhdestvensky review yet)
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on January 27, 2015, 04:38:40 PM
Just to show that not all of my comments are unfeasibly long, I've added a shorter one:

https://petersplanets.wordpress.com/ (https://petersplanets.wordpress.com/)
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on January 27, 2015, 04:41:35 PM
Awesome, Peter. I'm glad you went with a blog. I've just finished your review of Norrington's Planets. Good read. ...

Thanks.

... Keep up the good work.

Can do.

(I haven't read the Rozhdestvensky review yet)

Beware: That's probably the longest one I've written. You're under no obligation whatsoever to read all of it.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on January 27, 2015, 05:19:29 PM
As far as I can tell, I have only four more Planets to hear and I'll be done. This is all I'm missing:


(*Bought, but not yet arrived chez Peter.)
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Moonfish on January 27, 2015, 11:46:21 PM
Very interesting PPP! I had a blast reading (while listening) your comments about Norrington's Planets!
You certainly chopped and sliced Mars into tiny cubes...   :D
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on January 28, 2015, 02:14:24 AM
There is another way if you want to post it here. Start a thread - but then post 50-60 times to reserve those slots for future use. Just say 'Reserved for future use' or something like that. Then, people can post after the last one you reserve. You can then edit each one as you go. But better too many - you can't add more, but you can delete.

Actually, that's a great idea for the blog (i.e., the thing I ended up going with for the list). I'll create a swag of empty posts, number them sequentially, and fill them all in when I've finalised the list. Easy peasy.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on January 28, 2015, 04:44:48 AM
  • Seiji Ozawa (Boston Symphony Orchestra, 1979)

I've not heard this one, but the year is encouraging.  Seiji was still on his game then.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on January 28, 2015, 03:57:58 PM
Very interesting PPP! I had a blast reading (while listening) your comments about Norrington's Planets!

Much obliged, Moony.

You certainly chopped and sliced Mars into tiny cubes...   :D

With my comments I tried to be as brief and succinct as possible. I soon discovered that I'm hopeless at such slippery concepts as "brief" and "succinct". I got carried away far too often, and ended up writing a whole heap o' stuff that I'd call "inconsequential".

(And I'll try not to not use quotation marks for words and phrases any more. Well, not any more than I "have to".)
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on January 28, 2015, 04:02:47 PM
Seiji Ozawa (Boston Symphony Orchestra, 1979)

I've not heard this one, but the year is encouraging.  Seiji was still on his game then.

Going off-topic for a moment, Seiji's Romeo and Juliet (http://www.amazon.com/Romeo-Juliet-S-Prokofiev/dp/B000001G8Z) (from 1987) is my favourite version.

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/511931d6pLL.jpg) (http://www.amazon.com/Romeo-Juliet-S-Prokofiev/dp/B000001G8Z)
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: relm1 on January 29, 2015, 01:53:57 AM
Peter, I liked reading your play-by-play review of the  Norrington planets.  I felt like you were watching a football game at play. You should also add my edit to your exhaustive list. I would be curious to hear what you think of it.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Christo on January 29, 2015, 07:36:12 AM
Great job! Looking forward to your final verdict with eager anticipation. Me, too, have dozens of Planets on the shelf - hope to be able to do away with many of them in order to get room for, errr, other cd's.  :-[
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on January 29, 2015, 02:50:27 PM
Great job! Looking forward to your final verdict with eager anticipation. Me, too, have dozens of Planets on the shelf - hope to be able to do away with many of them ...

Feel free to send any of them my way. All CD donations* gratefully received.

... in order to get room for, errr, other cd's.  :-[

I know where you're coming from.


(*Just to avoid accusations of freeloading, I'd also be happy to buy** if you wanted to sell.)

(**But free is much better.)
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on January 29, 2015, 03:30:04 PM
Peter, I liked reading your play-by-play review of the  Norrington planets. ...

Thanks.

... I felt like you were watching a football game at play.

Although it wasn't planned that way (my original idea was to simply offer short summaries of each version), I ended up jotting down comments as I listened to the music. I had a heap o' fun doing it that way (instead of the standard "listen to the whole thing and then make portentous pronouncements" method), because it felt more informal and far less authoritative. One thing I didn't want to do was to make it appear that whatever I said was the final word in recommendations. It's simply what I thought of the music.

With me nattering on about the music as it was playing, I wanted to give you the sense that we were listening to the music together*, and I was simply letting you know what I thought of it.

In other words, I took on the role of the chatty listener sitting next to you as you try to listen. (You know the type... Me: "Did you hear the oboist there? Wow!" You: "Yes I did. Shut up.")

You should also add my edit to your exhaustive list. I would be curious to hear what you think of it.

Er, I don't quite know what you mean by "add my edit". What do you mean by that? Did you want to edit something? Or did something in that sentence fall prey to Autocorrect (http://www.damnyouautocorrect.com/)?


(*Spotify helps enormously there, offering playlists for a lot of the Planets recordings (https://play.spotify.com/search/holst%20planets%3Aalbums).)
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on January 29, 2015, 03:47:27 PM
Seiji Ozawa (Boston Symphony Orchestra, 1979)

I've not heard this one, but the year is encouraging.  Seiji was still on his game then.

I only found out about the Ozawa recording recently (i.e., last week, when I was looking for more Planets recordings).

There's scant information about it on the Internets, although I did find a Spanish blog post that compared 31 versions of The Planets (http://flvargasmachuca.blogspot.com.au/2012/09/los-planetas-de-holst-discografia.html) that included Seiji's version.

This is the translated (by Google) section on Seiji's effort:

----------------------------------------------------------------------------

(http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-M7vHiFBlSdM/UEHr-zElEuI/AAAAAAAAIBo/BkaPHssifGQ/s320/Holst+Planets+Ozawa.jpg)

14. Ozawa / Boston Symphony Orchestra (Philips-Newton, 1979) Using his enormous technical, very particularly its developed sense of color and his usual elegance, oriental teacher gives a lesson in plasticity in the orchestral treatment - seriously impressive string, building a fabulously planned and executed beautifully sounded alien to any excess and very focused on the expressive version. A higher dose of imagination, claw and commitment needed to reach the exceptional. A highlight in any case the slow introduction of Saturn and a very slow and mysterious Neptune. By contrast, the central melody paladeadísima "elgariana" Jupiter is like with Herrmann somewhat swollen, while the solo violin shows a sound in excess fragile Venus and Mercury. (8)

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: relm1 on January 29, 2015, 04:38:30 PM
Thanks.

Although it wasn't planned that way (my original idea was to simply offer short summaries of each version), I ended up jotting down comments as I listened to the music. I had a heap o' fun doing it that way (instead of the standard "listen to the whole thing and then make portentous pronouncements" method), because it felt more informal and far less authoritative. One thing I didn't want to do was to make it appear that whatever I said was the final word in recommendations. It's simply what I thought of the music.

With me nattering on about the music as it was playing, I wanted to give you the sense that we were listening to the music together*, and I was simply letting you know what I thought of it.

In other words, I took on the role of the chatty listener sitting next to you as you try to listen. (You know the type... Me: "Did you hear the oboist there? Wow!" You: "Yes I did. Shut up.")

Er, I don't quite know what you mean by "add my edit". What do you mean by that? Did you want to edit something? Or did something in that sentence fall prey to Autocorrect (http://www.damnyouautocorrect.com/)?


(*Spotify helps enormously there, offering playlists for a lot of the Planets recordings (https://play.spotify.com/search/holst%20planets%3Aalbums).)

With my edit, what I mean is that I edited a few versions to create a sort of desert island edition.  For example, this Mars is mostly Dutoit/Montreal but a few places that had errors, I edited a different though comparable version.  Saturn I use my favorite version - Mehta.  Neptune I slowed the tempo down and added some more low end to the strings (just a tough).  So this is a unique edition that mixes several versions.  Part of what qualifies me to do this is I have performed the work in its entirety (bass trombone) and am a professional composer so these edits are pro level edits of someone very closely acquainted with the music inside and out.  But these are personal interpretive ideas so someone like you might not agree and I'm curious about that.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on January 29, 2015, 05:05:54 PM
With my edit, what I mean is that I edited a few versions to create a sort of desert island edition. For example, this Mars is mostly Dutoit/Montreal but a few places that had errors, I edited a different though comparable version.  Saturn I use my favorite version - Mehta.  Neptune I slowed the tempo down and added some more low end to the strings (just a tough).  So this is a unique edition that mixes several versions.  Part of what qualifies me to do this is I have performed the work in its entirety (bass trombone) and am a professional composer so these edits are pro level edits of someone very closely acquainted with the music inside and out.  But these are personal interpretive ideas so someone like you might not agree and I'm curious about that.

Thanks for clarifying, relm1.

Well, that's one way of listening to The Planets. It's not for me, I'm afraid. The thought of a Frankenstein version is, in my head anyway, fraught with a load of undesirable variables, and would make a frustrating and unsatisfying listening experience. There would be variables such as differing recording quality, hall acoustics, choice of tempo, volume levels etc. For example, I don't see how bits of Sir Neville Marriner's mellow version (https://play.spotify.com/album/62l92zKxjT1QQFJtwDgRc7) could co-exist with, say, William Steinberg's raw version (https://play.spotify.com/album/6DSxgP2fcEGj5OIHnHE01F), no matter how good they both are.

As for adding your dream version of The Planets to the list, I won't. I wanted to restrict the list to commercially-available CDs. And that list is plenty long enough as it is.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: relm1 on January 29, 2015, 05:14:19 PM
Thanks for clarifying, relm1.

Well, that's one way of listening to The Planets. It's not for me, I'm afraid. The thought of a Frankenstein version is, in my head anyway, fraught with a load of undesirable variables, and would make a frustrating and unsatisfying listening experience. There would be variables such as differing recording quality, hall acoustics, choice of tempo, volume levels etc. For example, I don't see how bits of Sir Neville Marriner's mellow version (https://play.spotify.com/album/62l92zKxjT1QQFJtwDgRc7) could co-exist with, say, William Steinberg's raw version (https://play.spotify.com/album/6DSxgP2fcEGj5OIHnHE01F), no matter how good they both are.

As for adding your dream version of The Planets to the list, I won't. I wanted to restrict the list to commercially-available CDs. And that list is plenty long enough as it is.

Valid points.  Cheers.  I will say it is interesting that Holst's work is so good that no single recording captures it perfectly.  It demands multiple versions to capture the soul of the work.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on January 29, 2015, 10:28:33 PM
I've added six more reviews to the still-in-draft-mode Recommend Planets list (https://petersplanets.wordpress.com) for your perusal:

Bernard Haitink, London Philharmonic Orchestra, 1970 (https://petersplanets.wordpress.com/2015/01/01/haitink-1970/)
Walter Susskind, St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, 1975 (https://petersplanets.wordpress.com/2015/01/01/susskind-1975/)
Vladimir Jurowski, London Philharmonic Orchestra, 2010 (https://petersplanets.wordpress.com/2015/01/01/jurowski-2010/)
Sir Charles Mackerras, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, 1989 (https://petersplanets.wordpress.com/2015/01/01/mackerras-1989/)
Geoffrey Simon, London Symphony Orchestra, 1987 (https://petersplanets.wordpress.com/2015/01/01/simon-1987/)
Sir Simon Rattle, Berliner Philharmoniker, 2006 (https://petersplanets.wordpress.com/2015/01/01/rattle-2006/)
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: amw on January 29, 2015, 10:46:26 PM
I've only got one Planets, feat. Simon Rattle and some asteroids. I've had it for yonks so have probably imprinted, but it would be interesting to see where it ranks.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on January 29, 2015, 11:18:02 PM
I've only got one Planets, feat. Simon Rattle and some asteroids. I've had it for yonks so have probably imprinted, but it would be interesting to see where it ranks.

Not terribly high.

I'll post that one shortly.

Update: Posted.

Sir Simon Rattle, Berliner Philharmoniker, 2006 (https://petersplanets.wordpress.com/2015/01/01/rattle-2006/)
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on January 30, 2015, 01:45:48 AM
I've only got one Planets, feat. Simon Rattle and some asteroids. I've had it for yonks so have probably imprinted, but it would be interesting to see where it ranks.

Not terribly high.

I'll post that one shortly.

Update: Posted.

Sir Simon Rattle, Berliner Philharmoniker, 2006 (https://petersplanets.wordpress.com/2015/01/30/xx-rattle-2006/)

However, I'm pleased to say that The Rattler's 1981 version (with the Philharmonia Orchestra) (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Holst-Simon-Rattle-Philharmonia-Orchestra/dp/B001KNLAUK) is rated higher. (Well, by me anyway.) I preferred its freshness. To me, the 2006 Berlin version is a big lumbering beast.

(http://cps-static.rovicorp.com/3/JPG_400/MI0000/955/MI0000955596.jpg) (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Holst-Simon-Rattle-Philharmonia-Orchestra/dp/B001KNLAUK)
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: jfdrex on January 30, 2015, 01:02:13 PM
I've added six more reviews to the still-in-draft-mode Recommend Planets list (https://petersplanets.wordpress.com) for your perusal:

Bernard Haitink, London Philharmonic Orchestra, 1970 (https://petersplanets.wordpress.com/2015/01/30/xx-haitink-1970/)
Walter Susskind, St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, 1975 (https://petersplanets.wordpress.com/2015/01/30/xx-susskind-1975/)
Vladimir Jurowski, London Philharmonic Orchestra, 2010 (https://petersplanets.wordpress.com/2015/01/30/xx-jurowski-2010/)
Sir Charles Mackerras, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, 1989 (https://petersplanets.wordpress.com/2015/01/30/xx-mackerras-1989/)
Geoffrey Simon, London Symphony Orchestra, 1987 (https://petersplanets.wordpress.com/2015/01/30/xx-simon-1987/)
Sir Simon Rattle, Berliner Philharmoniker, 2006 (https://petersplanets.wordpress.com/2015/01/30/xx-rattle-2006/)

Peter, thanks for reminding me of the Susskind/ St. Louis recording.  This was the very first recording (in its original incarnation, as a Vox LP) of The Planets I bought, in a time long ago and a galaxy far away. ;D  Not only did your review remind me of the existence of this recording, it also reminded me why I'd completely forgotten it. ;)
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on January 30, 2015, 02:03:04 PM
Walter Susskind, St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, 1975 (https://petersplanets.wordpress.com/2015/01/30/susskind-1975/)

Peter, thanks for reminding me of the Susskind/ St. Louis recording. ...

No problem.

... This was the very first recording (in its original incarnation, as a Vox LP) of The Planets I bought, in a time long ago and a galaxy far away. ;D  Not only did your review remind me of the existence of this recording, it also reminded me why I'd completely forgotten it. ;)

Believe it or not, I'm listening to Wally's Planets (http://www.amazon.com/Holst-The-Planets-Gustav/dp/B0002C4IJK) at this very moment. (Well, the very moment I'm typing these words.)

I wanted to hear it again to see if my opinion of it might have changed. (People rave about it (http://www.highfidelityreview.com/saint-louis-symphony-orchestra-susskind-holst-the-planets-an-sacd-review-by-mark-jordan.html), so I'm thinking to myself, "What did I miss?")

But no, it's as anodyne as it was the last time I heard it.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: RJR on February 05, 2015, 06:26:23 AM
ABC of Music, Imogen Holst.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on February 05, 2015, 01:58:58 PM
ABC of Music, Imogen Holst.

I'm afraid that comment was a little too cryptic for me, RJR. I had to search for "ABC of Music, Imogen Holst" to see what you were talking about. I found a book by Ms Holst called ABC of Music (http://www.amazon.com/ABC-Music-Oxford-Paperback-Reference/dp/0193171031):

(http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1347464600l/815882.jpg) (http://"http://www.amazon.com/ABC-Music-Oxford-Paperback-Reference/dp/0193171031")

Does it mention The Planets, or recordings of it?
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on February 06, 2015, 05:03:33 PM
Yowser, folks.

Progress Report on Peter's Recommended Planets (https://petersplanets.wordpress.com/): Just two more reviews and I reckon I'll be ready to publish the whole thing.

However...

The main reason for this post wasn't to toot my own horn about the blog (well, I suppose a bit of it was), but to ask for advice and/or suggestions.

I want people who read each review to be able to hear what I'm talking about. Spotify (https://play.spotify.com/browse) has been marvellous in this, having plenty of Planets available for me to embed in each post. Unfortunately, Spotify doesn't have every version I've reviewed. (Notable exceptions include Haitink (http://www.amazon.com/The-Planets-Gustav-Holst/dp/B00000E3MZ), Loughran (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Planets-Gustav-Holst/dp/B000027F5L), and Ozawa (http://www.amazon.com/Holst-New-England-Conservatory-Chorus/dp/B00442M116).) If you're going to be reading what I've typed, but don't have the music to hear so you can understand why I typed it (or even disagree with what I typed), I think it's going to be a boring read.

Can anybody suggest some way I can get people to hear the music?

I've thought about uploading each movement of each version to YouTube (https://www.youtube.com/), but that would: a) take way too long; and b) and possibly invoke the wrath of the copyright police.

I've also thought about Soundcloud (https://soundcloud.com/), but that's only for new musicians, not old CDs.

Help!
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: kishnevi on February 13, 2015, 05:32:56 PM
Found in the bargain bin at Barnes and Noble,  and much better than a $4.99 CD has a right to be.
http://www.amazon.com/Planets-G-Holst/dp/B00000299B/ref=sr_1_1_twi_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1423877417&sr=8-1&keywords=holst+planets++mardjani
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on February 13, 2015, 09:50:32 PM
Yowser, folks.

I'm still working on the soon-to-be-enormous blog of recommended Planets recordings.

The blog's still in draft* mode, but I've posted another review to give the impression that I'm being very active:

This time it's the highly regarded recording by William Steinberg and Boston Symphony Orchestra. Spoiler Alert: It's not highly regarded by me.

Peter's Recommended Planets: William Steinberg, Boston Symphony Orchestra, 1970 (https://petersplanets.wordpress.com/2015/01/01/steinberg-1970/)

(*I'm almost there. Two more recordings should do it. All I have to do is wait for them to arrive in the mail. In Australia. Across the ocean from where I bought the CDs. That I haven't heard yet.)
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on February 13, 2015, 10:40:47 PM
Found in the bargain bin at Barnes and Noble,  and much better than a $4.99 CD has a right to be.

http://www.amazon.com/Planets-G-Holst/dp/B00000299B

(http://a3.mzstatic.com/us/r30/Music/v4/63/e6/93/63e693e8-ebe9-d87d-28dd-6c6291a4c52e/cover326x326.jpeg)

I've just posted the review for the Mardjani, and for a related review (you'll see why when you read both):

Jahni Mardjani, Georgian Festival Orchestra, 2003 (https://petersplanets.wordpress.com/2015/01/01/mardjani-2003/)
Jansug Kakhidze, Tbilisi Symphony Orchestra, 2003 (https://petersplanets.wordpress.com/2015/01/01/kakhidze-2003/)
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Dax on February 14, 2015, 03:00:17 AM
?
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: kishnevi on February 14, 2015, 12:28:00 PM
(http://a3.mzstatic.com/us/r30/Music/v4/63/e6/93/63e693e8-ebe9-d87d-28dd-6c6291a4c52e/cover326x326.jpeg)

I've just posted the review for the Mardjani, and for a related review (you'll see why when you read both):

Jahni Mardjani, Georgian Festival Orchestra, 2003 (https://petersplanets.wordpress.com/2015/02/14/xx-mardjani-2003/)
Jansug Kakhidze, Tbilisi Symphony Orchestra, 2003 (https://petersplanets.wordpress.com/2015/02/14/xx-kakhidze-2003/)

So Sony plays those games?  The Mardjani CD has an orchestral last track, but it has been so long since I played another version of Planets I can not swear that it was Neptune.
You are right about the reverb and the dinky organ, which I presumed sounded dinky because of how it was recorded.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: kishnevi on February 14, 2015, 12:41:14 PM
Did some Googling. 
Kakhidze was a real person, and Tbilisi SO has released a couple of things on other labels per Arkivmusic listing. But he died in 2002, so that Planets had better not have been recorded in 2003...http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jansug_Kakhidze

Madjani, otoh, seems to be a phantom, and the Georgian Festival Orchestra only appears on this Infinity series.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: André on February 14, 2015, 05:51:10 PM
Kakhidze dit a lot of worthy recordings, including a Beethoven 9th (!!!), Tchaikovsky 6th (!!) of much depth and appeal. I have other things by him, but suffice to say that his MAIN title to fame is to have been the friend, confident and chosen interpreter of georgian composer Giya Kancheli, whose symphonies he recorded twice (among other things).
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on February 14, 2015, 10:04:32 PM
Kakhidze dit a lot of worthy recordings, including a Beethoven 9th (!!!), Tchaikovsky 6th (!!) of much depth and appeal. I have other things by him, but suffice to say that his MAIN title to fame is to have been the friend, confident and chosen interpreter of georgian composer Giya Kancheli, whose symphonies he recorded twice (among other things).

Thanks for that info, André.

I tend to forget there are so many not-so-well-known, non-superstar conductors out there who toil away for years, conducting equally-not-so-well-known orchestras (and occasionally recording with them).
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on February 15, 2015, 01:36:16 AM
Did some Googling. 
Kakhidze was a real person, and Tbilisi SO has released a couple of things on other labels per Arkivmusic listing. But he died in 2002, so that Planets had better not have been recorded in 2003...http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jansug_Kakhidze

Madjani, otoh, seems to be a phantom, and the Georgian Festival Orchestra only appears on this Infinity series.

Discogs (http://www.discogs.com/), my go-to place for accurate information about recordings, lists eight albums by Jansug Kakhidze (http://www.discogs.com/artist/256729-Jansug-Kakhidze), all released between 1978 and 2001. There are biographical details (and a photo), but they were pinched from Wikipedia. It's good to know that JK was a real person.

The elusive "Jahni Marjani (http://www.discogs.com/artist/1152302-Jahni-Mardjani)" is also on Discogs, but there's no information about him. Three albums by him are listed (two Ravels and a Mussorgsky), and all were released in 2001 (Sony Music (http://www.discogs.com/label/25487-Sony-Music), Sony Classical (http://www.discogs.com/label/865-Sony-Classical), and the el cheapo label Infinity Digital (http://www.discogs.com/label/119743-Infinity-Digital)).

The Infinity Digital recording of Them Planets by Jahni Mardjani and the Georgian Festival Orchestra (http://www.discogs.com/artist/1152301-Georgian-Festival-Orchestra) is listed at Discogs, but I didn't find it the first time I looked because his name isn't mentioned. Only the name of the possibly-fictional orchestra is there.

http://www.discogs.com/Georgian-Festival-Orchestra-The-Planets/release/6629280 (http://www.discogs.com/Georgian-Festival-Orchestra-The-Planets/release/6629280)

(http://cdn.discogs.com/AGC5uVKZzHvkD3YtgCT7GmNil08=/fit-in/400x400/filters:strip_icc():format(jpeg):mode_rgb():quality(96)/discogs-images/R-6629280-1423423962-8492.jpeg.jpg)

The plot... Well, it does something.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on February 20, 2015, 04:40:25 PM
Four more reviews for the blog (https://petersplanets.wordpress.com/):

Sir Colin Davis, London Symphony Orchestra, 2003 (https://petersplanets.wordpress.com/2015/01/01/davis-c-2003/)
Hymisher Greenburg, The European Philharmonic Orchestra, 1993 (https://petersplanets.wordpress.com/2015/01/01/greenburg-1993/)
Vernon Handley, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, 1993 (https://petersplanets.wordpress.com/2015/01/01/handley-1993/)
Peter Oundjian, Toronto Symphony Orchestra, 2011 (https://petersplanets.wordpress.com/2015/01/01/oundjian-2011/)

Oh, and I have an aesthetically-related question...

Do you prefer the text justified?

To help you decide, this review's text is justified:

Hymisher Greenburg, The European Philharmonic Orchestra, 1993 (https://petersplanets.wordpress.com/2015/01/01/greenburg-1993/)

And this one isn't:

Vernon Handley, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, 1993 (https://petersplanets.wordpress.com/2015/01/01/handley-1993/)

Do you have a preference? Don't care? Why am I bothering you with insignificant questions?
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: brunumb on February 20, 2015, 05:04:58 PM

Do you prefer the text justified?

To help you decide, this review's text is justified:

Hymisher Greenburg, The European Philharmonic Orchestra, 1993 (https://petersplanets.wordpress.com/2015/02/20/greenburg-1993/)

And this one isn't:

Vernon Handley, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, 1993 (https://petersplanets.wordpress.com/2015/02/20/handley-1993/)

Do you have a preference? Don't care? Why am I bothering you with insignificant questions?

 ???  They both look the same to me. 
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on February 20, 2015, 05:18:42 PM
???  They both look the same to me.

Oh.

I guess I'll keep it in its default non-justified format.

Thanks, almost-palindromic brunumb.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: North Star on February 21, 2015, 01:07:44 AM
The justified version looks much better to me, FWIW.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: betterthanfine on February 21, 2015, 01:32:56 AM
Peter, I'm enjoying your reviews immensely, even though I don't think as highly of the work itself as you obviously seem to. ;) I own the Dutoit, Karajan VPO and the late Boult myself but didn't see those (yet?) on your blog. Would love to read your thoughts on them.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: betterthanfine on February 21, 2015, 01:35:25 AM
The justified version looks much better to me, FWIW.
Agreed. :)
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on February 21, 2015, 01:36:33 AM
And some more:

Sir Alexander Gibson, Scottish National Orchestra, 1979 (https://petersplanets.wordpress.com/2015/01/01/gibson-1979/)
Sir Charles Groves, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, 1987 (https://petersplanets.wordpress.com/2015/01/01/groves-1987/)
James Judd, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, 1991 (https://petersplanets.wordpress.com/2015/01/01/judd-1991/)
Adrian Leaper, CSR Symphony Orchestra (Bratislava), 1988 (https://petersplanets.wordpress.com/2015/01/01/leaper-1988/)
David Lloyd-Jones, Royal Scottish National Orchestra, 2001 (https://petersplanets.wordpress.com/2015/01/01/lloyd-jones-2001/)
Zubin Mehta, Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra, 1971 (https://petersplanets.wordpress.com/2015/01/01/mehta-1971/)
Zubin Mehta, New York Philharmonic, 1990 (https://petersplanets.wordpress.com/2015/01/01/mehta-1990/)
John Williams, Boston Pops Orchestra, 1986 (https://petersplanets.wordpress.com/2015/01/01/williams-1986/)
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on February 21, 2015, 01:38:07 AM
The justified version looks much better to me, FWIW.

Excellent.

Ignore what I said earlier about keeping it non-justified.

Justified it is!

(I prefer it too.)
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on February 21, 2015, 02:27:34 AM
Peter, I'm enjoying your reviews immensely, ...

Thanks.

... even though I don't think as highly of the work itself as you obviously seem to. ;) ...

For years I thought of The Planets as an enjoyable piece, and nothing more. But then something happened, and I don't quite know what. I think it might have been when I started reading this thread. Hang on...

Yep. It started in this very thread. My interest in the work was rekindled by reading everyone's posts, so I went off and bought a few different CDs of Those Darn Planets and mentioned it in a post (http://www.good-music-guide.com/community/index.php/topic,20422.msg859017.html#msg859017). And then – and this is the crucial bit – Mirror Image asked me to name my top five (http://www.good-music-guide.com/community/index.php/topic,20422.msg859021.html#msg859021).

It snowballed from there.

... I own the Dutoit, Karajan VPO and the late Boult myself but didn't see those (yet?) on your blog. Would love to read your thoughts on them.

I've already written reviews for the Dutoit, both Karajans (1961 Vienna and 1981 Berlin), and all five Boults.

I'll post the Karajans and Boults tomorrow. I won't post the Dutoit just yet, because (Spoiler Alert) it's in the Top 10, and I don't want to post the Top 10 until I've posted everything else.

Oops. I've already broken that No-Top-10 rule, because I posted my review of the James Judd's recording (https://petersplanets.wordpress.com/2015/01/01/judd-1991/), and that's in the top 10. But that's the only one. (Note to self: Pay more attention to what you're doing, Peter.)
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: betterthanfine on February 21, 2015, 03:46:25 AM
I've already written reviews for the Dutoit, both Karajans (1961 Vienna and 1981 Berlin), and all five Boults.

Thanks, I'm looking forward to reading them!

It snowballed from there.

I know how it goes. I currently own 24 recordings of Strauss's Vier Letzte Lieder, and there's at least another 10 that I just need. Heh.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on February 21, 2015, 08:01:52 PM
Here come the Boults and Karajans...

Sir Adrian Boult, BBC Symphony Orchestra, 1945 (https://petersplanets.wordpress.com/2015/01/01/boult-1945/)
Sir Adrian Boult, Philharmonic Promenade Orchestra, 1954 (https://petersplanets.wordpress.com/2015/01/01/boult-1954/)
Sir Adrian Boult, Vienna State Opera Orchestra, 1960 (https://petersplanets.wordpress.com/2015/01/01/boult-1960/)
Sir Adrian Boult, New Philharmonia Orchestra, 1967 (https://petersplanets.wordpress.com/2015/01/01/boult-1967/)
Sir Adrian Boult, London Philharmonic Orchestra, 1978 (https://petersplanets.wordpress.com/2015/01/01/boult-1978/)
Herbert von Karajan, Wiener Philharmoniker, 1961 (https://petersplanets.wordpress.com/2015/01/01/karajan-1961/)
Herbert von Karajan, Berliner Philharmoniker, 1981 (https://petersplanets.wordpress.com/2015/01/01/karajan-1981/)
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: mc ukrneal on February 21, 2015, 08:40:39 PM
Here come the Boults and Karajans...

Sir Adrian Boult, BBC Symphony Orchestra, 1945 (https://petersplanets.wordpress.com/2015/02/22/boult-1945/)
Sir Adrian Boult, Philharmonic Promenade Orchestra, 1954 (https://petersplanets.wordpress.com/2015/02/22/boult-1954/)
Sir Adrian Boult, Vienna State Opera Orchestra, 1960 (https://petersplanets.wordpress.com/2015/02/22/boult-1960/)
Sir Adrian Boult, New Philharmonia Orchestra, 1967 (https://petersplanets.wordpress.com/2015/02/22/boult-1967/)
Sir Adrian Boult, London Philharmonic Orchestra, 1978 (https://petersplanets.wordpress.com/2015/02/22/boult-1978/)
Herbert von Karajan, Wiener Philharmoniker, 1961 (https://petersplanets.wordpress.com/2015/02/22/karajan-1961/)
Herbert von Karajan, Berliner Philharmoniker, 1981 (https://petersplanets.wordpress.com/2015/02/22/karajan-1981/)
Well, I can agree with you on the 78 Boult. It's roast beef. We don't mean the same thing at all, but we totally agree - it's roast beef! :)
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on February 22, 2015, 03:09:14 AM
More:

Sir John Eliot Gardiner, Philharmonia Orchestra, 1994 (https://petersplanets.wordpress.com/2015/01/01/gardiner-1994/)
Paavo Järvi, Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, 2009 (https://petersplanets.wordpress.com/2015/01/01/jarvi-2009/)
André Previn, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, 1986 (https://petersplanets.wordpress.com/2015/01/01/previn-1986/)
André Previn, London Symphony Orchestra, 1974 (https://petersplanets.wordpress.com/2015/01/01/previn-1974/)
Sir Simon Rattle, Philharmonia Orchestra, 1981 (https://petersplanets.wordpress.com/2015/01/01/rattle-1981/)
Sir Georg Solti, London Symphony Orchestra, 1978 (https://petersplanets.wordpress.com/2015/01/01/solti-1978/)

And I've expanded the Marriner review (it was looking pretty anaemic):

Sir Neville Marriner, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, 1978 (https://petersplanets.wordpress.com/2015/01/01/marriner-1978/)
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: André on February 22, 2015, 06:24:14 AM
Someone mentioned a Monteux performance. It never existed. I whonder whence the rumour got started?

PPP, this is a manificent series, thanks ! Did you review the Herrmann Planets ? I love it. Oh, and Ormandy, did you comment on Ormandy's ?
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Pat B on February 22, 2015, 06:41:28 AM
Herbert von Karajan, Berliner Philharmoniker, 1981 (https://petersplanets.wordpress.com/2015/02/22/karajan-1981/)

I haven't heard this one (I have and like the earlier Vienna one) but in general, I don't think ultra-tight ensemble precision is what people like about Karajan.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: betterthanfine on February 22, 2015, 01:57:25 PM
I haven't heard this one (I have and like the earlier Vienna one) but in general, I don't think ultra-tight ensemble precision is what people like about Karajan.

Agreed. Although it is said that he was very particular, and had a real aversion to sloppy pizzicati for instance. :)
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on February 22, 2015, 02:44:02 PM
I haven't heard this one (I have and like the earlier Vienna one) but in general, I don't think ultra-tight ensemble precision is what people like about Karajan.

Agreed. Although it is said that he was very particular, and had a real aversion to sloppy pizzicati for instance. :)

I may be going a little off-topic here (Sorry, Gustav), but I feel compelled to ask:

As someone who finds Herbie's conducting entirely resistible, what is the attraction for Karajan fans? What makes his interpretations preferrable to others? What makes him more than a self-mythologizing egomaniac?

Feeble Joke Time:

Q: What did Herbert always eat for breakfast?
A: Special K.

(For anyone who has no idea what Special K is, thereby making the joke even less funny than it was in the first place, this is Special K (http://www.specialk.com/en_us/home-page.html).)
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on February 22, 2015, 02:51:17 PM
Someone mentioned a Monteux performance. It never existed. I wonder whence the rumour got started?

Er, dunno.

PPP, this is a magnificent series, thanks!

Aw, shucks. Thanks, André.

Did you review the Herrmann Planets? I love it.

I have, but you're not going to want to read it.

Oh, and Ormandy, did you comment on Ormandy's?

Yep. I'll post that shortly.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on February 22, 2015, 03:34:10 PM
... did you comment on Ormandy's ?

Yes indeedy. Here's the Ormandy review:

Eugene Ormandy, Philadelphia Orchestra, 1975 (https://petersplanets.wordpress.com/2015/01/01/ormandy-1975/)
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on February 23, 2015, 05:23:30 PM
Here's my non-review of Hilary Davan Wetton's 1989 recording:

Hilary Davan Wetton, London Philharmonic Orchestra, 1989 (https://petersplanets.wordpress.com/2015/01/01/wetton-1989/)
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on February 24, 2015, 04:02:56 PM
Here's the Andrew Litton recording (which keeps creeping up the list)...

Andrew Litton, Dallas Symphony Orchestra, 1998 (https://petersplanets.wordpress.com/2015/01/01/litton-1998/)
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on February 25, 2015, 09:53:21 PM
As far as I can tell, I have only four more Planets to hear and I'll be done. This is all I'm missing:

  • Adrian Leaper (Orquesta Filarmónica de Gran Canaria, 1995)
  • James Loughran (Hallé Orchestra, 1975)
  • Seiji Ozawa (Boston Symphony Orchestra, 1979)
  • Hilary Davan Wetton (London Philharmonic Orchestra, 1989)

I've not heard this one, but the year is encouraging.  Seiji was still on his game then.

I'm pleased to say the exceedingly-hard-to-find Ozawa Planets was found, bought, and has arrived. Woohoo!

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51xpsXqFoOL.jpg)

By the way, I came across an online retailer called Mercado Libre who are selling it (or at least attempting to sell it) for $350 (http://articulo.mercadolibre.com.uy/MLU-424270944-seiji-ozawa-holst-the-planets-_JM). Yes, that's dollars.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: relm1 on February 26, 2015, 04:59:45 AM
One comment, Peter. The zubin Mehta 1971 LA Philharmonic planets used three tubas so that might explain the booming tube as you mentioned in your review.  Where are you listing the top 10? I can't find that on your site.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Christo on February 26, 2015, 05:35:29 AM
Where are you listing the top 10? I can't find that on your site.

Sssshhhhhhhttt.  ;) He's still working on it, slowly progressing towards the final apotheosis. Don't disturb a clocking hen, as we say in our language.  :D
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Sergeant Rock on February 26, 2015, 05:51:02 AM
I have, but you're not going to want to read it.

 :( ....not unexpected though. I didn't have much hope you'd approve of Herrmann's way with The Planets.

Sarge
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on February 26, 2015, 05:40:43 PM
One comment, Peter. The zubin Mehta 1971 LA Philharmonic pi]Planets[/i] used three tubas so that might explain the booming tube as you mentioned in your review.

They must be exceptionally well coordinated, because it sounds like one monster tuba to me.

One thing I really liked about the Mehta recording (https://play.spotify.com/album/3rm2mACoZgNgvgvcEjTuLo) was how audacious it was. Instruments just leapt out at you while you were listening. I loved it.

Where are you listing the top 10? I can't find that on your site.

Er... (See below)

Sssshhhhhhhttt.  ;) He's still working on it, slowly progressing towards the final apotheosis. Don't disturb a clocking hen, as we say in our language.  :D

Nah, you can disturb me all you like (Cluck.)

I won't be posting the top 10 until the list has been finalised.

I can say that I've reviewed and ranked every recording I've listened to so far, and so far I've heard 72 recordings. Some dude on MusicWeb says (http://www.musicweb-international.com/classrev/2011/Feb11/Holst_planets_piano_NI5871.htm) "At present there are over 80 recordings of this work available on CD", but I've only been able to find about 75.

Planets Recording Number 73 is getting a listen today, and that's the Ozawa. If that review doesn't appear on the blog in a few hours, then it's a safe bet it made it into the Top 10. Or I forgot to post the review.

The others I haven't heard yet are:
Trivia: I have a very strong urge to call Mr. Davan Wetton's first name "Hilarity". You won't believe how strong that urge is.

What you're seeing on the blog at the moment is me posting random reviews. When I've finally finished reviewing everything I was able to find, I'll post all the reviews along with their ranking, starting with the lowest number and working up to number 1.

:( ....not unexpected though. I didn't have much hope you'd approve of Herrmann's way with The Planets.

Sarge

I'll post the Herrmann review, but I have to warn you: It ain't pretty.

Confession: The Bernard Herrmann recording of The Planets is actually last on the list. (Yes, it's officially the worst Planets recording I have ever heard.)



Notes:

1 I've been buying nothing but Planets CDs, and ran out of money (again). Given its cost (about AUS$18), I've been reluctant to buy that one. (All the others have been much cheaper.) I'm itching to get this list done, so the Czech recording may not end up on it.

2 I'm going to contact Hilarity himself to see if he has a spare copy.

3 I don't know if this has ever been released on CD.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Mirror Image on February 26, 2015, 06:15:47 PM
Where's Earth?

Wherever Pluto may be. :D
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: mc ukrneal on February 26, 2015, 06:45:47 PM
    They must be exceptionally well coordinated, because it sounds like one monster tuba to me.

    One thing I really liked about
the Mehta recording (https://play.spotify.com/album/3rm2mACoZgNgvgvcEjTuLo) was how audacious it was. Instruments just leapt out at you while you were listening. I loved it.

Er... (See below)

Nah, you can disturb me all you like (Cluck.)

I won't be posting the top 10 until the list has been finalised.

I can say that I've reviewed and ranked every recording I've listened to so far, and so far I've heard 72 recordings. Some dude on MusicWeb says (http://www.musicweb-international.com/classrev/2011/Feb11/Holst_planets_piano_NI5871.htm) "At present there are over 80 recordings of this work available on CD", but I've only been able to find about 75.

Planets Recording Number 73 is getting a listen today, and that's the Ozawa. If that review doesn't appear on the blog in a few hours, then it's a safe bet it made it into the Top 10. Or I forgot to post the review.

The others I haven't heard yet are:
  • Paul Freeman, Czech National Symphony Orchestra, 2002 (available on CD here (http://www.cnso.cz/EN/shop.html?offset=30))1
  • Hilary Davan Wetton, London Philharmonic Orchestra, 1989 (not available anywhere)2
  • Leopold Stokowski, NBC Symphony Orchestra, 1943 (who knows?)3
Trivia: I have a very strong urge to call Mr. Davan Wetton's first name "Hilarity". You won't believe how strong that urge is.

What you're seeing on the blog at the moment is me posting random reviews. When I've finally finished reviewing everything I was able to find, I'll post all the reviews along with their ranking, starting with the lowest number and working up to number 1.

I'll post the Herrmann review, but I have to warn you: It ain't pretty.

Confession: The Bernard Herrmann recording of The Planets is actually last on the list. (Yes, it's officially the worst Planets recording I have ever heard.)



Notes:

1 I've been buying nothing but Planets CDs, and ran out of money (again). Given its cost (about AUS$18), I've been reluctant to buy that one. (All the others have been much cheaper.) I'm itching to get this list done, so the Czech recording may not end up on it.

2 I'm going to contact Hilarity himself to see if he has a spare copy.


3 I don't know if this has ever been released on CD.[/list]
This may be of interest to you re Wetton: http://members2.boardhost.com/MusicWebUK/thread/1277108910.html (http://members2.boardhost.com/MusicWebUK/thread/1277108910.html). Looks like the email is there too for you to contact him.

Re: Stokowski, this site is a godsend: http://www.classical.net/music/guide/society/lssa/disco.php (http://www.classical.net/music/guide/society/lssa/disco.php) and this appears to be that release:

Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on February 26, 2015, 08:17:19 PM
This may be of interest to you re Wetton: http://members2.boardhost.com/MusicWebUK/thread/1277108910.html (http://members2.boardhost.com/MusicWebUK/thread/1277108910.html). Looks like the email is there too for you to contact him.

Thanks, mc ukrneal. (A part of me wants to give you a rap name: "MC Unreal").

Unfortunately, there doesn't seem to be an email address on that page (I couldn't find one anywhere), so I posted this message (http://members2.boardhost.com/MusicWebUK/msg/1425008213.html).

Re: Stokowski, this site is a godsend: http://www.classical.net/music/guide/society/lssa/disco.php (http://www.classical.net/music/guide/society/lssa/disco.php) and this appears to be that release:



Amazon.com has that Cala disc (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00002MXR6), but it's way out of my "What I'm Prepared To Pay For The Planets" price range. Shipping is gruesome from Amazon.com to here in Australia – it's about $13. Shipping is cheaper from Amazon.co.uk (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Holst-Planets-Claude-Debussy/dp/B00002MXR6), but it's still too pricey for me.

eBay has one copy of it (http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/Holst-Planets-Audio-CD-/311303335053), but that's even more expensive than the Amazons.

Grrr.

(I've been spoiled with Planets CDs – I've paid between $4 and $12 for each of them so far.)

Thanks, anyway, for letting me know about the Classical.net review (http://www.classical.net/music/recs/reviews/c/cal00526a.php). At least I know what to look for now.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on February 26, 2015, 08:26:21 PM
Another one:

Adrian Leaper, Orquesta Filarmónica de Gran Canaria, 1995 (https://petersplanets.wordpress.com/2015/01/01/leaper-1995/)
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: kishnevi on February 26, 2015, 08:42:07 PM
Another one:

Adrian Leaper, Orquesta Filarmónica de Gran Canaria, 1995 (https://petersplanets.wordpress.com/2015/02/27/leaper-1995/)

El Mahler de Senor Leaper con la orquesta misma es de qualidad similar.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on February 26, 2015, 08:52:06 PM
El Mahler de Senor Leaper con la orquesta misma es de qualidad similar.

Er, fair enough.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on February 26, 2015, 09:05:50 PM
El Mahler de Senor Leaper con la orquesta misma es de qualidad similar.

Incidentally, "Señor Leaper" is now one of my all-time favourite names. It takes pride of place alongside:

Mars Bonfire (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mars_Bonfire)
Merlin Patterson (http://www.merlinpatterson.com/)
Hephzibah Menuhin (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hephzibah_Menuhin)
Engelbert Humperdinck (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Engelbert_Humperdinck_(composer))
Windscreens O'Brien (http://www.logotypes101.com/logos/704/AC9754BB116B97492B58ECD65008F6D0/Windscreens_OBrien.png)

And yes, those are all real names. Except for Windscreens O'Brien, which actually was the name of an Australian company. The company is still active, but they no longer call themselves Windscreens O'Brien. They decided to change their name to the ultra-boring O'Brien Glass Industries Limited (http://www.obrienglass.com.au/). Yawn. At least their old logo is still around:

(http://www.logotypes101.com/logos/704/AC9754BB116B97492B58ECD65008F6D0/Windscreens_OBrien.png)
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on February 26, 2015, 09:10:49 PM
:( ....not unexpected though. I didn't have much hope you'd approve of Herrmann's way with The Planets.

Sarge

Steel yourself, Sarge, because here are the Herrmann Planets:

Bernard Herrmann, London Philharmonic Orchestra, 1970 (https://petersplanets.wordpress.com/2015/01/01/herrmann-1970/)
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Christo on February 26, 2015, 11:34:04 PM
Steel yourself, Sarge, because here are the Herrmann Planets:
Bernard Herrmann, London Philharmonic Orchestra, 1970 (https://petersplanets.wordpress.com/2015/02/27/herrmann-1970/)

Sarge will be relieved to read your most positive review (albeit the only one) of the final bars of Mars: "the ending, from 8:05 onwards, is OK".  :D
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on February 27, 2015, 12:14:04 AM
Sarge will be relieved to read your most positive review (albeit the only one) of the final bars of Mars: "the ending, from 8:05 onwards, is OK".  :D

We shall see. (Hi, Sarge!)
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: André on February 27, 2015, 05:00:47 PM
Ha ! The powers of imagination ! The Herrmann Planets have always stimulated a lively response from lovers and haters alike. It's all related to the level of interaction between the lower part of the thyroid glans and the pituitary when the full moon happens to be below Jupiter. You either have a musical orgasm or a puke of the highest order. You can't fight your thyroïd.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on February 27, 2015, 05:27:54 PM
Ha ! The powers of imagination ! The Herrmann Planets have always stimulated a lively response from lovers and haters alike. It's all related to the level of interaction between the lower part of the thyroid glans and the pituitary when the full moon happens to be below Jupiter. You either have a musical orgasm or a puke of the highest order. You can't fight your thyroïd.

Well, that's one way of looking at it.

Incidentally, I like the umlaut.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Pat B on February 27, 2015, 06:45:18 PM
Ha ! The powers of imagination ! The Herrmann Planets have always stimulated a lively response from lovers and haters alike. It's all related to the level of interaction between the lower part of the thyroid glans and the pituitary when the full moon happens to be below Jupiter. You either have a musical orgasm or a puke of the highest order. You can't fight your thyroïd.

I listened to the first half, then removed it from my consider-buying lïst.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on February 27, 2015, 07:25:15 PM
Ha ! The powers of imagination ! The Herrmann Planets have always stimulated a lively response from lovers and haters alike. It's all related to the level of interaction between the lower part of the thyroid glans and the pituitary when the full moon happens to be below Jupiter. You either have a musical orgasm or a puke of the highest order. You can't fight your thyroïd.

I listened to the first half, then removed it from my consider-buying lïst.

I hear ya, Pat B. I want to buy all available CDs of The Planets, but unless that Herrmann disc is $2 on eBay, I ain't gonna be in any hurry to buy it.

Speaking of eBay, it's currently AUS$12.40 there (http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/Holst-The-Planets-Egdon-Heath-Perfect-Fool-St-Pauls-Suite-Herrmann-Boult-2Cd-/181552777024). It's a double-CD, which sounds like a bargain, but it has the Bernard Herrmann Planets on it.

(http://i.ebayimg.com/00/s/NzIwWDk2MA==/z/XXIAAOxyod5SJTPD/$T2eC16FHJGYFFk1COp)LBSJTPDLT9g~~60_57.JPG)

(http://i.ebayimg.com/00/s/NzIwWDk2MA==/z/-C4AAOxyGxxSJTPs/$T2eC16VHJGwFFY0k8IeWBSJTPr6gh!~~60_57.JPG)
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on February 27, 2015, 09:20:53 PM
Here's the not-terribly-good Maazel recording:

Lorin Maazel, L'orchestre de France, 1984 (https://petersplanets.wordpress.com/2015/01/01/maazel-1984/)
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: TheGSMoeller on February 28, 2015, 06:06:35 AM
Let me say that I'm enjoying this exploration of The Planets. Thanks to Peter Power Pop for diving so deeply into this, it's pages like these that make GMG so special.

This was one of the Planets discs that was intriguing to me. I've been exploring more of Gardiner's brilliance on record over the past few years, spanning centuries from Bach to Janacek, and there's one element that seems to be a real focus on his performances, the tightly structured and cleanliness of the playing from the orchestras. This Planets with The Philharmonia is exceptional from a technical standpoint. As a former brass player and still with friends and family that play professionally, the performer's  technique is always an area of interest when listening, and while studying this recording I was amazed at some of the results. The Philharmonia was always exact on their execution of accents, staccatos and other notations. The tenor tuba solo in Mars was cleanly audible and never sluggish which seems to plague some performances, perhaps it's the larger valves. The double-tongue from the brass was just as clean and exact, and the syncopations in Uranus are firm. In fact, firm is a great description of the entire piece. If there is anything lacking it's more than likely arriving from Gardiner's choice of tempi and phrasing of several key build ups. My biggest quibble is with Saturn, it feels young and sprightly rather than of old age. But going back to my primary point, the playing is so exciting and fervent that tempo choices don't have nearly the effect as it usually might. In short, I love this performance. It's a similar reaction I had to Gardiner's disc of Rach's Symphonic Dances with NDR, or Schubert's 9th with Vienna. He doesn't seem to push and pull the music as often to result in a more dramatic reading, but rather focuses on the composer's notes and those that are portraying those notes, and pulls the dramatics from within.
I will admit that I've been away from The Planets for years, and my 3-4 main choices of recordings years ago were based on how loud the brass played. I've grown out of that phase thank goodness. I'm ready to hear some more recordings.


Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Sergeant Rock on February 28, 2015, 06:14:38 AM
We shall see. (Hi, Sarge!)

Hey, 3P....I have not read your review yet. I'm waiting for you to finalize the list.

Sarge
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on February 28, 2015, 03:16:08 PM
Hey, 3P....I have not read your review yet. I'm waiting for you to finalize the list.

Sarge

Thanks for your patience, Mr. Sarge Man.

I'm itching (itching!) to finalise things and post every review, but the list isn't complete yet. Although I've reviewed 73 recordings, there are three two more that I know of but can't get, for a variety of reasons (out of print, or out of my price range).

These are the three two that are holding up proceedings:

Leopold Stokowski,
NBC Symphony Orchestra,
1943
(http://www.amazon.com/Stokowski-Planets-Debussy-Prelude-Afternoon/dp/B00002MXR6) – found it on Spotify (https://play.spotify.com/album/3QYcldJ6w7lbMfA7fWdujb)
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51QnSAQa-xL.jpg)


Hilary Davan Wetton,
London Philharmonic Orchestra,
1989
(http://www.discogs.com/Gustav-Holst-Hilary-Davan-Wetton-London-Philharmonic-Orchestra-Holst-The-Planets/release/6626214)
(http://i962.photobucket.com/albums/ae102/peterpowerpop/Holst%20-%20The%20Planets%20Davan%20Wetton%20London%20Philharmonic%20Orchestra%201989.jpg)


Paul Freeman,
Czech National Symphony Orchestra,
2002
(http://www.cnso.cz/EN/shop.html?offset=30)
(http://www.musicrecords.cz/upload/catalogue/image/big/f12763302092048011990.jpg)
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on February 28, 2015, 03:32:21 PM
Let me say that I'm enjoying this exploration of The Planets. ...

Me too. I've had a blast listening to all those Planets.

... Thanks to Peter Power Pop for diving so deeply into this, ...

No problem.

... it's pages like these that make GMG so special.

This was one of the Planets discs that was intriguing to me. I've been exploring more of Gardiner's brilliance on record over the past few years, spanning centuries from Bach to Janacek, and there's one element that seems to be a real focus on his performances, the tightly structured and cleanliness of the playing from the orchestras. This Planets with The Philharmonia is exceptional from a technical standpoint. As a former brass player and still with friends and family that play professionally, the performer's  technique is always an area of interest when listening, and while studying this recording I was amazed at some of the results. The Philharmonia was always exact on their execution of accents, staccatos and other notations. The tenor tuba solo in Mars was cleanly audible and never sluggish which seems to plague some performances, perhaps it's the larger valves. The double-tongue from the brass was just as clean and exact, and the syncopations in Uranus are firm. In fact, firm is a great description of the entire piece. If there is anything lacking it's more than likely arriving from Gardiner's choice of tempi and phrasing of several key build ups. My biggest quibble is with Saturn, it feels young and sprightly rather than of old age. But going back to my primary point, the playing is so exciting and fervent that tempo choices don't have nearly the effect as it usually might. In short, I love this performance. It's a similar reaction I had to Gardiner's disc of Rach's Symphonic Dances with NDR, or Schubert's 9th with Vienna. He doesn't seem to push and pull the music as often to result in a more dramatic reading, but rather focuses on the composer's notes and those that are portraying those notes, and pulls the dramatics from within.

I will admit that I've been away from The Planets for years, and my 3-4 main choices of recordings years ago were based on how loud the brass played. I've grown out of that phase thank goodness. I'm ready to hear some more recordings.



Thanks for your perspective, TGSM. I'm fascinated by how other people listen to music, and why they like what they like, so I welcome your thoughts with a lot of interest.

I agree with you about the cleanliness of execution (the Philharmonia play exceptionally well), but for me that wasn't enough. I found it all a bit too restrained. It sounded like John and the gang were on their best behaviour. ("Whatever you do, don't mess up!")

By the way, if you ever want to get back into your loud-brass phase, the 1971 Mehta recording (https://petersplanets.wordpress.com/2015/01/01/mehta-1971/) is the one for you.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: André on February 28, 2015, 04:53:25 PM
Me too. I've had a blast listening to all those Planets.

No problem.

Thanks for your perspective, TGSM. (I'm fascinated with how other people listen to music, and why they like what they like.) I agree with you about the cleanliness of execution (the Philharmonia Orchestra play exceptionally well), but for me that wasn't enough. I found it all a bit too restrained. It sounded like John and the gang were on their best behaviour. ("Whatever you do, don't mess up!")

By the way, if you ever want to get back into your loud-brass phase, the 1971 Mehta recording (https://petersplanets.wordpress.com/2015/02/21/mehta-1971/) is the one for you.

How true ;) That Gardiner Planets is one of those I can't stand - because it does not stand for anything. It's like pure protons, neutrons and eletrons. It all fails to collide, connect and amalgamate into meaningful molecules. And the least said about his Schubert 9th, the better  ::) - (sorry GS  :-\). . The Gardener has no idea how to make the viennese rythms in the Scherzo sound natural. He simply plays every single occurence the exact same phoney way.

Well, that's howit sounds to me anyways. I like Herrmann and dislike Gardiner.

BTW PPP, if ever a Norrington version comes across - played on period instruments no doubt, I delegate to you the chore task of writing a review !
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: TheGSMoeller on February 28, 2015, 04:59:46 PM

BTW PPP, if ever a Norrington version comes across - played on period instruments no doubt, I delegate to you the chore task of writing a review !

Not on period instruments, but it's Norrington. Perhaps this was reviewed by PPP already.

(http://cps-static.rovicorp.com/3/JPG_400/MI0001/059/MI0001059890.jpg?partner=allrovi.com)
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: André on February 28, 2015, 05:03:05 PM
Arrgggh ! He did it! The fink, malfeasant, balding trickster ... !  >:D . And how does it sound ?
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: TheGSMoeller on February 28, 2015, 05:20:05 PM
Arrgggh ! He did it! The fink, malfeasant, balding trickster ... !  >:D . And how does it sound ?

It hits and misses. High point being Uranus and low point being Mars, which unfortunately is a bad way to start the piece. But it's always interesting to hear Norrington's take on classics. The Stuttgarts play marvelously as usual, and the Hanssler sound is very nice, as usual.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: André on February 28, 2015, 05:22:20 PM
Well, thanks GS !
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on February 28, 2015, 08:25:50 PM
Arrgggh ! He did it! The fink, malfeasant, balding trickster ... !  >:D . And how does it sound ?

You can hear for yourself:

Roger Norrington, Radio-Sinfonieorchester Stuttgart des SWR, 2001 (https://petersplanets.wordpress.com/2015/01/01/norrington-2001/)
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on February 28, 2015, 08:33:44 PM
It hits and misses. High point being Uranus and low point being Mars, which unfortunately is a bad way to start the piece. But it's always interesting to hear Norrington's take on classics. The Stuttgarts play marvelously as usual, and the Hanssler sound is very nice, as usual.

For me, Norrington's Planets (https://petersplanets.wordpress.com/2015/01/01/norrington-2001/) were weird. One thing I found frustrating was that interpretatively he was all over the shop. I didn't hear any consistency in his approach to the work. More than once, I thought he was messin' about with things (like dynamics and tempo) just for the sake of it. It left me with a distinct "Grrr" sensation.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Pat B on February 28, 2015, 11:17:19 PM
I tried the Maazel, but stopped about halfway through Mars. I am surprised that got released without being patched up.

BTW PPP, if ever a Norrington version comes across - played on period instruments no doubt, I delegate to you the chore task of writing a review !

FWIW there is a PI recording, New Queen's Hall Orchestra conducted by Goodman. It's hard to find on CD (I happened across a copy) but it is on spotify (https://play.spotify.com/album/27aIsr8Ld7buGThlYni1fu). I'd need to relisten before writing about it.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on February 28, 2015, 11:50:56 PM
I tried the Maazel, but stopped about halfway through Mars. I am surprised that got released without being patched up.

Yeah, the Maazel's a bit of a mess (https://petersplanets.wordpress.com/2015/01/01/maazel-1984/).

FWIW there is a PI recording, New Queen's Hall Orchestra conducted by Goodman. It's hard to find on CD (I happened across a copy) but it is on spotify (https://play.spotify.com/album/27aIsr8Ld7buGThlYni1fu). I'd need to relisten before writing about it.

I've reviewed the Goodman Planets (https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL265C6167D64E9705), but haven't posted it yet because it's in the top 10. (I'm trying not to posting anything in the top 10 until the list is all rarin' to go. Unfortunately, two top-tenners have already snuck in.)
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Pat B on March 01, 2015, 09:37:46 AM
Yeah, the Maazel's a bit of a mess (https://petersplanets.wordpress.com/2015/02/28/maazel-1984/).

Right, I listened to it from your post (and noticed the same flubs, until I turned it off). It too had been on my consider-buying list, based mostly on some gmg comments which made it sound intriguing, but I took it off much faster than the Herrmann.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: André on March 01, 2015, 10:22:39 AM
I'm curious to hear a PI performance of The Planets. Unfortunately this disc is unavailable, although youtube has it. I have qualms about the concept though. Shouldn't the first Boult performance be viewed as the benchmark for such an experiment ? After all he did create the work (in the concert hall and on records), so what's the use ?  ::). Unless the Goodman is a recreation in modern sonics of that Boult version ?? Is it, PPP ?
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on March 01, 2015, 03:51:16 PM
I'm curious to hear a PI performance of The Planets. Unfortunately this disc is unavailable, although youtube has it. ...

Goodman's Planets is now on Spotify:

https://play.spotify.com/user/tdubose/playlist/4xSmEWcIz2YGoxFlfPQbrf (https://play.spotify.com/user/tdubose/playlist/4xSmEWcIz2YGoxFlfPQbrf)

... I have qualms about the concept though. Shouldn't the first Boult performance be viewed as the benchmark for such an experiment ? ...

Well, a chap called James Reid has something to say about that. In his essay, An Astronomer’s Guide to Holst’s The Planets (http://www.skyandtelescope.com/wp-content/uploads/Reid_on_Holst.pdf), he says this:

"Sir Adrian Boult, a friend of the composer, conducted the first performance of The Planets in 1918, and recorded it commercially at least five times between 1945 and 1978. Boult is often taken as “authoritative.” However, he is often at odds with the composer’s versions, and I believe he adversely influenced many later conductors. Although only the last of the Boult recordings is given in our list, a look at all of them would reveal great inconsistencies from one to another."

Reid considers Holst's own recordings from 1926 as the definitive word on The Planets.

In response to critics who say Holst's recordings aren't accurate because of the recording limitations of the time, and of Holst's (alleged) dodgy conducting skills, Reid says:

"In spite of their antique sound quality, these priceless documents can directly convey to us the composer’s own conception of The Planets. Other later conductors vary widely in their “interpretation” of the work. They differ most obviously in tempo — often drastically so in Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, and Neptune. Since I believe Holst’s second (1926) recording is “right” (and who can argue with the composer himself?), I have given his timings for each movement in Table B, so that the reader can compare his tempos with selected later recordings. Holst’s tempos are invariably fast compared to almost all later recordings. Some have tried to argue that Holst’s fast tempos result from 1920s recording industry pressure to keep within the time limit of that era of four minutes per side, yielding eight minutes per two-sided disc. This argument is disproved by many other recordings from around 1926 that use the full four minutes per side. If Holst had wanted, say, eight minutes for his discs of Mars or Saturn, instead of about six or seven respectively, he could easily have recorded them that way."

... After all he did create the work (in the concert hall and on records), so what's the use ?  ::). ...

See above.

... Unless the Goodman is a recreation in modern sonics of that Boult version ?? Is it, PPP ?

Reid says this:

"The 1996 recording conducted by Roy Goodman is a special case. Goodman set out to emulate the composer’s 1926 recording, including the tempos, and his orchestra uses museum instruments or replicas of the type of instruments used around the time of Holst’s recording. We are unlikely to ever get much closer to Holst’s own intentions and interpretation than Goodman’s performance. For anyone interested in this music, Goodman’s is a must-hear recording."
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: North Star on March 01, 2015, 03:58:55 PM
Goodman's Planets is now on Spotify:
On Youtube, too:
https://www.youtube.com/v/hlMX4xzBEhA
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: André on March 01, 2015, 04:08:58 PM
This is all and good, man ! Hopefully a proper digital support will find its way so we can make our individual and collective minds about it !
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: relm1 on March 02, 2015, 06:22:25 AM
On Youtube, too:
https://www.youtube.com/v/hlMX4xzBEhA

Whoa!  That's intense!
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: relm1 on March 02, 2015, 06:30:58 AM

Well, a chap called James Reid has something to say about that. In his essay, An Astronomer’s Guide to Holst’s The Planets (http://www.skyandtelescope.com/wp-content/uploads/Reid_on_Holst.pdf), he says this:

"Sir Adrian Boult, a friend of the composer, conducted the first performance of The Planets in 1918, and recorded it commercially at least five times between 1945 and 1978. Boult is often taken as “authoritative.” However, he is often at odds with the composer’s versions, and I believe he adversely influenced many later conductors. Although only the last of the Boult recordings is given in our list, a look at all of them would reveal great inconsistencies from one to another."

Reid considers Holst's own recordings from 1926 as the definitive word on The Planets.

In response to critics who say Holst's recordings aren't accurate because of the recording limitations of the time, and of Holst's (alleged) dodgy conducting skills, Reid says:

"In spite of their antique sound quality, these priceless documents can directly convey to us the composer’s own conception of The Planets. Other later conductors vary widely in their “interpretation” of the work. They differ most obviously in tempo — often drastically so in Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, and Neptune. Since I believe Holst’s second (1926) recording is “right” (and who can argue with the composer himself?), I have given his timings for each movement in Table B, so that the reader can compare his tempos with selected later recordings. Holst’s tempos are invariably fast compared to almost all later recordings. Some have tried to argue that Holst’s fast tempos result from 1920s recording industry pressure to keep within the time limit of that era of four minutes per side, yielding eight minutes per two-sided disc. This argument is disproved by many other recordings from around 1926 that use the full four minutes per side. If Holst had wanted, say, eight minutes for his discs of Mars or Saturn, instead of about six or seven respectively, he could easily have recorded them that way."

See above.

Reid says this:

"The 1996 recording conducted by Roy Goodman is a special case. Goodman set out to emulate the composer’s 1926 recording, including the tempos, and his orchestra uses museum instruments or replicas of the type of instruments used around the time of Holst’s recording. We are unlikely to ever get much closer to Holst’s own intentions and interpretation than Goodman’s performance. For anyone interested in this music, Goodman’s is a must-hear recording."

Not to be pedantic, but one counter point to this is just because Holst is a gifted composer doesn’t necessarily make his interpretation definitive.  Conducting is a very different skill set from composing in that it requires the ability to efficiently and effectively cajole a performance (hopefully rising to artistic levels) from a wide range of instruments and their respective peculiarities and personalities.   Unless there is evidence a composer struggled with the conductor’s interpretation, I wouldn’t solely take the fact that the composer is the conductor to be an indication of a performance being definitive representation of their intent.   
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Pat B on March 02, 2015, 11:54:46 AM
Not to be pedantic, but one counter point to this is just because Holst is a gifted composer doesn’t necessarily make his interpretation definitive.  Conducting is a very different skill set from composing in that it requires the ability to efficiently and effectively cajole a performance (hopefully rising to artistic levels) from a wide range of instruments and their respective peculiarities and personalities.   Unless there is evidence a composer struggled with the conductor’s interpretation, I wouldn’t solely take the fact that the composer is the conductor to be an indication of a performance being definitive representation of their intent.

Right, and sometimes a conductor will do it in a way that the composer hadn't thought of, or didn't know was possible (I'm thinking specifically of Stravinsky's reported reaction to Bernstein's NYPO Rite of Spring, though I'm sure there are other examples.)

I don't think we can assume that every composer had a single, invariant intent of how every piece should sound.

To get back to André's post, I don't think that period-instrument performers are obligated to mimic Holst, or Boult, or any other allegedly "definitive" performance, any more than modern-instrument performers are.

Anyway, I should give Goodman another listen -- but I also have Tortelier in my Pile.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: mc ukrneal on March 02, 2015, 12:30:21 PM
Whoa!  That's intense!
Really? Unison issues and intonation issues kill it for me...
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on March 02, 2015, 04:35:19 PM
Time for some more reviews...

William Boughton, Philharmonia Orchestra, 1988 (https://petersplanets.wordpress.com/2015/01/01/boughton-1988/)
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Christo on March 02, 2015, 04:44:27 PM
Just counted, I own 22 versions of The Planets. Without ever trying hard at all, just accidentally bought over the years. And heard The Planets live just once, in Barbican, London, Mark Elder conducting (forgot which of the six London orchestras). Time that you offer yout Top Ten, so that I can do away with half of them.  ;D
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on March 02, 2015, 05:20:22 PM
Just counted, I own 22 versions of The Planets. Without ever trying hard at all, just accidentally bought over the years. And heard The Planets live just once, in Barbican, London, Mark Elder conducting (forgot which of the six London orchestras). ...

Speaking of Mark Elder and live recordings of The Planets, there's a live recording from the 1999 Proms that was released on CD. It was recorded at the Royal Albert Hall on Sunday 18 July 1999 (http://www.bbc.co.uk/proms/archive/search/1990s/1999), with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales.

(http://i962.photobucket.com/albums/ae102/peterpowerpop/Holst%20-%20The%20Planets%20Elder%20BBC%20National%20Orchestra%20of%20Wales%201999.jpg)

I've bought it, but it hasn't arrived yet.

Incidentally (and coincidentally), The Planets will be performed by The Hallé Orchestra and Mark Elder in Manchester next month (Thursday 16 April 2015 at 7:30 PM) (http://bachtrack.com/concert-listing/bridgewater-hall/the-halle-performs-brahms-oregan-and-holst/16-april-2015/19-30).

... Time that you offer youy Top Ten, so that I can do away with half of them.  ;D

Yep. It doesn't seem likely that the Hilary Davan Wetton version is going to appear anytime soon (unless I hear back from Hilary, who I emailed a few days ago), so I think I'll post the full list soon. I'm finishing up my review of Stokowski's 1943 recording, and once that's done I'll have 74 recordings for your delectation. 75 if that live Elder recording arrives in time.

Onward and upward!
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on March 02, 2015, 05:46:41 PM
Just counted, I own 22 versions of The Planets. Without ever trying hard at all, just accidentally bought over the years. And heard The Planets live just once, in Barbican, London, Mark Elder conducting (forgot which of the six London orchestras). Time that you offer your Top Ten, so that I can do away with half of them.  ;D

Well, you can send them my way. All donations gratefully received.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on March 02, 2015, 06:48:12 PM
Speaking of Mark Elder and live recordings of The Planets, there's a live recording from the 1999 Proms that was released on CD. It was recorded at the Royal Albert Hall on Sunday 18 July 1999 (http://www.bbc.co.uk/proms/archive/search/1990s/1999), with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales.

(http://i962.photobucket.com/albums/ae102/peterpowerpop/Holst%20-%20The%20Planets%20Elder%20BBC%20National%20Orchestra%20of%20Wales%201999.jpg)

I've bought it, but it hasn't arrived yet.

Incidentally (and coincidentally), The Planets will be performed by The Hallé Orchestra and Mark Elder in Manchester next month (Thursday 16 April 2015 at 7:30 PM) (http://bachtrack.com/concert-listing/bridgewater-hall/the-halle-performs-brahms-oregan-and-holst/16-april-2015/19-30).

Yep. It doesn't seem likely that the Hilary Davan Wetton version is going to appear anytime soon (unless I hear back from Hilary, who I emailed a few days ago), so I think I'll post the full list soon. I'm finishing up my review of Stokowski's 1943 recording, and once that's done I'll have 74 recordings for your delectation. 75 if that live Elder recording arrives in time.

Onward and upward!

You won't believe this (I don't believe it myself), but about an hour after I posted that message I checked the letterbox, and there it was: the live Elder Proms recording.

Oh, and it wasn't recorded in 1999. The CD back cover says it was recorded on 10 September 1998 (http://www.bbc.co.uk/proms/archive/search/1990s/1998).
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on March 02, 2015, 09:13:10 PM
Another one. This is from Australia:

José Serebrier, Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, 1977 (https://petersplanets.wordpress.com/2015/01/01/serebrier-1977/)
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on March 02, 2015, 11:30:32 PM
And more.

Beware: That first Stokowski review (1943) is much, much longer than it needed to be...

Leopold Stokowski, NBC Symphony Orchestra, 1943 (https://petersplanets.wordpress.com/2015/01/01/stokowski-1943/)
Leopold Stokowski, Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra, 1956 (https://petersplanets.wordpress.com/2015/01/01/stokowski-1956/)
Ross Pople, London Festival Orchestra, 1991 (https://petersplanets.wordpress.com/2015/01/01/pople-1991/)
Robert Ashley, London Festival Orchestra, 2001 (https://petersplanets.wordpress.com/2015/01/01/ashley-2001/)
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: brunumb on March 03, 2015, 05:42:23 PM
Is the Hurst/Bournemouth SO recording under consideration?

http://www.amazon.com/Holst-Planets-Other-Unearthly-Music/dp/B003TFES4M/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1425433256&sr=8-1&keywords=holst+hurst

Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on March 03, 2015, 06:00:46 PM
Is the Hurst/Bournemouth SO recording under consideration?

http://www.amazon.com/Holst-Planets-Other-Unearthly-Music/dp/B003TFES4M/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1425433256&sr=8-1&keywords=holst+hurst

Yep. That's been reviewed. I'll post that shortly.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on March 03, 2015, 06:11:43 PM
Is the Hurst/Bournemouth SO recording under consideration?

http://www.amazon.com/Holst-Planets-Other-Unearthly-Music/dp/B003TFES4M/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1425433256&sr=8-1&keywords=holst+hurst

Here 'tis:

George Hurst, Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, 1974 (https://petersplanets.wordpress.com/2015/01/01/hurst-1974/)
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Christo on March 03, 2015, 11:50:19 PM
For those who don't have Spotify (I do ;)), the LP version - George Hurst conducting the Bournemouth SO - is also on Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2ea7XNQY92k&list=PL19D152F26E24F66C
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on March 04, 2015, 02:01:38 AM
For those who don't have Spotify (I do ;)), the LP version - George Hurst conducting the Bournemouth SO - is also on Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2ea7XNQY92k&list=PL19D152F26E24F66C

Excellent. Thanks for that, Christo. I've added it to the post:

George Hurst, Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, 1974 (https://petersplanets.wordpress.com/2015/01/01/hurst-1974/)
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: aukhawk on March 04, 2015, 02:05:51 AM
I haven't listened to the Planets for years, but I looked up my old copy of Judd the other day - was rather shocked to hear an engineered fade-out finish to Neptune, rather than a sung diminuendo.
Then last night I downloaded Karajan/VPO (wow!) and blow me, I think that one's engineered as well - or at least, helped on its way.  Shame on you, John Culshaw!

I don't think you'll ever find every recording - have you come across Djong Victorin Yu - probably out of budget, if you must have hardcopy  :o

Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on March 04, 2015, 03:01:24 AM
I haven't listened to the Planets for years, but I looked up my old copy of Judd the other day - was rather shocked to hear an engineered fade-out finish to Neptune, rather than a sung diminuendo.
Then last night I downloaded Karajan/VPO (wow!) and blow me, I think that one's engineered as well - or at least, helped on its way.  Shame on you, John Culshaw!

I must admit I didn't notice anything untoward when I heard those beasties. I'll have another listen to them.

I don't think you'll ever find every recording - ...

Probably not. I've found 76 so far.

... have you come across Djong Victorin Yu - ...

Yep. And reviewed it.

...probably out of budget, if you must have hardcopy  :o



Eep!

That Amazon.com price ($31) is pretty gruesome, but at least it's lower than the two copies on eBay (AUS$76 (http://www.ebay.com/itm/HOLST-THE-PLANETS-JAPANESE-SUITE-DVD-AUDIO-DJONG-VICTORIN-YU-PHILHARMONIA-O-/371272849532?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_15&hash=item567196187c) and AUS$65 (http://www.ebay.com/itm/HOLST-THE-PLANETS-JAPANESE-SUITE-SACD-hybrid-DJONG-VICTORIN-YU-PHILHARMONIA-/371272548946?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_15&hash=item5671918252)).

I don't have the CD (and I'm not about to get it any time soon, given those prices). I heard it on Spotify:

https://play.spotify.com/album/5l7WUFv9D4znnfl7aeisTd

I'll post the review for that one shortly.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: vandermolen on March 04, 2015, 04:42:12 AM
I probably have at least that number  ::)

Off the top of my head and from work as I am bored:

(not in any order)

Bernard Herrmann

Boult (1944 and last EMI version)

Holst

Steinberg

Solti

Hurst

Karajan (Decca or DGG)

Andrew Davis

Sargent (BBC version)



Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Christo on March 04, 2015, 07:04:55 AM
Hurst

Errr, Hurst. On CD?  ;)
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on March 04, 2015, 03:10:21 PM
I haven't listened to the Planets for years, but I looked up my old copy of Judd the other day - was rather shocked to hear an engineered fade-out finish to Neptune, rather than a sung diminuendo. ...

It sure sounds like a fade-out.

Then last night I downloaded Karajan/VPO (wow!) and blow me, I think that one's engineered as well - or at least, helped on its way. ...

Hmm. Maybe.

... Shame on you, John Culshaw!

But John seemed such a nice young man...
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on March 04, 2015, 03:50:31 PM
... I don't think you'll ever find every recording - have you come across Djong Victorin Yu - probably out of budget, if you must have hardcopy  :o



Here' the Yu review*:

Djong Victorin Yu, Philharmonia Orchestra, 1998 (https://petersplanets.wordpress.com/2015/01/01/yu-1998/)

(*Rhyme intended.)
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on March 04, 2015, 03:58:59 PM
Here's Mark Elder's live recording from the 1998 Proms (http://www.bbc.co.uk/proms/archive/search/1990s/1998/september-10/11577). It was released on CD, so it got reviewed:

Mark Elder, BBC National Orchestra of Wales, 1998 (https://petersplanets.wordpress.com/2015/01/01/elder-1998/)

Unfortunately, that recording isn't on Spotify. So unless you'd like a copy, you'll have to make do with just the words (and your imagination).

Unfortunately Part 2: There are a few Planets recordings in the list that aren't available on Spotify or YouTube. If anyone has any suggestions about how I can get you to hear the albums, I'm all ears and eyes.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: brunumb on March 05, 2015, 03:03:48 AM
Yep. That's been reviewed. I'll post that shortly.

Thank you very much Peter   :)
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: aukhawk on March 05, 2015, 04:24:13 AM
Here' the Yu review*:
Djong Victorin Yu, Philharmonia Orchestra, 1998 (https://petersplanets.wordpress.com/2015/03/04/yu-1998/)

Just FYI that link is wrong (the date bit has slipped) - but I found it at
Djong Victorin Yu, Philharmonia Orchestra, 1998 (https://petersplanets.wordpress.com/2015/01/01/yu-1998/)
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on March 05, 2015, 04:27:56 AM
Just FYI that link is wrong (the date bit has slipped) - but I found it at
Djong Victorin Yu, Philharmonia Orchestra, 1998 (https://petersplanets.wordpress.com/2015/01/01/yu-1998/)

Yeah, sorry about that, aukhawk. I've finally finalised the final list, and the numbering and sorting has begun.

I'll post all the updated links soon-ish.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: relm1 on March 05, 2015, 05:04:20 AM
I've finally finalised the final list, and the numbering and sorting has begun.

I'll post all the updated links soon-ish.

I thought for sure the process of your having listened to 90 some odd recordings of the planets would have a tremendous impact on how you assess the work in the first place, so that upon completion you would immediately start all over again but this time incorporating what you learned having already gone through this effort.  I am teasing of course… Your list is a valuable compendium.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Pat B on March 05, 2015, 10:31:55 AM
I thought for sure the process of your having listened to 90 some odd recordings of the planets would have a tremendous impact on how you assess the work in the first place, so that upon completion you would immediately start all over again but this time incorporating what you learned having already gone through this effort.  I am teasing of course… Your list is a valuable compendium.

Seriously, it might be interesting to go back and re-listen to the first few. But then, I can't really imagine undertaking this sort of project at all -- I probably would have burnt out by #30.

Peter, did you reconsider the Elder? Your write-up seemed relatively enthusiastic but then you ranked it in the middle of the pack. I'm curious about this one because there aren't many live recordings, and it's unsampleable.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on March 05, 2015, 02:28:00 PM
I thought for sure the process of your having listened to 90 some odd recordings of the planets would have a tremendous impact on how you assess the work in the first place, ...

It did. After listening to it x amount of times (a few hundred I guess), I came to realise the following things:


... so that upon completion you would immediately start all over again but this time incorporating what you learned having already gone through this effort. ...

Now there's an idea. (Peter's Recommended Planets, Redux. I like it!)

However, I have listened to most of the recordings more than once. In general, I try to listen to something three times before making any kind of assessment about it. But for the purposes of this Planets list, I made notes as I listened to each new recording.

... I am teasing of course… ...

No problem at all. Tease away, baby. But then again... Redux. Hmm.

... Your list is a valuable compendium.

Thanks.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on March 05, 2015, 02:42:19 PM
Seriously, it might be interesting to go back and re-listen to the first few. But then, I can't really imagine undertaking this sort of project at all -- I probably would have burnt out by #30.

It became surprisingly easy. I have no trouble listening to the same piece of music over and over again. And curiosity drove me to listen to more and more interpretations, as I was intensely interested in knowing one thing: "Is this new recording better than the others?"

I re-listened to quite a few of the recordings. Well, the ones I liked – I tended not to revisit the shabby ones. (Listening to Bernard Herrmann's catastrophe only once was more than enough for me.)

Peter, did you reconsider the Elder? Your write-up seemed relatively enthusiastic but then you ranked it in the middle of the pack. I'm curious about this one because there aren't many live recordings, and it's unsampleable.

"Unsampleable"? We shall see.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: André on March 05, 2015, 05:36:26 PM
It became surprisingly easy. I have no trouble listening to the same piece of music over and over again. And curiosity drove me to listen to more and more interpretations, as I was intensely interested in knowing one thing: "Is this new recording better than the others?"

I re-listened to quite a few of the recordings. Well, the ones I liked – I tended not to revisit the shabby ones. (Listening to Bernard Herrmann's catastrophe only once was more than enough for me.)

"Unsampleable"? We shall see.

I have gone through the same process with Bruckner's 8th symphony, listening to over 60 different versions - only to find out I didn't remember/recall all that had gone through/by in the first half or so... ::)... but willing to find out !
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on March 05, 2015, 05:46:03 PM
I have gone through the same process with Bruckner's 8th symphony, listening to over 60 different versions - only to find out I didn't remember/recall all that had gone through/by in the first half or so... ::)... but willing to find out !

I know where you're coming from, André.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: relm1 on March 06, 2015, 05:54:48 PM
It did. After listening to it x amount of times (a few hundred I guess), I came to realise the following things:

  • I've yet to hear a mistake-free The Planets. (It must be a monster to play.)
  • A couple of (very minor) things about the composition bother me. (But I'm not an orchestral composer, so I'm in no position to moan about compositional shortcomings.)


I would like to hear more about these points - I have performed it twice and am an orchestral composer...
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on March 06, 2015, 06:04:44 PM
The list is now complete:

https://petersplanets.wordpress.com/ (https://petersplanets.wordpress.com/)
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: North Star on March 06, 2015, 06:21:54 PM
The list is now complete:

https://petersplanets.wordpress.com/ (https://petersplanets.wordpress.com/)
And you recommend them all, huh?  8)
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: kishnevi on March 06, 2015, 08:01:40 PM
So both Holst and Colin Davis manage to place in both the top ten and bottom ten....
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on March 06, 2015, 09:15:36 PM
So both Holst and Colin Davis manage to place in both the top ten and bottom ten....

I didn't notice that bit of statistical weirdness.

Thanks for spotting it, JS.

Now that I'm aware of it, I think it successfully highlights the uselessness of lists.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on March 06, 2015, 10:21:53 PM
It did. After listening to it x amount of times (a few hundred I guess), I came to realise the following things:

  • I've yet to hear a mistake-free The Planets. (It must be a monster to play.)
  • A couple of (very minor) things about the composition bother me. (But I'm not an orchestral composer, so I'm in no position to moan about compositional shortcomings.)

I would like to hear more about these points - I have performed it twice and am an orchestral composer...

The Dutoit recording (https://petersplanets.wordpress.com/2015/01/01/dutoit-1986/) is the one with the least amount of mistakes. It has only one: In "Mars", a trumpet plays a slightly sharp note at 5:25 in the right channel.

As for the composition itself, there are two things that annoy me, and they both occur in "Uranus":

1. The ff trumpets-and-trombones fanfare that begins the piece (http://youtu.be/cjxBzMsHfRc). Because it comes straight after the transcendence of the last part of "Saturn" (http://youtu.be/mU04EScW4rM?t=6m29s) (The Calm Acceptance Of Mortality part – i.e., rehearsal number V onwards), it's always way too loud for me. And it doesn't matter how long the delay is between the end of "Saturn" and the beginning of "Uranus", that opening fanfare is way too loud. I don't know what Gusto was aiming for there with those blaring brass beasties, but I find it ear-splitting. Maybe he wanted to wake audiences up. (Who knows?) I would have much preferred a very quiet start to "Uranus", with a long crescendo to the main section.

2. The false ending (http://youtu.be/cjxBzMsHfRc?t=4m5s). After the climax with the organ glissando (http://youtu.be/cjxBzMsHfRc?t=4m2s) (at the end of rehearsal number VII), there are 29 more bars of music. Almost all of that music is played at pp (although the orchestra does play two bars of ff before rehearsal number X (http://youtu.be/cjxBzMsHfRc?t=4m52s), and then fff at X for a bar and a half (http://youtu.be/cjxBzMsHfRc?t=5m3s)). Unfortunately, in most recordings you can barely hear that music, which (for me anyway) results in the sensation of spending two or three minutes with virtually no sound. I think those very quiet bars are totally extraneous. I've read in a few places that the quietitude is supposed to be a trick The Big H plays on the listener, fooling you into believing the piece has ended when it actually hasn't, which is in keeping with the nature of the movement. I've also read that the last 10 bars (rehearsal number IX onwards), where the dynamic level drops down to ppp, are there to prepare you for "Neptune". Either way, I think everything after the climax with the organ is pointless.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Dax on March 07, 2015, 01:43:04 AM
It's his musical signature - GuStAv Holst. He was a trombonist . . .
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on March 07, 2015, 02:19:58 AM
It's his musical signature - GuStAv Holst. He was a trombonist . . .

I know – but does it have to be that loud?

By the way, I found out about Gustavo's musical calling card on BBC Radio 3 program Building A Library's episode on The Planets (http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p027rvhn).

Also by the way, David Owen Norris, the chap who hosted that episode, surveyed A Pile of Planets™. His favourite was the one by Paavo Järvi and the Cincinnati Orchestra (https://petersplanets.wordpress.com/2015/01/01/jarvi-2009/).
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: aukhawk on March 07, 2015, 02:21:59 AM
... it's always way too loud for me. And it doesn't matter how long the delay is between the end of "Saturn" and the beginning of "Uranus", that opening fanfare is way too loud.

I agree, I always feel that (well actually, I usually skip Uranus altogether).

But I suppose, in a concert hall -
1. The listener hasn't been edging the volume up to enjoy the last bars of Saturn to the full.
2. There's a visual cue (trombonists readying themselves and conductor waving arms frantically) to take the edge off the impact.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on March 07, 2015, 02:24:31 AM
2. There's a visual cue (trombonists readying themselves and conductor waving arms frantically) to take the edge off the impact.

Which gives you just enough time to stick your fingers in your ears.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: aukhawk on March 07, 2015, 03:17:50 AM
... or poke your neighbour's eye out.

Actually - if a trombonist spots you putting your fingers in your ears you'd better hope you don't meet him in a dark alley later.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: relm1 on March 07, 2015, 08:35:22 AM
The Dutoit recording (https://petersplanets.wordpress.com/2015/01/01/dutoit-1986/) is the one with the least amount of mistakes. It has only one: In "Mars", a trumpet plays a slightly sharp note at 5:25 in the right channel.

As for the composition itself, there are two things that annoy me, and they both occur in "Uranus":

1. The ff trumpets-and-trombones fanfare that begins the piece (http://youtu.be/cjxBzMsHfRc). Because it comes straight after the transcendence of the last part of "Saturn" (http://youtu.be/mU04EScW4rM?t=6m29s) (The Calm Acceptance Of Mortality part – i.e., rehearsal number V onwards), it's always way too loud for me. And it doesn't matter how long the delay is between the end of "Saturn" and the beginning of "Uranus", that opening fanfare is way too loud. I don't know what Gusto was aiming for there with those blaring brass beasties, but I find it ear-splitting. Maybe he wanted to wake audiences up. (Who knows?) I would have much preferred a very quiet start to "Uranus", with a long crescendo to the main section.

2. The false ending (http://youtu.be/cjxBzMsHfRc?t=4m5s). After the climax with the organ glissando (http://youtu.be/cjxBzMsHfRc?t=4m2s) (at the end of rehearsal number VII), there are 29 more bars of music. Almost all of that music is played at pp (although the orchestra does play two bars of ff before rehearsal number X (http://youtu.be/cjxBzMsHfRc?t=4m52s), and then fff at X for a bar and a half (http://youtu.be/cjxBzMsHfRc?t=5m3s)). Unfortunately, in most recordings you can barely hear that music, which (for me anyway) results in the sensation of spending two or three minutes with virtually no sound. I think those very quiet bars are totally extraneous. I've read in a few places that the quietitude is supposed to be a trick The Big H plays on the listener, fooling you into believing the piece has ended when it actually hasn't, which is in keeping with the nature of the movement. I've also read that the last 10 bars (rehearsal number IX onwards), where the dynamic level drops down to ppp, are there to prepare you for "Neptune". Either way, I think everything after the climax with the organ is pointless.

Hi Peter, those are good points. 

Regarding your comment "Dutoit has only one mistake on Mars", at rehearsal III of Mars, Dutoit has a noticeable mistake in the timpani during the organ swells (around 2:00 in the Dutoit Mars) where the timpani has repeated hits not found in the score making it sound like the two sets of timpani are out of sync with each other.  But I am in agreement that it is the best overall single disc version with huge climaxes, technical quality, and musicality.

Regarding the two annoyances about Uranus, here is my take on it.  I wouldn’t really consider these compositional but rather dramaturgical considerations (the opening too jarring and the ending drags and has an unneeded false ending).   My thinking of this is Saturn->Uranus->Neptune follow the astrological order.  Given the piece has such variety, what you are suggesting would result in the last half of the work having three movements in a row that all start quietly and end with a fade out.  If you consider the extra-musical source of inspiration being of Uranus being a magician, or conjurer then this movement is dealing with a magician and according to Key of Astrology from 1891, Uranus is the king of Aquarius, fond of curiosities, and of dabbling in the occult sciences.  Alan Leo's "Astrology for All" which inspired Holst's Planets, says they are "chaotic, diffusive, deceptive, tricksters and clever for their own ends…often boasting of things they cannot perform".   To me this has some parallels with Dukas's "Sorcerer’s Apprentice" and Strauss's "till eulenspiegel" of just a few years earlier. 

So - with this context I think you apply the dramaturgical considerations to Uranus.  Rather than having three slow burners in a row, for maximum contrast between the movements you would have slow Saturn, fast and loud Uranus, very still Neptune.  Also adding a mischievous chaotic conjurer does seem to imply rather nicely a false ending that keeps you in suspense till the dramatic final conjuring.  These are dramatic choices that I think are effective. 

LETS GET TECHNICAL
Musically, remember the opening theme of Uranus is G, E flat, A, B gets recalled at the end but now with interval augmentation.  The ending is not just a restatement of the opening theme but a development of it since the intervals have widened.  The ending crunch is a pedal E with C minor on top.  The C minor has E flat so you have a crunch between clear tonality and a huge pedal that is a minor second apart (or a major/minor chord).  A nice exposition and we've heard this a lot throughout The Planets.  These alternating major/minors and polychords are found frequently in the Planets.  The very last chord heard in Uranus is undefined.  It is E and B without a third so it could be major or minor.  I hear it as major because of the F9 that proceeds it.    Now what is very interesting is that if you hear the last chord of Uranus as E major as I do, it is the dominant (so maximum contrast) to A minor with a relative major of C major.  The very first notes in Neptune are in C major but the tonality is polytonal (the flat II of C major is a Neapolitan and a very spacey progression - John Williams uses it alot in ET for example) but by the time you hear the trombones in Neptune, they are playing an A minor chord.  The high notes are playing a G# minor (or A flat minor).  Very murky polychords which will be frequented in Neptune.  So A minor low and A flat minor high at the same time is very dissonant...maximum dissonance because all the notes are a half step apart (though separated by timbre and register).  My point in all of this is that take out some of the melodies and what you have going from the end of Uranus to the start of Neptune is an F9-> E major -> A minor+A flat minor.  How I see this is that Uranus last note is a very nice setup and segway to how Neptune begins with maximum contrast structurally.

I think what you have here is a very wide variety of musical material in the Planets with a large scale sense of structure - each sets up the next and that is why I think Uranus works well the way he constructed it and how it serves its dramatic, creative, and functional role.  He has brilliantly merged ambiguity and clarity within a large scale structure full of inventive variety and this makes it clear why the work is so popular that people would be willing to listen to 80 recordings back to back.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on March 07, 2015, 03:02:30 PM
Hi Peter, those are good points. 

Regarding your comment "Dutoit has only one mistake on Mars", at rehearsal III of Mars, Dutoit has a noticeable mistake in the timpani during the organ swells (around 2:00 in the Dutoit Mars) where the timpani has repeated hits not found in the score making it sound like the two sets of timpani are out of sync with each other. ...

Wow. Those timpani are mighty quiet. I can only just hear them. They certainly sound busier than they're meant to be.

Thanks for letting me know about it.

... But I am in agreement that it is the best overall single disc version with huge climaxes, technical quality, and musicality.

The Dutoit Planets (https://petersplanets.wordpress.com/2015/01/01/dutoit-1986/) does everything for me. (Well, everything Planets-related.)

Regarding the two annoyances about Uranus, here is my take on it.  I wouldn’t really consider these compositional but rather dramaturgical considerations (the opening too jarring and the ending drags and has an unneeded false ending).   My thinking of this is Saturn->Uranus->Neptune follow the astrological order.  Given the piece has such variety, what you are suggesting would result in the last half of the work having three movements in a row that all start quietly and end with a fade out.  If you consider the extra-musical source of inspiration being of Uranus being a magician, or conjurer then this movement is dealing with a magician and according to Key of Astrology from 1891, Uranus is the king of Aquarius, fond of curiosities, and of dabbling in the occult sciences.  Alan Leo's "Astrology for All" which inspired Holst's Planets, says they are "chaotic, diffusive, deceptive, tricksters and clever for their own ends…often boasting of things they cannot perform".   To me this has some parallels with Dukas's "Sorcerer’s Apprentice" and Strauss's "till eulenspiegel" of just a few years earlier. 

So - with this context I think you apply the dramaturgical considerations to Uranus.  Rather than having three slow burners in a row, for maximum contrast between the movements you would have slow Saturn, fast and loud Uranus, very still Neptune.  Also adding a mischievous chaotic conjurer does seem to imply rather nicely a false ending that keeps you in suspense till the dramatic final conjuring.  These are dramatic choices that I think are effective. 

LETS GET TECHNICAL
Musically, remember the opening theme of Uranus is G, E flat, A, B gets recalled at the end but now with interval augmentation.  The ending is not just a restatement of the opening theme but a development of it since the intervals have widened.  The ending crunch is a pedal E with C minor on top.  The C minor has E flat so you have a crunch between clear tonality and a huge pedal that is a minor second apart (or a major/minor chord).  A nice exposition and we've heard this a lot throughout The Planets.  These alternating major/minors and polychords are found frequently in the Planets.  The very last chord heard in Uranus is undefined.  It is E and B without a third so it could be major or minor.  I hear it as major because of the F9 that proceeds it.    Now what is very interesting is that if you hear the last chord of Uranus as E major as I do, it is the dominant (so maximum contrast) to A minor with a relative major of C major.  The very first notes in Neptune are in C major but the tonality is polytonal (the flat II of C major is a Neapolitan and a very spacey progression - John Williams uses it alot in ET for example) but by the time you hear the trombones in Neptune, they are playing an A minor chord.  The high notes are playing a G# minor (or A flat minor).  Very murky polychords which will be frequented in Neptune.  So A minor low and A flat minor high at the same time is very dissonant...maximum dissonance because all the notes are a half step apart (though separated by timbre and register).  My point in all of this is that take out some of the melodies and what you have going from the end of Uranus to the start of Neptune is an F9-> E major -> A minor+A flat minor.  How I see this is that Uranus last note is a very nice setup and segway to how Neptune begins with maximum contrast structurally.

I think what you have here is a very wide variety of musical material in the Planets with a large scale sense of structure - each sets up the next and that is why I think Uranus works well the way he constructed it and how it serves its dramatic, creative, and functional role.  He has brilliantly merged ambiguity and clarity within a large scale structure full of inventive variety and this makes it clear why the work is so popular that people would be willing to listen to 80 recordings back to back.

Thanks for going into as much detail as you did, relm1. It was enlightening.

I see the need for contrast between the movements, but does "Uranus"'s opening fanfare have to be that loud? How about the fanfare's first chord played mf or mp, and building up (via a crescendo) to the last chord played fff?. It's only four chords, so the crescendo won't take long. I can live with that. And I'd rather hear "Uranus" end loudly, with a bang. It may be clichéd, but that's what I want to hear. For me, it'd provide maximum contrast with the following "Neptune".

With regard to the tail end of "Uranus" as it is (as opposed to what I want it to be), there's only one recording where it does make sense: Sir Simon Rattle's 1981 recording with the Philharmonia Orchestra (https://petersplanets.wordpress.com/2015/01/01/rattle-1981/). I listened to it again yesterday, and it's in this recording that I actually "got it".
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: relm1 on March 07, 2015, 05:23:41 PM
Wow. Those timpani are mighty quiet. I can only just hear them. They certainly sound busier than they're meant to be.

Thanks for letting me know about it.

The Dutoit Planets (https://petersplanets.wordpress.com/2015/01/01/dutoit-1986/) does everything for me. (Well, everything Planets-related.)

Thanks for going into as much detail as you did, relm1. It was enlightening.

I see the need for contrast between the movements, but does "Uranus"'s opening fanfare have to be that loud? How about the fanfare's first chord played mf or mp, and building up (via a crescendo) to the last chord played fff?. It's only four chords, so the crescendo won't take long. I can live with that. And I'd rather hear "Uranus" end loudly, with a bang. It may be clichéd, but that's what I want to hear. For me, it'd provide maximum contrast with the following "Neptune".

With regard to the tail end of "Uranus" as it is (as opposed to what I want it to be), there's only one recording where it does make sense: Sir Simon Rattle's 1981 recording with the Philharmonia Orchestra (https://petersplanets.wordpress.com/2015/01/01/rattle-1981/). I listened to it again yesterday, and it's in this recording that I actually "got it".

Question for you, I am curious what if any performances of planets you have heard live and how you rank those?  I have heard Dutoit play it with the San Francisco Symphony plus a few other orchestras including my university orchestra and seeing it is interesting because you feel and see the percussion in action in Uranus.  Sort of like how seeing the orchestra play the most intense moments of Rite of Spring makes one hear it differently.

The thing that bugs me about the timpani in Dutoit/Mars (just that one moment) is it was a studio recording so they could have easily fixed it (or that's the best take) and it is jarring for me because this movement is a freaking rhythmic ostinato!  If something plays against the rhythm, it is problematic.  It was only for 2 seconds but still.  That is why in my edit, I actually used a different recording for that one section because the rest of dutoit/mars is so damn intense.  I will check out the Rattle/Philharmonia/Uranus in a few minutes.  It sounds like you have good dramatic instincts but it is a different story you are telling.  Maybe one day, if I have time, I will do a revision of Uranus following your approach to show you the result.  It would be interesting to use that material but adapt it dramatically and see how it fits.

EDIT (after hearing Rattle/Philharmonia/Uranus): Do you know if this was a live recording?  I know I can be picky but poor brass entrance.  This is definitely an exciting version.  Not the greatest technically (a few other very minor flubs).  Wow – big organ.  By the way, when I played it, I was the bass trombone so I had that low E at the end.  VERY big moment!  So I have a personal connection.  One thing I must confess is that through our discussion, I tended to slightly dismiss Uranus as too Technicolor and preferring how evocative Saturn and Neptune were.  But what I have come to realize is Uranus plays a pivotal role in the grand scheme of the work as a whole.   It is sort of like how Beethoven transitioned in Symphony No. 5 from the scherzo to the finale.

So what was it about Rattle '81 that made you get the movement?  I felt others did it better justice.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: brunumb on March 07, 2015, 06:52:50 PM
The list is now complete:

https://petersplanets.wordpress.com/ (https://petersplanets.wordpress.com/)

Epic task.  Well done PPP.   8)

I didn't have the Dutoit or the Ozawa but based on your reviews I ordered them both from Amazon UK.  They were incredibly cheap, so no great risk involved.  I have a nagging feeling that I bought the Dutoit ages ago and got rid of it because I didn't like it.  It will be interesting to see what difference a few decades can make.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on March 07, 2015, 11:01:58 PM
Question for you, I am curious what if any performances of planets you have heard live and how you rank those? ...

None I'm afraid. The combination of living in South Australia (I don't know if there have ever been any performances of The Planets here in Adelaide (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adelaide)) and being housebound since 1987 (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia) has put a dampener on any live-Planets-related escapades. But at least I can hear it on CD.

... I have heard Dutoit play it with the San Francisco Symphony plus a few other orchestras including my university orchestra and seeing it is interesting because you feel and see the percussion in action in Uranus. ...

I would love to attend a performance of The Planets. The thrill of having your hair blow back when the brass lets rip, the sheer physical feeling of having your entire body shake when the organ cranks up... Yes please.

... Sort of like how seeing the orchestra play the most intense moments of Rite of Spring makes one hear it differently.

The thing that bugs me about the timpani in Dutoit/Mars (just that one moment) is it was a studio recording so they could have easily fixed it (or that's the best take) and it is jarring for me because this movement is a freaking rhythmic ostinato! ...

Yep. Ever since studio editing became available, I've been puzzled why some horrendous and can't-miss-'em mistakes have been allowed to stay in recordings, there for all perpetuity as an unhelpful (and permanent) reminder of an "Oops" moment from a musician. When mistakes are there (in the post-editing era), I wonder why they were left in. Didn't anyone associated with the recording notice them? I especially wonder about conductors, who are theoretically at the helm of everything. Aren't they all eagle-eared, and can spot a mistake a kilometre away? ("You. Yes, you, triangle player. When the full orchestra played fff, I heard your ppp tap on the triangle a millisecond late. That will not do, triangle player. You're fired.") And what about the producers and engineers. Don't they scrutinise every aspect of the recording to make sure they have the best performance possible?

... If something plays against the rhythm, it is problematic.  It was only for 2 seconds but still.  That is why in my edit, I actually used a different recording for that one section because the rest of dutoit/mars is so damn intense.  I will check out the Rattle/Philharmonia/Uranus in a few minutes.  It sounds like you have good dramatic instincts but it is a different story you are telling.  Maybe one day, if I have time, I will do a revision of Uranus following your approach to show you the result.  It would be interesting to use that material but adapt it dramatically and see how it fits.

Please don't go to any extra effort on my account. There's an extremely large chance that, after months of you toiling away, I'll have a quick look at what you've done and say, "That's nice."

EDIT (after hearing Rattle/Philharmonia/Uranus): Do you know if this was a live recording? ...

Nope. According to the CD booklet:

"Recorded in Kingsway Hall, London, 29 & 30 December 1980."

... I know I can be picky but poor brass entrance.  This is definitely an exciting version.  Not the greatest technically (a few other very minor flubs).  Wow – big organ. ...

The thing I like most about Simon's 1981 recording (https://petersplanets.wordpress.com/2015/01/01/rattle-1981/) is its enthusiasm. It's everything that his 2006 remake with the Berliners (https://petersplanets.wordpress.com/2015/01/01/rattle-2006/) isn't.

... By the way, when I played it, I was the bass trombone so I had that low E at the end.  VERY big moment!  So I have a personal connection.  One thing I must confess is that through our discussion, I tended to slightly dismiss Uranus as too Technicolor and preferring how evocative Saturn and Neptune were.  But what I have come to realize is Uranus plays a pivotal role in the grand scheme of the work as a whole.   It is sort of like how Beethoven transitioned in Symphony No. 5 from the scherzo to the finale.

So what was it about Rattle '81 that made you get the movement?  I felt others did it better justice.

What spoke to me in Simon's 1981 recording of "Uranus" was something as simple as being able to hear clearly all the pp stuff The Holster had written. Because I could hear it, I finally understood how it fit in with Gusto's conception of the movement. In other words, thanks to Simon, the last half of "Uranus" made sense.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on March 07, 2015, 11:31:45 PM
Epic task.  Well done PPP.   8)

Thanks, brunumb. It was enormous fun.

I didn't have the Dutoit or the Ozawa but based on your reviews I ordered them both from Amazon UK.  They were incredibly cheap, so no great risk involved. ...

Excellent. Most of my CDs were bought on eBay for between AUS$4.50 and AUS$12 each. (The Ozawa was AUS$9. I already had the Dutoit.) The dearest ones were the most recent: I bought two discs yesterday on Amazon.co.uk. They're both by Sir Malcolm Sargent (his BBC Symphony Orchestra recordings: 1958 studio (http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B0001ZMBTW), and 1965 live (http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B000025U4N)). The total came to AUS$28.

Now, because there are three more recordings out there that I haven't heard (they're at the end of The List (https://petersplanets.wordpress.com/) on the blog, and that live Sargent recording is one of them), I don't feel the list is complete. For me, it will be once I've heard every Planets recording that has ever been released on CD.

... I have a nagging feeling that I bought the Dutoit ages ago and got rid of it because I didn't like it. ...

That's entirely possible. With me, though, and on more than one occasion, I've bought a CD, wait for it to arrive, then go to the letterbox all excited, open the package, and then say: "Hey, I already have that CD."

... It will be interesting to see what difference a few decades can make.

Yes indeed.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: vandermolen on March 08, 2015, 03:19:14 AM
Errr, Hurst. On CD?  ;)

LP only I fear.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Christo on March 08, 2015, 03:22:20 AM
Epic task.  Well done PPP.   8)

Fully seconded, great job! I can now conclude that I'm the happy owner of Nos. 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 11, 12, 17, 19, 23, 31, 32, 35, 36, 44, 45, 51, 55, 58, 64, 70, in your ranking. Plus the Sargent BBC Radio live (1965) that you're still waiting for. And of course Planets for synthesizer (Rick Wakeman c.s. really horrible :-X) and the two-pianos version.

My own test has always been: try Saturn first, my favourite movement, and if that's okay I'll finish with a hopefully boisterous Uranus and mystic Neptune. This triptych is my personal highlight, a three-part 'symphony' on its own. If they really warmed me, I'll try the first four - a more classical symphony, with Venus as the slow movement and Neptune as a scherzo - as well.

BTW, my Decca Solti 1979 (No. 44 in your list) is with the London Philharmonic and 'ladies of the London PO'), not the LSO. I now see in your review that's indeed the LPO.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: aukhawk on March 08, 2015, 04:09:58 AM
Yep. Ever since studio editing became available, I've been puzzled why some horrendous and can't-miss-'em mistakes have been allowed to stay in recordings, there for all perpetuity as an unhelpful (and permanent) reminder of an "Oops" moment from a musician. When mistakes are there (in the post-editing era), I wonder why they were left in. Didn't anyone associated with the recording notice them? I especially wonder about conductors, who are theoretically at the helm of everything. Aren't they all eagle-eared, and can spot a mistake a kilometre away?

That's really the producer's job, I think.  One explanation for this is time snd money - orchestras are expensive things and traditionally orchestral musicians are great clock-watchers or should I say, belong to strong unions.  But also, I think musicians are very performance-oriented, and prefer to turn a blind ear to mistakes which in the concert perfomance situation, would be easy to overlook.

Two great books which I expect you already know but which illustrate these things - the classic Ring Resounding by John Culshaw, essential reading, very much concerns itself with time pressures in recording sessions (and to a lesser extent, with highly strung musical personalities) - and the Cambridge Companion to Recorded Music which is a compilation of thought-provoking essays, has a lot to say about the musician's love-hate relationship with the recording process and the unreasonable requirement for 'perfection'.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Christo on March 08, 2015, 04:44:27 AM
LP only I fear.

Many thanks! I asked, because PPP was looking in vain for a CD incarnation, see his review:

As far as I’m aware, this version by George Hurst and the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra was released on vinyl in 1974 and then disappeared without a trace. I don’t know why, because Georgeous George’s version presses all the right buttons for me.  (....)
I want to buy this version of The Planets so bad, but I can’t find it on CD anywhere. I found it on Spotify (see above), where it’s the first half of an album called Gustav Holst: The Planets And Other Unearthly Music. Was it ever released on CD?
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: aukhawk on March 08, 2015, 05:18:31 AM
Gustav Holst: The Planets And Other Unearthly Music. (Hurst BPO)

Amazon (UK) has that for download, but not as CD.  Search on 'holst planets unearthly".
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Mirror Image on March 08, 2015, 06:39:25 AM
You've got to admire Peter's dedication to The Planets. I haven't read every review he's posted, but I read a few of them and all of have been very good. My favorite Planets, however, is still Bernstein's with Boult's later performance on EMI coming in a close second place. 8)
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: relm1 on March 08, 2015, 07:50:40 AM
Yep. Ever since studio editing became available, I've been puzzled why some horrendous and can't-miss-'em mistakes have been allowed to stay in recordings, there for all perpetuity as an unhelpful (and permanent) reminder of an "Oops" moment from a musician. When mistakes are there (in the post-editing era), I wonder why they were left in. Didn't anyone associated with the recording notice them? I especially wonder about conductors, who are theoretically at the helm of everything. Aren't they all eagle-eared, and can spot a mistake a kilometre away? ("You. Yes, you, triangle player. When the full orchestra played fff, I heard your ppp tap on the triangle a millisecond late. That will not do, triangle player. You're fired.") And what about the producers and engineers. Don't they scrutinise every aspect of the recording to make sure they have the best performance possible?

I went to see Mahler's Symphony No. 6 in concert yesterday.  One thing that I realized is how much people listen during contrasts like just before the ending when the music pulls down to the extreme quiet.  The last notes are the quietest in the entire 80 minute work.  Total quiet with just one long note held forever...then all of a sudden the biggest smack from the terrifying final blows never fails to make me jump.  Sometimes when my conductor thinks we aren't listening to him or each other he whispers rather than yell because that makes us listen more closely.   It just made me think at the end of Uranus that Holst was probably going for something like that.  With Dutoit level super quiet really drawing us in to deeper listening so when the final smack on the head happens it packs an even more powerful punch...great writing from Holst!

Regarding the discussion of studio recordings and why noticeable errors aren't fixed, yes the cost and time pressures are in conflict with quality and artistry.  So judgements are made and sometimes they hope these issues can be fixed in post production (sort of like using photoshop to cover blemishes on a model - the end result is so much photoshop that it because a false ideal).  I am sure the conductor noticed but probably hoped the post process could address it rather than getting 100 piece orchestra and studio time to redo that one passage because otherwise you'll have hundreds of microedits.  I also believe there is a judgement to be made between technical and musical quality.  Of course when these elements are merged is best but sometimes the more musical performance is less technically polished and a judgement of which gets used opening up the recording to scrutiny either way.  I think we are in a stage where technical quality outweighs the musical quality.  So you get extensive edits to address issues but the grand scheme of the work is sometimes lost.  For example, I find the Michael Tilson Thomas Mahler recordings to be technically very strong but they are extremely edited.  You lose the sense of an occasion you had with the 1980's Bernstein or Tennstedt - those great conductors who had exceptional large scale control, vision and execution but might have let slip in a performance problem from time to time because the execution was just so good.  Perfect example of this is Mahler's 1960's cycle with Bernstein/NYPhil which is a way better interpretation than the 1980's DG but was less polished and controlled (youthful exuberance in abundance). 

I agree with you that no single recording of Holst's masterwork is perfect which means there will be more recordings aiming to add or address something.  So I predict we will all be discussing your list of 160 recordings of the Planets in ten years from now.

Sorry to hear of your health issues and hope you attend a performance sometime.  I know the musicianship in Australia is very strong and you might make it out to attend a university performance of Planets at least.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: vandermolen on March 08, 2015, 08:57:31 AM
Many thanks! I asked, because PPP was looking in vain for a CD incarnation, see his review:

Yes, he is right. Saturn is by far my favourite movement too.

PS the CFP James Loughran version is very good too and is available on CD.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Mirror Image on March 08, 2015, 09:17:26 AM
Yes, he is right. Saturn is by far my favourite movement too.

+1 Absolutely haunting movement.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Sergeant Rock on March 08, 2015, 09:22:07 AM
My Planets:

5. HOLST           LSO
12. BERNSTEIN  NEW YORK
32. BOULT (79)  LPO
36. KARAJAN      VIENNA PHIL
37. RATTLE        PHILHARMONIA
42. PREVIN        RPO
43. STEINBERG  BOSTON
50. GARDINER   PHILHARMONIA
58. MEHTA         NEW YORK
70. MAAZEL        O NAT FRANCE
76. HERRMANN   LSO

Apparently I chose unwisely, mostly  ;D

Sarge
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: aukhawk on March 08, 2015, 10:26:47 AM
Oh I dunno, you could have done worse - David Owen Norris for BBC's Building a Library chose Järvi - No.40 in the list - and also liked Norrington (69) Colin Davis (75) and Herrmann.
(As well as, to be fair, Dutoit, Elder and Stokowski.)
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Pat B on March 08, 2015, 11:52:23 AM
My inventory, by Peter's ranking.

1 Dutoit
6 Goodman
30 Boult 1967
32 Boult 1978
36 Karajan 1961
50 Gardiner
59 Y-P. Tortelier

And have heard a few others.

My own ranking would move both Boults (and maybe Tortelier) up, Dutoit and Goodman down. For years Boult 1978 was my only recording, but if pressed for a current favorite I'd say his 1967.

I have 3 more in the Pile or on order:
2 Ozawa
34 Elder 1998
43 Steinberg

I probably wouldn't have considered Ozawa but for Peter's enthusiasm -- I listened skeptically to samples and it sounded fantastic. Elder was also Peter-inspired (from his description, not his ranking); also I wanted to hear a live recording, and this one was much cheaper at the time than the Jurowski. Steinberg seems surprisingly polarizing; I'm not sure I'll like it, but I got the version coupled with Ligeti's Lux Aeterna, which I wanted anyway.

There are a couple others I want, but I'm hoping to keep my collection from getting totally out of hand (recognizing that at 10 recordings, it is already mildly out of hand).
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Moonfish on March 08, 2015, 12:37:02 PM
Hmm, I wonder if Peter dreams about the Planets at night (and during the day) after this long inspiring (exhausting?) journey through Holstian space...?

What's next?  ;)     >:D
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Sergeant Rock on March 08, 2015, 01:00:37 PM
I probably wouldn't have considered Ozawa but for Peter's enthusiasm

Ozawa's is the one that grabbed me too from 3P's reviews. The German Amazon marketplace has quite a few copies, cheap. But do I really need another Planets? There's the rub.

Sarge
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Christo on March 08, 2015, 01:07:59 PM
Perhaps this CD - Yutaka Sado conducting the NHK SO -  was overlooked? ::) (Or I missed a good reason not to include it):
 (http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/61mLhPJ2w%2BL._SY355_.jpg)
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Moonfish on March 08, 2015, 01:10:57 PM
Ozawa's is the one that grabbed me too from 3P's reviews. The German Amazon marketplace has quite a few copies, cheap. But do I really need another Planets? There's the rub.

Sarge

Did Ozawa just record it once with the Boston SO? When I listened to it back in December it did not do much for me...
This is truly a subjective realm!!

http://www.good-music-guide.com/community/index.php/topic,21492.msg857580.html#msg857580 (http://www.good-music-guide.com/community/index.php/topic,21492.msg857580.html#msg857580)
Is this the same recording?



The Philips recording can be found in the recent Ozawa compilation:

Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Mirror Image on March 08, 2015, 01:16:29 PM
What's next?  ;)     >:D

Stravinsky's Le sacre du printemps?
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: TheGSMoeller on March 08, 2015, 03:23:25 PM

What's next?  ;)     >:D

Bruckner 6th? No, seriously, I have about 10 new recordings since the BC.  :laugh:
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: TheGSMoeller on March 08, 2015, 03:49:58 PM
Great job, Peter. Thanks for this insightful journey.

My favorites have always been Dutoit/Montreal and Mehta/NYP (1989). But I am so glad I've discovered the Gardiner/Philharmonia recording. Really anxious to get it on disc.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on March 08, 2015, 03:57:47 PM
Fully seconded, great job! I can now conclude that I'm the happy owner of Nos. 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 11, 12, 17, 19, 23, 31, 32, 35, 36, 44, 45, 51, 55, 58, 64, 70, in your ranking. Plus the Sargent BBC Radio live (1965) that you're still waiting for. And of course Planets for synthesizer (Rick Wakeman c.s. really horrible :-X) ...

I haven't heard the Jeff Wayne/Rick Wakeman/Kevin Peek prog-rock version of Them Planets (http://www.discogs.com/Jeff-Wayne-Rick-Wakeman-Kevin-Peek-Beyond-The-Planets/release/943057). I reckon I can wait a little longer to hear it.

... and the two-pianos version.

I haven't heard that. But I have heard the organ version of "Mars". It's massive.

https://www.youtube.com/v/CwZkAgGuNdU

My own test has always been: try Saturn first, my favourite movement, and if that's okay I'll finish with a hopefully boisterous Uranus and mystic Neptune. This triptych is my personal highlight, a three-part 'symphony' on its own. If they really warmed me, I'll try the first four - a more classical symphony, with Venus as the slow movement and Neptune as a scherzo - as well.

I think that's a fascinating way to approach Them Thar Planets. I just listen to it from start to finish.

BTW, my Decca Solti 1979 (No. 44 in your list) is with the London Philharmonic and 'ladies of the London PO'), not the LSO. I now see in your review that's indeed the LPO.

Thanks for spotting that, Christo. It's been fixed (https://petersplanets.wordpress.com/2015/01/01/solti-1978/).
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on March 08, 2015, 04:01:56 PM
Gustav Holst: The Planets And Other Unearthly Music. (Hurst BPO)

Amazon (UK) has that for download, but not as CD.  Search on 'holst planets unearthly".

You can find 'em here:

Amazon.co.uk – MP3 download (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Holst-Planets-Other-Unearthly-Music/dp/B001TUKC3K)
Amazon.com – CD-R on demand (http://www.amazon.com/Holst-Planets-Other-Unearthly-Music/dp/B003TFES4M)
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on March 08, 2015, 04:06:08 PM
 ;D
My Planets:

 5. HOLST          LSO
12. BERNSTEIN  NEW YORK
32. BOULT (79)  LPO
36. KARAJAN      VIENNA PHIL
37. RATTLE        PHILHARMONIA
42. PREVIN        RPO
43. STEINBERG  BOSTON
50. GARDINER   PHILHARMONIA
58. MEHTA         NEW YORK
70. MAAZEL        O NAT FRANCE
76. HERRMANN   LSO

Apparently I chose unwisely, mostly  ;D

Sarge

Each to their own, baby. Each to their own.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on March 08, 2015, 04:10:31 PM
Oh I dunno, you could have done worse - David Owen Norris for BBC's Building a Library chose Järvi - No.40 in the list - and also liked Norrington (69) Colin Davis (75) and Herrmann.
(As well as, to be fair, Dutoit, Elder and Stokowski.)

That Building a Library episode focusing on The Planets can be found here:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p027rvhn (http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p027rvhn)
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on March 08, 2015, 04:30:27 PM
My inventory, by Peter's ranking.

1 Dutoit
6 Goodman
30 Boult 1967
32 Boult 1978
36 Karajan 1961
50 Gardiner
59 Y-P. Tortelier

And have heard a few others.

My own ranking would move both Boults (and maybe Tortelier) up, Dutoit and Goodman down. For years Boult 1978 was my only recording, but if pressed for a current favorite I'd say his 1967.

I have 3 more in the Pile or on order:
2 Ozawa
34 Elder 1998
43 Steinberg

Excellent.

I probably wouldn't have considered Ozawa but for Peter's enthusiasm -- ...

Sorry about that.

... I listened skeptically to samples and it sounded fantastic. Elder was also Peter-inspired (from his description, not his ranking); also I wanted to hear a live recording, and this one was much cheaper at the time than the Jurowski. ...

You can't go wrong with Mark Elder's 1998 live recording (http://www.amazon.com/Sorcerers-Apprentice-Scherzo-Fantastique-Dukas/dp/B000026CU2). It's fabulous. (Oops. There I go with the hyperbole again.)

...Steinberg seems surprisingly polarizing; I'm not sure I'll like it, but I got the version coupled with Ligeti's Lux Aeterna, which I wanted anyway.

The Steinberg I bought was this one:

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41ANM6QM7SL.jpg) (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Holst-Planets-Elgar-Enigma-Variations/dp/B000025WU2)

The coupling is a fantastic Elgar Enigma Variations conducted by Eugen Jochum:

https://www.youtube.com/v/i1bkeaWRhYE

But I must admit I bought the Steinberg Planets more out of a sense of duty than desire. (In the words of Pokémon, "Gotta catch 'em all! (http://youtu.be/SVp-zIONsrs)")

There are a couple others I want, but I'm hoping to keep my collection from getting totally out of hand (recognizing that at 10 recordings, it is already mildly out of hand).

10 is a nice round number. But so is 20, and 30, and 40...
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on March 08, 2015, 04:37:10 PM
Stravinsky's Le sacre du printemps?

That's not a bad idea.

But I went through a Rite of Spring phase last year. I listened to about 20 or so versions, and my favourite ended up being the 1987 recording by Riccardo Chailly (http://www.amazon.com/Stravinsky-Printemps-Petrushka-Musagete-Firebird/dp/B00008MLU2). It's stunning.

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51nslynTxxL.jpg) (http://www.amazon.com/Stravinsky-Printemps-Petrushka-Musagete-Firebird/dp/B00008MLU2)
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on March 08, 2015, 04:48:35 PM

[snip]

I agree with you that no single recording of Holst's masterwork is perfect which means there will be more recordings aiming to add or address something.  So I predict we will all be discussing your list of 160 recordings of the Planets in ten years from now.

Yes please.

Sorry to hear of your health issues ...

No sweat. I manage. (Music helps enormously.)

... and hope you attend a performance sometime.  I know the musicianship in Australia is very strong and you might make it out to attend a university performance of Planets at least.

I'd like that. But logistically, The Planets is such an unwieldy beast that I doubt it's going to performed here any time soon. (Concert Program Manager on the Phone: "Can I order one incredibly large orchestra for March the 10th please? No? What? There aren't that many musicians in South Australia?")
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on March 08, 2015, 04:55:26 PM
Hmm, I wonder if Peter dreams about the Planets at night (and during the day) after this long inspiring (exhausting?) journey through Holstian space...?

Nope. But I frequently wake up in the morning with one or more Planets tunes stuck in my head.

What's next?  ;)     >:D

I hadn't thought of a "next".

But if you want to suggest anything, my official response is: "Go for it."
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on March 08, 2015, 04:58:18 PM
Ozawa's is the one that grabbed me too from 3P's reviews. The German Amazon marketplace has quite a few copies, cheap. But do I really need another Planets?  ...

If it's Ozawa, then the answer is yes. Yes you do.

...There's the rub.

Sarge

As Jerry Seinfeld may have said, "There's no rub! No rub!"
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on March 08, 2015, 05:01:08 PM
Perhaps this CD - Yutaka Sado conducting the NHK SO -  was overlooked? ::) (Or I missed a good reason not to include it):
 (http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/61mLhPJ2w%2BL._SY355_.jpg)

Ooh, another one!

Must. Find. Sado.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on March 08, 2015, 05:16:57 PM
Did Ozawa just record it once with the Boston SO?

Yep (http://www.discogs.com/Holst-Boston-Symphony-Orchestra-Conducted-By-Seiji-Ozawa-The-Planets/master/490490).

When I listened to it back in December it did not do much for me...

Fair enough.

This is truly a subjective realm!!

It sure is.

http://www.good-music-guide.com/community/index.php/topic,21492.msg857580.html#msg857580 (http://www.good-music-guide.com/community/index.php/topic,21492.msg857580.html#msg857580)

Is this the same recording?


It is.

The Philips recording can be found in the recent Ozawa compilation:



Eep! Buying a 50-disc box (http://www.amazon.com/The-Philips-Years-Seiji-Ozawa/dp/B00MG8V7MY) set is a pretty drastic way to get Ozawa's Planets. I mean, I like Say-You-Say-Me-Say-Iji a lot, but 50 discs? Hooley dooley, that's a lot of shelf space to take up.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on March 08, 2015, 05:50:59 PM
Bruckner 6th? No, seriously, I have about 10 new recordings since the BC.  :laugh:

I'm unfamiliar with Bruckner. The only thing of his I've heard is his (apparently) most popular symphony, the one with the tune in the finale that gets repeated over and over again.

I've read in plenty of places that Bruckner is great ("enormous orchestral edifices", "cathedrals of sound" etc.), but I don't have any burning urges to hear his music.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on March 08, 2015, 05:54:28 PM
Great job, Peter. Thanks for this insightful journey.

My pleasure.

My favorites have always been Dutoit/Montreal and Mehta/NYP (1989). But I am so glad I've discovered the Gardiner/Philharmonia recording. Really anxious to get it on disc.

It's ultra-cheap on eBay (http://www.ebay.com/itm/Holst-The-Planets-Percy-Grainger-The-Warriors-CD-1995-/351120640282), and I'll be buying it as soon I get more Planets money.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: NJ Joe on March 08, 2015, 06:46:08 PM
My Planets:

1.   Dutoit
12. Bernstein
36. Karajan
43. Steinberg
50. Gardiner

I heard Rattle's Berlin recording (48) blind a few months ago and want to eventually get it.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: kishnevi on March 08, 2015, 07:00:55 PM
BTW I have ordered the Dutoit off Amazon MP.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on March 08, 2015, 08:10:46 PM
And you recommend them all, huh?  8)

To remove that semantic problem, I've renamed the blog Peter's Planets:

https://petersplanets.wordpress.com/ (https://petersplanets.wordpress.com/)

But that only creates a new semantic problem. ("Peter's Planets"? Really? They're Peter's planets? No-one else's?)

I could give it the more accurate title, Peter Listened To A Lot Of Planets CD And Mentions Them All, but I won't. I'll keep it as Peter's Planets. Unless someone can come up with a better name.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on March 08, 2015, 08:39:35 PM
Bruckner 6th? No, seriously, I have about 10 new recordings since the BC.  :laugh:

Oh, I forgot to ask earlier about your avatar:

(http://www.brightcecilia.com/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=4581&d=1259914658)

Is Nikolaus ripping apart an imaginary phone book? Or exercising with his invisible bullworker?
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on March 08, 2015, 08:48:25 PM
My Planets:

1.   Dutoit
12. Bernstein
36. Karajan
43. Steinberg
50. Gardiner

I heard Rattle's Berlin recording (48) blind a few months ago and want to eventually get it.

If you're OK with secondhand (but apparently "very good"):

$0.82 – Zoverstocks at Amazon.com (http://www.amazon.com/gp/offer-listing/B000H80LEK/)

Come to think of it, I wouldn't mind buying it at that price. But shipping to Australia is AUS$15. [Insert un-smiley face here]
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Moonfish on March 08, 2015, 09:37:57 PM
Nope. But I frequently wake up in the morning with one or more Planets tunes stuck in my head.

I hadn't thought of a "next".

But if you want to suggest anything, my official response is: "Go for it."

I have Elgar pieces wandering in my mind... :D

Beethoven's 'Eroica' would perhaps be an interesting challenge..?   ::)
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on March 08, 2015, 10:30:35 PM
Perhaps this CD - Yutaka Sado conducting the NHK SO -  was overlooked? ::) (Or I missed a good reason not to include it):
 (http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/61mLhPJ2w%2BL._SY355_.jpg)

I've added it to the unheard pile (at the bottom of the page):

https://petersplanets.wordpress.com/ (https://petersplanets.wordpress.com/)

Thanks for letting me know about it, Christo.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Christo on March 08, 2015, 10:33:41 PM
Thanks for letting me know about it, Christo.

Many thanks. It was only released recently (again?), I now observed - that will be the reason. And yep, it's far too expensive. :)
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on March 08, 2015, 10:35:11 PM
Many thanks. It was only released recently, I now observed - that will be the reason.  :)

Ah, righty-o. And that would explain why it's currently way out of my price range.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: brunumb on March 08, 2015, 11:31:23 PM
If you're OK with secondhand (but apparently "very good"):

$0.82 – Zoverstocks at Amazon.com (http://www.amazon.com/gp/offer-listing/B000H80LEK/)

Come to think of it, I wouldn't mind buying it at that price. But shipping to Australia is AUS$15. [Insert un-smiley face here]

The shipping rate is actually US$14.99.  When you factor in the exchange rate that comes to about AU$19.50 just for postage  >:(
If you buy an item from Amazon rather than a marketplace seller the shipping rate overseas is only US$4.99   >:D
Amazon US effectively killed off all my purchasing from their marketplace sellers   :(
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on March 08, 2015, 11:48:17 PM
I have Elgar pieces wandering in my mind... :D

Beethoven's 'Eroica' would perhaps be an interesting challenge..?   ::)

I'd probably pass on that one. If I started evaluating Eroicas, I'd probably want to pester the whole cycle. No, make that "definitely". (One symphony's not enough!)

Er, I don't want to contemplate the thought of comparing Beethoven symphony cycles – even though I now am. ("No, Peter, be strong. Don't think about the Beethoven symphonies. Not even one of them.")

Plus, the prospect of doing anything by Beethoven is fraught with difficulty. First, a lot of music fans tend to be terribly partisan about recordings of the symphonies, depending on which group they belong to. And there are plenty of The Only Way To Listen To Beethoven groups. There's:


etc.

And the fans in each of those groups usually don't talk to each other unless it's to engage in bellicose snarkiness.

Wading in amongst all of that is not for me.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Moonfish on March 09, 2015, 12:01:12 AM
I'd probably pass on that one. If I started evaluating Eroicas, I'd probably want to pester the whole cycle. No, make that "definitely". (One symphony's not enough!)

Er, I don't want to contemplate the thought of comparing Beethoven symphony cycles – even though I now am. ("No, Peter, be strong. Don't think about the Beethoven symphonies. Not even one of them.")

Plus, the prospect of doing anything by Beethoven is fraught with difficulty. First, a lot of music fans tend to be terribly partisan about recordings of the symphonies, depending on which group they belong to. And there are plenty of The Only Way To Listen To Beethoven groups. There's:

  • Mono Beethoven
  • Stereo Beethoven
  • Old-School Beethoven
  • Modern Beethoven
  • Romantic Beetrhoven
  • Classical Beetrhoven
  • Speed-Demon Beethoven
  • Period-Instrument Beethoven
  • Pro-Karajan Beethoven
  • Anti-Karajan Beethoven
  • Germanic Beethoven
  • American Beethoven

etc.

And the fans in each of those groups usually don't talk to each other unless it's to engage in bellicose snarkiness.

Wading in amongst all of that is not for me.

 :D

It would make a great Beethoven salad!
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on March 09, 2015, 12:17:29 AM
The shipping rate is actually US$14.99.  When you factor in the exchange rate that comes to about AU$19.50 just for postage  >:(

Eek!

If you buy an item from Amazon rather than a marketplace seller the shipping rate overseas is only US$4.99   >:D
Amazon US effectively killed off all my purchasing from their marketplace sellers   :(

Yep. I guess it depends on where you're buying from. For me in Australia, it doesn't matter what I buy on Amazon.com, the shipping is horrendous. Amazon.co.uk, on the other hand, is much more reasonable. A couple of days ago I bought two Planets CDs from Amazon.co.uk, and the prices were:

Price:
Item 1 (http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B000025U4N) £0.19 (AU$0.89)
Item 2 (http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B0001ZMBTW) £6.75 (AU$13.70)

Shipping:
Item 1 £3.58 (AU$6.99)
Item 2 £3.58 (AU$6.99)

Total: £14.10 (AU$28.57)

However, all is not lost in the "Classical music CDs are way too expensive" caper. I buy almost all my CDs on eBay. Prices for Planets CD can be wonderfully low there (even with the fluctuating conversion rates). Today the lowest price for plenty of different Planets CDs is AUS$4.23. Shipping is free, and there are some incredible bargains to be had. For example, there's the Gardiner/Philharmonia (http://www.ebay.com/itm/Holst-The-Planets-Percy-Grainger-The-Warriors-CD-1995-/351120640282), Karajan/Vienna (http://www.ebay.com/itm/Vienna-Philharmonic-Orchestra-Holst-The-Planets-op-32-CD-/351179064659), and Andrew Davis/BBC Symphony (http://www.ebay.com/itm/Gustav-Holst-Holst-The-Planets-Gustav-Holst-CD-/351230258732), just to name three I haven't bought yet. Three Planets CDs for AU$12.69 shipped? Bargain!

I only buy from places like Amazon when I either can't get it on eBay or eBay isn't cheaper.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on March 09, 2015, 02:43:51 AM
I'd probably pass on that one. If I started evaluating Eroicas, I'd probably want to pester the whole cycle. No, make that "definitely". (One symphony's not enough!)

Er, I don't want to contemplate the thought of comparing Beethoven symphony cycles – even though I now am. ("No, Peter, be strong. Don't think about the Beethoven symphonies. Not even one of them.")

Plus, the prospect of doing anything by Beethoven is fraught with difficulty. First, a lot of music fans tend to be terribly partisan about recordings of the symphonies, depending on which group they belong to. And there are plenty of The Only Way To Listen To Beethoven groups. There's:

  • Mono Beethoven
  • Stereo Beethoven
  • Old-School Beethoven
  • Modern Beethoven
  • Romantic Beetrhoven
  • Classical Beetrhoven
  • Speed-Demon Beethoven
  • Period-Instrument Beethoven
  • Pro-Karajan Beethoven
  • Anti-Karajan Beethoven
  • Germanic Beethoven
  • American Beethoven

etc.

And the fans in each of those groups usually don't talk to each other unless it's to engage in bellicose snarkiness.

Wading in amongst all of that is not for me.

:D

It would make a great Beethoven salad!

Just the thought of all those divergent and opposing Beethoven fans clashing on a blog gives me the heebie jeebies.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Moonfish on March 09, 2015, 02:54:47 AM
I know - Sibelius's Violin Concerto!!!    0:) :P
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: brunumb on March 09, 2015, 03:04:21 AM
Eek!

Yep. I guess it depends on where you're buying from. For me in Australia, it doesn't matter what I buy on Amazon.com, the shipping is horrendous. Amazon.co.uk, on the other hand, is much more reasonable. A couple of days ago I bought two Planets CDs from Amazon.co.uk, and the prices were:

Price:
Item 1 (http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B000025U4N) £0.19 (AU$0.89)
Item 2 (http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B0001ZMBTW) £6.75 (AU$13.70)

Shipping:
Item 1 £3.58 (AU$6.99)
Item 2 £3.58 (AU$6.99)

Total: £14.10 (AU$28.57)

However, all is not lost in the "Classical music CDs are way too expensive" caper. I buy almost all my CDs on eBay. Prices for Planets CD can be wonderfully low there (even with the fluctuating conversion rates). Today the lowest price for plenty of different Planets CDs is AUS$4.23. Shipping is free, and there some incredible bargains to be had. For example, there's the Gardiner/Philharmonia (http://www.ebay.com/itm/Holst-The-Planets-Percy-Grainger-The-Warriors-CD-1995-/351120640282), Karajan/Vienna (http://www.ebay.com/itm/Vienna-Philharmonic-Orchestra-Holst-The-Planets-op-32-CD-/351179064659), and Andrew Davis/BBC Symphony (http://www.ebay.com/itm/Gustav-Holst-Holst-The-Planets-Gustav-Holst-CD-/351230258732), just to name three I haven't bought yet. Three Planets CDs for AU$12.69 shipped? Bargain!

I only buy from places like Amazon when I either can't get it on eBay or eBay isn't cheaper.

The two CDs of The Planets I just bought were from Amazon UK.  Their postage rates to Australia are much more reasonable than Amazon US.  Somehow I can't find any of the CDs that I want for reasonable prices on eBay any more.  Even brand new discs are way more expensive than places like MDT or Presto.

I had a chuckle over your next possible project when Ravel's Bolero popped into my head.  Imagine listening to all the recorded versions of that and trying to rank them   ::)
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: relm1 on March 09, 2015, 05:20:59 AM
Just the thought of all those divergent and opposing Beethoven fans clashing on a blog gives me the heebie jeebies.
How about tackling Also Sprach next?
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Christo on March 09, 2015, 09:34:06 AM
Most revered PPP! I'm afraid I found - again, pure accidentally, I was looking for the Sargent - another Planet, this time Sargent conducting the LSO in a recording from 1950. The timings are markedly different from those of the 1954 recording with the same orchestra that you rank as No. 52 in your list. Can it really be a different one?
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51XPGUk6ryL._AA160_.jpg)
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/91Zk4MuUnCL._SL1500_.jpg)
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on March 09, 2015, 03:48:44 PM
Most revered PPP! I'm afraid I found - again, pure accidentally, I was looking for the Sargent - another Planet, this time Sargent conducting the LSO in a recording from 1950. The timings are markedly different from those of the 1954 recording with the same orchestra that you rank as No. 52 in your list. ...

It's possible that the people who mastered the CD altered the track times. (You can change track edit points in a CD.) Or maybe it's a different recording. Who knows?

... Can it really be a different one?
[img width="300"]http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51XPGUk6ryL._AA160_.jpg[/img]
[img width="300"]http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/91Zk4MuUnCL._SL1500_.jpg[/img]

I hope so.

According to the Wikipedia entry on Sir Malcolm Sargent (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malcolm_Sargent):

"Sargent made two recordings of Holst's The Planets: a monaural version with the LSO for Decca (1950) and a stereo version with the BBC for EMI (1960)."

But he recorded The Planets at least three times – and not necessarily on the dates mentioned in the article.

Wikipedia's "Planets Discography (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Planets_discography)" page lists these Sargent recordings:

1954 – Sir Malcolm Sargent – London Symphony Orchestra – Decca – Kingsway Hall. Engineer Kenneth Wilkinson.
1958 – Sir Malcolm Sargent – BBC Symphony Orchestra – HMV – Reissued on CD on the EMI Classics for Pleasure label.
1965 – Sir Malcolm Sargent – BBC Symphony Orchestra – IMP – Royal Festival Hall, London, February 3rd 1965. Issued on IMP CD in 1995.

It's all very confusing.

I'm going to have to wait until the Sargent CDs I've bought have arrived, and then I can see what's what.

Until then, I'm going to remain confused.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: André on March 09, 2015, 04:21:48 PM
Kenneth Wilkinson engineer, Kingsway Hall: a winning ticket !! By all means let us know your findings about that version if it it lands in your tentacles hands !

As for another foray into popular repertoire, I second Also Sprach, but also Schéhérazade by Rimsky.

Le Sacre du printemps is a bit too heavy going. There's even a PPP version ( :laugh:).. Come to think of it, there's also a PPP version of Schéhérazade  :o
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on March 09, 2015, 04:29:56 PM
I know - Sibelius's Violin Concerto!!!    0:) :P

Actually, that's not a bad idea. I don't have an emotional attachment to any particular recording of the Concerto. In fact, I only have one recording of it, and that's Cho-Liang Lin's:

(http://cps-static.rovicorp.com/3/JPG_500/MI0000/982/MI0000982717.jpg) (http://www.amazon.com/Jean-Sibelius-Carl-Nielsen-Concertos/dp/B0000026NZ)

I have that one courtesy of The Penguin Guide to Compact Discs's glowing review. And I haven't heard it in years.

Hopefully, there aren't all that many versions of the work on CD. I can handle, say, 20. That'd be manageable.

PS: The Penguin Guide I have is from 1990, and it lists 8 versions. That's alright. There haven't been all that many new recordings of the Concerto, have there?
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Christo on March 09, 2015, 04:34:11 PM
It's possible that the people who mastered the CD altered the track times. (You can change track edit points in a CD.) Or maybe it's a different recording. Who knows?

It is possible. But the track timings are really divergent:

              Sargent/LSO '1950'  Sargent/LSO '1954'
Mars                  06:32                 06:37           = +05
Venus                08:45                 09:01           = +16
Mercury             03:29                 03:35           = +06
Jupiter               07:32                 07:46           = +14
Saturn               08:01                 08:11           = +10
Uranus               05:30                 05:37          = +07
Neptune             06:22                 06:28          = +06           
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on March 09, 2015, 04:49:59 PM
It is possible. But the track timings are really divergent:

              Sargent/LSO '1950'  Sargent/LSO '1954'
Mars                  06:32                 06:37           = +05
Venus                08:45                 09:01           = +16
Mercury             03:29                 03:35           = +06
Jupiter               07:32                 07:46           = +14
Saturn               08:01                 08:11           = +10
Uranus               05:30                 05:37          = +07
Neptune             06:22                 06:28          = +06         

Hmm. I'm leaning towards the "I reckon it might be the same recording" side of things.

There's another possibility: That "1950" is a typo.

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/91Zk4MuUnCL._SL1500_.jpg)

PS: Not even Discogs (http://www.discogs.com/) (my go-to place for accurate recording information) has details about the Sargent / LSO situation. Discogs simply lists six LPs (http://www.discogs.com/Holst-London-Symphony-OrchestraConducted-By-Sir-Malcolm-Sargent-The-Planets/master/425896), released at various times from 1958 onwards.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Christo on March 09, 2015, 04:57:28 PM
Hmm. I'm leaning towards the "I reckon it might be the same recording" side of things.
Yep, could be, I agree. Thanks for your sources: two times Sargent/LSO isn't very plausible, is it? And this little track timings scheme teaches me a lesson too: don't believe them, one can add 16 silent seconds by choice, apparently.  ???
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Pat B on March 09, 2015, 04:57:42 PM
Actually, that's not a bad idea. I don't have an emotional attachment to any particular recording of the Concerto. In fact, I only have one recording of it, and that's Cho-Liang Lin's:

I have that one courtesy of The Penguin Guide to Compact Discs's glowing review. And I haven't heard it in years.

Hopefully, there aren't all that many versions of the work on CD. I can handle, say, 20. That'd be manageable.

PS: The Penguin Guide I have is from 1990, and it lists 8 versions. That's alright. There haven't been all that many new recordings of the Concerto, have there?

I bet there's at least 50 of the Sibelius VC, probably more. It's a staple. I have Heifetz, Gitlis/Vox, (young) Perlman/RCA, and Lin. (On the wishlist: Haendel, and maybe Hahn and Wicks.)
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on March 09, 2015, 04:59:40 PM
Yep, could be, I agree. Thanks for your sources: two times Sargent/LSO isn't very plausible, is it? And this little track timings scheme teaches me a lesson too: don't believe them, one can add 16 silent seconds by choice, apparently.  ???

Yes sirree.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Moonfish on March 09, 2015, 05:03:44 PM


PS: The Penguin Guide I have is from 1990, and it lists 8 versions. That's alright. There haven't been all that many new recordings of the Concerto, have there?

*muaaaahahahahahahahahaaaa*

(http://bestuff.com/images/images_of_stuff/210x600/evil-laughter-138531.jpg)
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on March 09, 2015, 05:04:21 PM
I bet there's at least 50 of the Sibelius VC, probably more. ...

Gah!

Well, in that case I'd like to choose a different piece of music.

Update: I've just checked Discogs, and they list 161 CDs (http://www.discogs.com/search/?q=sibelius+violin+concerto&format_exact=CD&type=all).

Now I definitely want to choose a different piece of music.

... It's a staple. I have Heifetz, Gitlis/Vox, (young) Perlman/RCA, and Lin. (On the wishlist: Haendel, and maybe Hahn and Wicks.)

I didn't know it was that popular.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: André on March 09, 2015, 05:05:33 PM
Dear PPP. Thanks for that sterling work

Don't listen to the sirens (I'm amongst them)  >:D. Tend your garden. Walk your dog. Wade in the waves. Then figure what pushes your buttons.

And thanks in advance for your contribution   :-*  !!
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Moonfish on March 09, 2015, 05:07:59 PM
More, we need mooore...moooooooore .......    >:D
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: mc ukrneal on March 09, 2015, 05:09:33 PM
Gah!

Well, in that case I'd like to choose a different piece of music.

Now I definitely want to choose a different piece of music.
Do you like Prokofiev's Alexander Nevsky?
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Christo on March 09, 2015, 05:11:33 PM
Do you like Prokofiev's Alexander Nevsky?

He does, we don't. Let's take Vaughan Williams' Tallis Fantasia.  >:D
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on March 09, 2015, 05:31:41 PM
Kenneth Wilkinson engineer, Kingsway Hall: a winning ticket !! By all means let us know your findings about that version if it it lands in your tentacles hands !

As for another foray into popular repertoire, I second Also Sprach, but also Schéhérazade by Rimsky.

Well, that's two votes for Also Sprach Zarathustra (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Also_sprach_Zarathustra_(Strauss)) and a vote for Scheherazade (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scheherazade_(Rimsky-Korsakov)).

I'm all for both of those.

Zara's Thruster is a piece I don't know well (I've probably only ever heard it twice all the way through), so compiling a list of available versions would be one mighty fine way of getting to know it.

As for Rimsky-Korsakov's Scheherazade, it's a piece I've always loved, and I'd be more than willing to pester multiple versions of that.

Le Sacre du printemps is a bit too heavy going. ...

I agree. I don't know how many times I can be bludgeoned by music that brutal.

(Plenty I guess, considering I listened to that, and the other Stravinsky ballets, last year for a few months. I tend to have phases where I'll listen to nothing but one piece of music, or everything by one composer.)

... There's even a PPP version ( :laugh:).. Come to think of it, there's also a PPP version of Schéhérazade  :o

I must admit I have no idea what a "PPP version" is. The only "PPP"s I know are: a) me (Peter Power Pop); and b) the dynamic marking ppp, meaning "Shhh, I can't hear what you're playing."
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on March 09, 2015, 05:35:36 PM
Dear PPP. Thanks for that sterling work

Your entirely welcome, André.

Don't listen to the sirens (I'm amongst them)  >:D. Tend your garden. Walk your dog. Wade in the waves. Then figure what pushes your buttons.

But I love listening to lots of music. Lots and lots of music.

And thanks in advance for your contribution   :-*  !!

No problem.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on March 09, 2015, 05:36:48 PM
More, we need mooore...moooooooore .......    >:D

I hear ya, baby.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on March 09, 2015, 05:37:22 PM
Do you like Prokofiev's Alexander Nevsky?

Love it.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on March 09, 2015, 05:40:10 PM
He does, we don't. Let's take Vaughan Williams' Tallis Fantasia.  >:D

Oh man. Whenever I listen to that, I think it's the greatest* piece of music written in the 20th century.

(*I also think that when I'm listening to other 20th-century works, but when the Tallis Fantasia is on... Hoo-wee.)
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Christo on March 09, 2015, 05:42:21 PM
Oh man. Whenever I listen to that, I think it's the greatest* piece of music written in the 20th century.

(*I also think that when I'm listening to other 20th-century works, but when the Tallis Fantasia is on... Hoo-wee.)

Dozens of recordings. Nobody knows to choose between them. True vocation waiting.  ;D
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: mc ukrneal on March 09, 2015, 05:55:51 PM
Love it.
One advantage, only about 25-30 recordings in total (if one sticks to the cantata, though there are only a handful of the film). Now here, I can offer to do it with you as I also have most of them. It's one of the few pieces I allow myself to collect multiple versions.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on March 09, 2015, 07:37:56 PM
One advantage, only about 25-30 recordings in total (if one sticks to the cantata, though there are only a handful of the film). Now here, I can offer to do it with you as I also have most of them. ...

I might* take you up on that offer, MC Unreal.

I currently have seven Alexander Nevskys:


The Temirkanov is the film soundtrack:

(http://userserve-ak.last.fm/serve/_/74175466/Alexander+Nevsky+Film+Score+R19936981257344888.jpg) (http://www.discogs.com/Prokofiev-St-Petersburg-Philharmonic-Orchestra-Yuri-Temirkanov-Alexander-Nevsky/release/1993698)

... It's one of the few pieces I allow myself to collect multiple versions.

Splendid.

For years and years I was happy with one of everything. A version of something would be good enough. But recently I've started wanting as many versions of a piece of music as possible, and I don't really know why. It started last year with the Tchaikovsky ballets, then the Stravinsky ballets, then the Beethoven symphonies. This year it's been Orff's Carmina Burana and now The Planets. I don't know what's going on, but I've become a musical hoarder. Or putting it more charitably, a musical squirrel.

(*Rimsky-Korsakov's Scheherazade is looking very tempting at the moment.)
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: mc ukrneal on March 09, 2015, 08:07:09 PM
I might* take you up on that offer, MC Unreal.

I currently have seven Alexander Nevskys:

  • Abbado (http://www.amazon.com/Prokofiev-Alexander-Nevsky-Lieutenant-Scythian/dp/B000001GQC)
  • Masur (http://www.amazon.com/Prokofiev-Alexander-Nevsky-Scythian-S/dp/B000000SEW)
  • Previn (http://www.amazon.com/Prokofiev-Alexander-Nevsky-Rachmaninov-Bells/dp/B00000DR1U) (1971 EMI, not 1987 Telarc)
  • Reiner (http://www.amazon.com/Khachaturian-Concerto-violin-Prokofiev-Alexander/dp/B00004WFO9)
  • Rostropovich (http://www.amazon.com/Prokofiev-Terrible-Michael-Lankester-Version/dp/B00000DSGN)
  • Schippers (http://www.amazon.com/Alexander-Nevsky-Pictures-at-Exhibition/dp/B000BDGWHG)
  • Temirkanov (http://www.amazon.com/Alexander-Nevsky-S-Prokofiev/dp/B000003G5Y)

The Temirkanov is the film soundtrack:

(http://userserve-ak.last.fm/serve/_/74175466/Alexander+Nevsky+Film+Score+R19936981257344888.jpg) (http://www.discogs.com/Prokofiev-St-Petersburg-Philharmonic-Orchestra-Yuri-Temirkanov-Alexander-Nevsky/release/1993698)


(*Rimsky-Korsakov's Scheherazade is looking very tempting at the moment.)
I wouldn't blame you if you chose Scheherezade. Beautiful piece. I have only Mackerras on Telarc (never felt the need for more). And if you go back a few years, you might find that Elgarian posted some comments on a number of different versions (no idea which thread though). You may find that interesting.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Mirror Image on March 09, 2015, 08:33:26 PM
I think Elgar's Enigma Variations would a great work to do a bunch of these reviews on. There are certainly a lot of recordings of this work available.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on March 09, 2015, 08:55:25 PM
I think Elgar's Enigma Variations would a great work to do a bunch of these reviews on. There are certainly a lot of recordings of this work available.

There are, but I'm not much of a fan of it. I wouldn't relish the thought of spending a few months with only that.

I have six versions of the Enigma Variations...


...and don't see myself with a need to buy any more.

I'd prefer to cover Elgar's Nursery Suite (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nursery_Suite). I like that much more. And there are only five versions of it on CD (http://www.discogs.com/search/?q=elgar+nursery+suite&format_exact=CD&type=all).

https://www.youtube.com/v/8YyXcZHFMG0
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on March 09, 2015, 09:10:26 PM
Dozens of recordings [of Vaughan Williams' Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis]. ...

Yep. Discogs lists 52 (http://www.discogs.com/search/?q=vaughan+williams+fantasia+on+a+theme+by+thomas+tallis&format_exact=CD&type=all). (Although some of those are the same performance duplicated because of reissues with different couplings.)

... Nobody knows to choose between them. True vocation waiting.  ;D

I'm verrrry tempted.

I mean, I could listen to this all day...

https://www.youtube.com/v/RH71ik9lHmM
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Moonfish on March 09, 2015, 09:50:03 PM
Yep. Discogs lists 52 (http://www.discogs.com/search/?q=vaughan+williams+fantasia+on+a+theme+by+thomas+tallis&format_exact=CD&type=all). (Although some of those are the same performance duplicated because of reissues with different couplings.)

I'm verrrry tempted.

I mean, I could listen to this all day...

https://www.youtube.com/v/RH71ik9lHmM

Me too......     0:)
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on March 09, 2015, 10:05:17 PM
Oh man. Whenever I listen to that [Tallis Fantasia], I think it's the greatest* piece of music written in the 20th century.

(*I also think that when I'm listening to other 20th-century works, but when the Tallis Fantasia is on... Hoo-wee.)

Dozens of recordings. Nobody knows to choose between them. True vocation waiting.  ;D

I already have a slight headstart on the work. I have seven versions of the Tallis Fantasia at the moment:


Tempted. Tempted.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Christo on March 09, 2015, 11:27:56 PM
I already have a slight headstart on the work. I have seven versions of the Tallis Fantasia at the moment:

  • Barbirolli (Sinfonia of London, 1962) (http://www.amazon.com/English-String-Music-John-Barbirolli/dp/B000TDG84A)
  • Boult (London Philharmonic Orchestra, 1975) (http://www.amazon.com/Vaughan-Williams-Collectors-30-CDs/dp/B00156ZWV0)
  • Judd (New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, 2001) (http://www.amazon.com/Vaughan-Williams-Fantasia-Greensleeves-Rhapsody/dp/B00009NJ19)
  • Marriner (Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields, 1972) (http://www.amazon.com/Greenesleeves-Tallis-MARRINER-ACADEMY-MARTIN/dp/B000004CVM)
  • Ormandy (Philadelphia Orchestra, 1972) (http://www.amazon.com/Holst-Planets-Vaughan-Williams-Fantasias/dp/B000003FI5)
  • Silvestri (Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, 1968) (http://www.amazon.com/Vaughan-Williams-Symphony-Overture-Fantasia/dp/B000006DED)
  • Slatkin (Philharmonia Orchestra, 1991) (http://)

Tempted. Tempted.

 :D ;D Me too. I own about ten recordings. Would be nice to find out how much the Tallis Fantasia played a role in the gestation of The Planets (both composers were close friends and more than that: worked together in 'field days' before they released their major compositions).

I find this re-enactment of the original Gloucester Cathedral premiere of 1910 rather inspiring BTW:
https://www.youtube.com/v/ihx5LCF1yJY
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on March 09, 2015, 11:29:14 PM
Here are the suggestions so far for Peter Pestering Another Piece Of Classical Music:


What else?
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Moonfish on March 09, 2015, 11:56:30 PM
Here are the suggestions so far for Peter Pestering Another Piece Of Classical Music:

  • Elgar - Enigma Variations
  • Prokofiev - Alexander Nevsky
  • Rimsky-Korsakov - Scheherazade
  • Sibelius - Violin Concerto
  • R. Strauss - Also Sprach Zarathustra
  • Stravinsky - Le Sacre du Printemps
  • Vaughan Williams - Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis

What else?

Hmm, what about Rachmaninoff's Isle of the Dead?   8)

Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on March 10, 2015, 12:07:41 AM
Hmm, what about Rachmaninoff's Isle of the Dead?   8)

In its favour: I've never heard it. (Fresh ears, no bias.)

To its detriment: It may not be a piece of music people will storm down the barricades to hear multiple versions of. ("Isle of the what now?")
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Moonfish on March 10, 2015, 12:13:13 AM
In its favour: I've never heard it. (Fresh ears, no bias.)

To its detriment: It may not be a piece of music people will storm down the barricades to hear multiple versions of. ("Isle of the what now?")

It is a great piece (IMHO). It has the popular qualities and the power of the Planets, but with a strong undertow pulling one along. I guess I am a bit biased!  :D

Besides, I think you are due for a vacation? What about Mars?    ;)
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on March 10, 2015, 12:26:11 AM
Here are the suggestions so far for Peter Pestering Another Piece Of Classical Music:

  • Elgar - Enigma Variations
  • Prokofiev - Alexander Nevsky
  • Rimsky-Korsakov - Scheherazade
  • Sibelius - Violin Concerto
  • R. Strauss - Also Sprach Zarathustra
  • Stravinsky - Le Sacre du Printemps
  • Vaughan Williams - Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis

What else?

Hmm, what about Rachmaninoff's Isle of the Dead?   8)

I must admit I'm leaning away from the Tallis Fantasia. I'm wanting to do something that's longer than a one-movement piece lasting only 15-20 minutes. (For me, it would be like seeing a comparison of 50 different Barber Adagio for Strings. I don't think anyone would want to see that.)

Of the pieces suggested so far, I'm leaning towards Scheherazade, Also Sprach Zarathustra, and maybe Alexander Nevsky.

Moonfish: I'll have a listen to Isle of the Dead, but I don't hold much hope for it as the subject of an extensive survey.

https://www.youtube.com/v/dbbtmskCRUY

Oh. That only goes 20-ish minutes as well.

But I'm having a listen and enjoying it. Is this the Rachula piece that quotes the Dies Irae? Or is that Rachme Amadeus's The Bells?

Update: It's The Bells that has the Dies Irae in it. (Wikipedia told me (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Bells_(symphony)).)

Update 2: As the Isle of the Dead progresses (I'm at the 7-minute mark), it reminds me of Stravinsky's description of Sergei: "Six foot six of Russian gloom."
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Moonfish on March 10, 2015, 12:27:39 AM
I must admit I'm leaning away from the Tallis Fantasia. I'm wanting to do something that's longer than a one-movement piece lasting only 15-20 minutes. (For me, it would be like seeing a comparison of 50 different Barber Adagio for Strings. I don't think anyone would want to see that.)

Of the pieces suggested so far, I'm leaning towards Scheherazade, Also Sprach Zarathustra, and maybe Alexander Nevsky.

Moonfish: I'll have a listen to Isle of the Dead, but I don't hold much hope for it as the subject of an extensive survey.

https://www.youtube.com/v/dbbtmskCRUY

Oh. That only goes 20-ish minutes as well.

But I'm having a listen and enjoying it. Is this the Rachula piece that quotes the Dies Irae? Or is that Rachme Amadeus's The Bells?

Are you looking for a 40-60 minute piece of music?
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on March 10, 2015, 12:31:59 AM
Are you looking for a 40-60 minute piece of music?

Something at least half an hour, and more than one movement. Scheherazade fits the bill beautifully.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on March 10, 2015, 12:35:35 AM
Are you looking for a 40-60 minute piece of music?

Something at least half an hour, and more than one movement. Scheherazade fits the bill beautifully.

Oh, and I'd ideally want it to be a popular piece. ("But doesn't everyone want to hear all the available versions of Enzio Fermagelli's Ode to the Paint Drying in My Kitchen?")
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Moonfish on March 10, 2015, 12:37:45 AM
Hmmm, this would be perhaps be a bit too overwhelming, but also incredibly cool...

Carl Orff's Carmina Burana!!    Beware: several hundred recordings...  :D :D :D >:D

https://www.youtube.com/v/qULiPyKg_mY
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Moonfish on March 10, 2015, 12:38:43 AM
Something at least half an hour, and more than one movement. Scheherazade fits the bill beautifully.

Scheherazade is indeed a beautiful piece of music...
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Moonfish on March 10, 2015, 12:41:11 AM
I just realized that Orff will probably wear off one's ears after listening to thirty renditions...  >:(
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on March 10, 2015, 12:58:33 AM
Hmmm, this would be perhaps be a bit too overwhelming, but also incredibly cool...

Carl Orff's Carmina Burana!!    Beware: several hundred recordings...  :D :D :D >:D

https://www.youtube.com/v/qULiPyKg_mY

I'm up for it.

I've only just come out of my Carmina Burana phase (to go straight into my Planets phase). I bought 26 Carmina Burana CDs as a result of it, and I can easily go back there.

I just realized that Orff will probably wear off one's ears after listening to thirty renditions...  >:(

Pfft. That's nothin'. Those 26 Carmina Buranas I bought were just the ones I liked.

However, I must warn you that any Carmina Burana list I make may well be unnecessary. Top Ear reviewer Jeremy Lee gave it a red hot go, and reviewed piles of 'em (I counted 22 in his survey):

https://topear.wordpress.com/2014/10/13/comprehensive-review-orffs-carmina-burana/ (https://topear.wordpress.com/2014/10/13/comprehensive-review-orffs-carmina-burana/)

Discogs lists 310 CDs of Carmina Burana (http://www.discogs.com/search/?q=carl+orff+carmina+burana&format_exact=CD&genre_exact=Classical&type=all). I dare say most of those would be the Herbert Kegel version that gets reissued on different record labels mercilessly.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: North Star on March 10, 2015, 01:27:24 AM
Moonfish: I'll have a listen to Isle of the Dead, but I don't hold much hope for it as the subject of an extensive survey.

Oh. That only goes 20-ish minutes as well.

But I'm having a listen and enjoying it. Is this the Rachula piece that quotes the Dies Irae? Or is that Rachme Amadeus's The Bells?

Update: It's The Bells that has the Dies Irae in it. (Wikipedia told me (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Bells_(symphony)).)

Update 2: As the Isle of the Dead progresses (I'm at the 7-minute mark), it reminds me of Stravinsky's description of Sergei: "Six foot six of Russian gloom."

Dies Irae is certainly in the Isle, and in several other works by Rakhmaninov.
http://www.ukessays.com/essays/music/dies-irae-the-haunting-of-rachmaninov-music-essay.php
http://www.victoryvinny.com/svr_and_di/RachmaninovandDiesIrae-Version04.pdf
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Christo on March 10, 2015, 04:11:23 AM
Something at least half an hour, and more than one movement. Scheherazade fits the bill beautifully.

Would be a choice I would endorse with enthusiasm, too. (Of course, after the Tallis Fantasia or A Pastoral Symphony).  ;)
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: North Star on March 10, 2015, 04:35:40 AM
Perhaps Sibelius's Lemminkäinen Suite?
https://www.youtube.com/v/oVokwvf0ONI
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Mirror Image on March 10, 2015, 05:42:52 AM
Perhaps Sibelius's Lemminkäinen Suite?
https://www.youtube.com/v/oVokwvf0ONI

Or The Oceanides -

https://www.youtube.com/v/HSDoYJC4DCk
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: North Star on March 10, 2015, 06:14:15 AM
Something at least half an hour, and more than one movement. Scheherazade fits the bill beautifully.
Or The Oceanides -
Did Celibidache record Oceanides?  :laugh:
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Moonfish on March 10, 2015, 06:44:23 AM
Did Celibidache record Oceanides?  :laugh:
It did not fit on a disk!   :P
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Mirror Image on March 10, 2015, 10:15:30 AM
Did Celibidache record Oceanides?  :laugh:

;D
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on March 10, 2015, 12:19:41 PM
Dies Irae is certainly in the Isle, and in several other works by Rakhmaninov.

I didn't notice. I guess my mind started wandering as it kept going. (The more I listened, the more it became a generic High Romantic piece of Moody Melodrama.)

http://www.ukessays.com/essays/music/dies-irae-the-haunting-of-rachmaninov-music-essay.php
http://www.victoryvinny.com/svr_and_di/RachmaninovandDiesIrae-Version04.pdf

Thanks for those links. Time for some reading.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on March 10, 2015, 12:24:01 PM
Perhaps Sibelius's Lemminkäinen Suite?
https://www.youtube.com/v/oVokwvf0ONI

Or The Oceanides -

https://www.youtube.com/v/HSDoYJC4DCk

For me, both of those go under the "Nope, not popular enough" category.

Yours heartlessly,

Ruthless Pete.

Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on March 10, 2015, 12:33:36 PM
Perhaps Sibelius's Lemminkäinen Suite?
https://www.youtube.com/v/oVokwvf0ONI

Or The Oceanides -

https://www.youtube.com/v/HSDoYJC4DCk

Now, if you were to say, "How about Sibelius' Third Symphony?", I'd say, "Now you're talking."

I adore the slow movement of Sibelius' Third Symphony. It's probably my favourite bit of music Sibelius wrote. I adore it.

Cue 11:18 in this video. Oh yeah.

https://www.youtube.com/v/jMafXOaKzZg

All this talk of Sibelius has reminded me that I haven't heard his music in ages. I've been too busy listening to Carmina Burana and The Planets.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Mirror Image on March 10, 2015, 12:34:14 PM
For me, both of those go under the "Nope, not popular enough" category.

Yours heartlessly,

Ruthless Pete.

Are you looking for a work that has a thousand recordings or something? In that case, any symphony by Beethoven will do. :)
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: North Star on March 10, 2015, 12:47:25 PM
For me, both of those go under the "Nope, not popular enough" category.

Yours heartlessly,

Ruthless Pete.
Come and say that in Finland, of Lemminkäinen anyway.  0:)

Now, if you were to say, "How about Sibelius' Third Symphony?", I'd say, "Now you're talking."

I adore the slow movement of Sibelius' Third Symphony. It's probably my favourite bit of music Sibelius wrote. I adore it.

Cue 11:18 in this video. Oh yeah.

How about Sibelius' Third Symphony?  0:)

Incidentally, I watched a Colin Davis document today, where he told that the Third was his introduction to Sibelius, and that he was rather obsessed by it when he was nine years old. He used to listen to it while doing a jigsaw or knitting. The only chore I've done while listening to it is mowing the lawn.  8)

Quote
All this talk of Sibelius has reminded me that I haven't heard his music in ages. I've been too busy listening to Carmina Burana and The Planets.
I love The Planets, but listening to that and CB (which I like, too, but don't listen to regularly) and foregoing Sibelius sounds as tempting as replacing meat and potatoes with marshmallows.  :-X
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on March 10, 2015, 12:49:30 PM
Are you looking for a work that has a thousand recordings or something? ...

No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no. Not at all.

I'm just looking for something that has some degree of popularity. I'm not keen on the idea of creating a blog that'll be seen by about three people.

... In that case, any symphony by Beethoven will do. :)

That way lies madness. And incompleteness. ("Hey, why did you blog about that Beethoven symphony? Why not this one? And why not all of them?")
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on March 10, 2015, 12:57:34 PM
Come and say that in Finland, of Lemminkäinen anyway.  0:)

I'm sure that young Jean is considered a demigod in the Nordic countries, but I'm thinking globally, baby. The Internet reaches far and wide.

How about Sibelius' Third Symphony?  0:)

That's fine by me.

But what about the other symphonies?

Incidentally, I watched a Colin Davis document today, where he told that the Third was his introduction to Sibelius, and that he was rather obsessed by it when he was nine years old. ...

I'm not surprised. When I was a whippersnapper, I borrowed a cassette from the local library. that had the Sibelius Third Symphony on it. It was probably the second thing of his I ever heard (I think the first was the Karelia Suite), and I fell in love with that symphony -- especially the slow movement. I know where Colin's coming from.

... He used to listen to it while doing a jigsaw or knitting. The only chore I've done while listening to it is mowing the lawn.  8)

I'm not surprised.

I love The Planets, but listening to that and CB (which I like, too, but don't listen to regularly) and foregoing Sibelius sounds as tempting as replacing meat and potatoes with marshmallows.  :-X

I may have said this before, but: Each to their own.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: North Star on March 10, 2015, 01:10:16 PM
I'm sure that young Jean is considered a demigod in the Nordic countries, but I'm thinking globally, baby. The Internet reaches far and wide.
Yes, I know JS isn't quite as popular outside Finland.

Quote
But what about the other symphonies?
Any of nos. 3-7 would be very interesting, nos. 4-7 even more than no. 3 to me.

Quote
I may have said this before, but: Each to their own.
Absolutely.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Mirror Image on March 10, 2015, 01:36:54 PM
No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no. Not at all.

I'm just looking for something that has some degree of popularity. I'm not keen on the idea of creating a blog that'll be seen by about three people.

That way lies madness. And incompleteness. ("Hey, why did you blog about that Beethoven symphony? Why not this one? And why not all of them?")

Ah, okay. I understand where you're coming from much better now. 8) How about Shostakovich's Symphony No. 5? This work is quite an international success, wouldn't you agree?
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Mirror Image on March 10, 2015, 01:42:57 PM
Strauss' Eine Alpensinfonie would be a damn fine choice as well.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: brunumb on March 10, 2015, 06:44:47 PM
Peter,
As the project will be your labour of love, you should choose a work that will give you the most pleasure.  I'm sure everyone else will be happy to come along for the ride whatever you decide.

That said, you seem to favour Scheherazade and it certainly has the right sorts of elements for consideration.  It is a popular and colourful piece with interesting orchestration. The inclusion of the solo violin representing the heroine telling her tale gives another distinct point for comparison between performances.  The sonic stage would also be significant factor in finding the best recordings.  It seems a natural follow up to The Planets in my opinion.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on March 11, 2015, 12:42:22 AM
Peter,
As the project will be your labour of love, you should choose a work that will give you the most pleasure.  I'm sure everyone else will be happy to come along for the ride whatever you decide.

Thanks.

That said, you seem to favour Scheherazade and it certainly has the right sorts of elements for consideration.  It is a popular and colourful piece with interesting orchestration. The inclusion of the solo violin representing the heroine telling her tale gives another distinct point for comparison between performances.  The sonic stage would also be significant factor in finding the best recordings.  It seems a natural follow up to The Planets in my opinion.

Given everything about Scheherazade – great tunes, great orchestration, great story, hi-fi spectacular – as well as the other things you mentioned, I think it's the ideal work for a comprehensive survey.

But as I was drifting off to sleep last night, and when I woke up this morning, and throughout the day when I was lying on the scanning machine for an all-day lymphatic test (http://www.radiologyinfo.org/en/info.cfm?pg=lympho)*, my brain kept whispering in my ear, "Do Carmina Burana, do Carmina Burana...".

I tried to fight that urge by telling my brain, "Yeah, but Scheherazade – there won't be anywhere near as many versions to plough through, and it probably won't take you a year to do. Plus, you don't know Scheherazade all that well because you have probably only have two versions of it, so you'll get to know it better, along with your readers."

However, that brain of mine started whispering again: "But you really like Carmina Burana. You're already familiar with the 26 versions you bought. Go on, do it. Do iiiiiit..."

But now that I've read your message above (or "message from above" – tee hee), I'm leaning very heavily in the direction of Scheherazade . It makes perfect sense. Unlike Carmina Burana, Scheherazade won't see me spending months and months being consumed by trying to review all 9,547,328 versions of a piece of music, shunning family and friends in the process. ("I'd love to go see that movie, dear, but... you know... Carm... What's that? You're leaving me? But I only have 532 more versions to review!", or: "When's that family reunion? Saturday? Gee, I'd like to go, but... you know...")

I reckon Scheherazade is the way to go. Oh, I just thought of another reason to do it: I don't think a comprehensive survey of Scheherazade has been done before.

Carmina Burana can come later. Much later.


(*Don't worry. My feet swell up in the warmer weather, and my doctor wants to know why.)
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on March 11, 2015, 12:52:48 AM
Ah, okay. I understand where you're coming from much better now. 8) How about Shostakovich's Symphony No. 5? This work is quite an international success, wouldn't you agree?

Yep. The only trouble is that, on any long list of composers, he's down somewhere around "Doesn't do anything for me" and "Shostakovich? Do I have to?"

Admittedly, that's coming from a position of total ignorance. I've heard bits of some of his symphonies, bits of some piano works, and one of his cello concertos (I've forgotten which one).

However, I think this is great:

https://www.youtube.com/v/5rfle8wSwJM
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on March 11, 2015, 01:45:17 AM
Strauss' Eine Alpensinfonie would be a damn fine choice as well.

(Note to Self: Listen to Eine Alpensinfonie sometime.)

https://www.youtube.com/v/JHHqbtU7boU
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: North Star on March 11, 2015, 01:51:55 AM
How about Ravel's Daphnis & Chloe? Or Shostakovich Symphony no. 4/5/8/10 ? ;) (at least listen to those at some point - I would think that liking Planets helps appreciating Shostakovich too).
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: brunumb on March 11, 2015, 02:31:51 AM
Thanks.

Given everything about Scheherazade – great tunes, great orchestration, great story, hi-fi spectacular – as well as the other things you mentioned, I think it's the ideal work for a comprehensive survey.

But as I was drifting off to sleep last night, and when I woke up this morning, and throughout the day when I was lying on the scanning machine for an all-day lymphatic test (http://www.radiologyinfo.org/en/info.cfm?pg=lympho)*, my brain kept whispering in my ear, "Do Carmina Burana, do Carmina Burana...". I tried to fight that urge by telling my brain, "Yeah, but Scheherazade – there won't be anywhere near as many versions to plough through, and it probably won't take you a year to do. Plus, you don't know Scheherazade all that well because you have probably only have two versions of it, so you'll get to know it along with your readers."

However, that brain of mine started whispering again: "But you really like Carmina Burana. You're already familiar with the 26 versions you bought. Go on, do it. Do iiiiiit..."

But now that I've read your message above (or "message from above" – tee hee), I'm leaning very heavily in the direction of Scheherazade . It makes perfect sense. Unlike Carmina Burana, Scheherazade won't see me spending months and months being consumed by trying to review all 9,547,328 versions of a piece of music, shunning family and friends in the process. ("I'd love to go see that movie, dear, but... you know... Carm... What's that? You're leaving me? But I only have 532 more versions to review!", or: "When's that family reunion? Saturday? Gee, I'd like to go, but... you know...")

I reckon Scheherazade is the way to go. I just thought of another reason to do it: I don't think a comprehensive survey of Scheherazade has been done before.

Carmina Burana can come later. Much later.


(*Don't worry. My feet swell up in the warmer weather, and my doctor wants to know why.)

WOW!  If you haven't quite convinced yourself, you've certainly convinced me   :D

If you do get started and need some help obtaining recordings, I can help you with a few if you are content with CD-Rs.

Here is my collection:

London PO / Haitink   
Seattle SO   / Schwarz   
Concertgebouw / Kondrashin   
Chicago SO / Reiner   
Orch des Conc du Conservatoire / Ansermet   
New York PO / Bernstein   
Royal PO / Stokowski   
Philadelphia / Ormandy   
London SO    / Svetlanov   
Philadelphia / Stokowski   

Take care.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: betterthanfine on March 11, 2015, 02:02:57 PM
Scheherazade would be awesome. It's a work that I'm not too familiar with yet, I would love to discover it with you.

I bet there's at least 50 of the Sibelius VC, probably more. It's a staple. I have Heifetz, Gitlis/Vox, (young) Perlman/RCA, and Lin. (On the wishlist: Haendel, and maybe Hahn and Wicks.)

This was a few pages back, but I cannot refrain from commenting: GET THE HAHN. The Sibelius is one of my favourite pieces of music. Hahn and Salonen are  just perfect in this recording. Also worth a listen is Vilde Frang's debut record from a few years back. The orchestra's not that great, but Frang makes for a compelling interpreter. The opening has me holding my breath every time.

[/hijack]
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Pat B on March 11, 2015, 03:33:16 PM
This was a few pages back, but I cannot refrain from commenting: GET THE HAHN. The Sibelius is one of my favourite pieces of music. Hahn and Salonen are  just perfect in this recording. Also worth a listen is Vilde Frang's debut record from a few years back. The orchestra's not that great, but Frang makes for a compelling interpreter. The opening has me holding my breath every time.

[/hijack]

Oh, this thread was hijacked long before your post. :)

Anyway, I caught the finale of Hahn's Sibelius on the radio a couple weeks ago, which is how it got on my list. It was great, and I'll probably get it eventually, but I am trying to pace myself with purchases.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on March 11, 2015, 06:08:53 PM
How about Ravel's Daphnis & Chloe? ...

I like the suggestion of Daphnis et Chloé. However...

Although Ravel is my second-favourite composer (after Rameau), Daphnis et Chloé isn't one of my favourites Ravel works. I'm fully aware of how a lot of people consider it his masterpiece, and that young Maurice toiled away at it for three years, but – and this may be considered sacrilege among Ravellians – I find it has too many longueurs. For me, it meanders a bit too much. I like how it starts, but for the next half an hour I tend to zone out, and only start paying attention again when Part III begins. A lot of the time I prefer to hear the Daphnis et Chloé Suite No. 2 (which is basically Part III anyway).

So, despite my love for Ravel, and semi-love for Daphnis et Chloé, I'll pass on doing that – for the time being. I might do it later. (Never say never.)

https://www.youtube.com/v/YHrstmOPKBQ

...Or Shostakovich Symphony no. 4/5/8/10 ? ;) (at least listen to those at some point - I would think that liking Planets helps appreciating Shostakovich too).

I want to listen to Shotakovich, er, sometime, but so much of his music is, how shall I put it, is what I'd call "moaning". For what I can tell, he spent so much time with one eye on the manuscript paper (as he was writing his music) and one eye on the authorities that his music contains a bit too much paranoia for me to fully engage with. Putting it much more simply: It's a bit of a downer.

Having typed all that, I do want to hear more of his music. With his symphonies, I've heard remarkably little. I heard one of the symphonies years ago (I have no idea which one), and didn't enjoy it much. I'm not one to wallow in misery, so I didn't respond to it.

With The Planets being a step to Shostakovich, I don't see it myself. For me, Holst wrote the music he wrote despite his afflictions (I don't hear suffering anywhere in his music), whereas Shostakovich wrote what he wrote because of them.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on March 11, 2015, 06:14:25 PM
WOW!  If you haven't quite convinced yourself, you've certainly convinced me   :D

If you do get started and need some help obtaining recordings, I can help you with a few if you are content with CD-Rs.

Yes please. That would be magnificently and wonderfully fabulous.

Here is my collection:

London PO / Haitink   
Seattle SO / Schwarz   
Concertgebouw / Kondrashin
Chicago SO / Reiner   
Orch des Conc du Conservatoire / Ansermet
New York PO / Bernstein
Royal PO / Stokowski
Philadelphia / Ormandy
London SO / Svetlanov
Philadelphia / Stokowski

Excellent. You'll be receiving a PM shortly.

Take care.

Can do.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on March 11, 2015, 08:42:20 PM
[snip]

This was a few pages back, but I cannot refrain from commenting: GET THE HAHN. The Sibelius is one of my favourite pieces of music. Hahn and Salonen are  just perfect in this recording. Also worth a listen is Vilde Frang's debut record from a few years back. The orchestra's not that great, but Frang makes for a compelling interpreter. The opening has me holding my breath every time.

[/hijack]

Here 'tis:

https://www.youtube.com/v/kDIvOIAJkPk

Very nice.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on March 11, 2015, 08:52:01 PM
Scheherazade would be awesome. It's a work that I'm not too familiar with yet, I would love to discover it with you.

[snip]

I'm not all that familiar with it either. I've heard Scheherazade maybe two or three of times – once or twice on the radio, and once on the CD I bought of it (Enrique Bátiz with the Philharmonia Orchestra, London on Naxos (http://www.naxos.com/catalogue/item.asp?item_code=8.550726)).

I remember liking it enormously, so I'm looking forward to getting to know it a lot better with you. Onward and upward!

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51wGyKYrggL.jpg) (http://www.amazon.com/Sheherazade-Tsar-Saltan-N-Rimsky-Korsakov/dp/B0000013X7)
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: André on March 12, 2015, 05:41:46 PM
What about Enigma ? This work has become a staple of this household. Its multifaceted colours and gorgeous tunes never cease to fascinate, enthrall or tug at my tummy.

And there are SO many versions to choose from...  :o
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on March 12, 2015, 05:57:27 PM
What about Enigma ? This work has become a staple of this household. Its multifaceted colours and gorgeous tunes never cease to fascinate, enthrall or tug at my tummy.

And there are SO many versions to choose from...  :o

I'm not much of a fan of the Enigma Variations. The thought of spending a few months with that particular piece of music fills me with... well, not dread, but... reluctance. That's it: Reluctance. That's the thing holding me back from leaping on it with both ears.

Glimmer-of-Hope Time: I might do it later.

In the meantime, I'm gearing up for Scheherazade. I now have about 25 versions of it, and am on the lookout for more.

PS: My favourite movement (by far) of the Enigma Variations is "Dorabella".

PPS: My favourite version of the Enigma Variations is the one by Eugen Jochum.

https://www.youtube.com/v/i1bkeaWRhYE
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on March 13, 2015, 02:56:43 AM
Eek!

I was all set to pester a gaggle of Rimsky-Korsakov Scheherazade recordings (I now have about 30 recordings sitting on the hard drive, rarin' to go), when I came across this monster survey of that very piece:

http://www.classicalnotes.net/classics2/rimsky.html (http://www.classicalnotes.net/classics2/rimsky.html)

What do I do?

Plough ahead with my own survey? Or simply be content in the knowledge that someone's already done one (and probably done it very well), and think of a different work to do?

Yours asking for suggestions,

Redundant-Reviews Pete.


PS: Daphnis et Chloé, The Enigma Variations, and Also Sprach Zarathustra are now looking like very viable alternatives.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: mc ukrneal on March 13, 2015, 03:15:42 AM
Eek!

I was all set to pester a gaggle of Rimsky-Korsakov Scheherazade recordings (I now have about 30 recordings sitting on the hard drive, rarin' to go), when I came across this monster survey of that very piece:

http://www.classicalnotes.net/classics2/rimsky.html (http://www.classicalnotes.net/classics2/rimsky.html)

What do I do?

Plough ahead with my own survey? Or simply be content in the knowledge that someone's already done one (and probably done it very well), and think of a different work to do?

Yours asking for suggestions,

Redundant-Reviews Pete.


PS: Daphnis et Chloé, The Enigma Variations, and Also Sprach Zarathustra are now looking like very viable alternatives.
Why does it matter? It's not complete anyway. And maybe it will be interesting to compare notes?
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on March 13, 2015, 03:47:07 AM
Why does it matter? It's not complete anyway. And maybe it will be interesting to compare notes?

Fair enough. Plus I do want to get to know Scheherazade a lot better.

Scheherazade it is!
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Drasko on March 13, 2015, 03:52:03 AM
Now, if you were to say, "How about Sibelius' Third Symphony?", I'd say, "Now you're talking."

I adore the slow movement of Sibelius' Third Symphony. It's probably my favourite bit of music Sibelius wrote. I adore it.

Sibelius' Third Symphony would actually be very interesting topic for a comprehensive survey, and exactly because of the slow movement. Sibelius left somewhat contradictory markings for the slow movement. Tempo marking is Andantino con moto, quasi Allegretto which implies, not once but twice, that it should be quite swiftly flowing piece, but on the other hand his metronome marking (which I can't recall at moment) suggests much, much slower piece. Various conductors seem to adhere to one or another, or anything in between, so we have from very quick readings clocking at seven and a half minutes of Anthony Collins and Rozhdestvensky to very slow eleven minutes plus of Kajanus or Oramo, to everyone else somewhere in between. Four minutes difference in a piece relatively short as that is enormous and definitely changes the whole idea about the movement, and the symphony as the result.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: North Star on March 13, 2015, 04:21:33 AM
Why does it matter? It's not complete anyway. And maybe it will be interesting to compare notes?
+1
And you seem to be interested in hearing the recordings and comparing them, and also thinking of the piece and the interpretations while (or after) listening. Reading what someone else who did the same thing thinks of the recordings isn't really the same thing.
E:
Fair enough. Plus I do want to get to know Scheherazade a lot better.

Scheherazade It is!
Splendid! Great fun, especially live.


Sibelius' Third Symphony would actually be very interesting topic for a comprehensive survey, and exactly because of the slow movement. Sibelius left somewhat contradictory markings for the slow movement. Tempo marking is Andantino con moto, quasi Allegretto which implies, not once but twice, that it should be quite swiftly flowing piece, but on the other hand his metronome marking (which I can't recall at moment) suggests much, much slower piece. Various conductors seem to adhere to one or another, or anything in between, so we have from very quick readings clocking at seven and a half minutes of Anthony Collins and Rozhdestvensky to very slow eleven minutes plus of Kajanus or Oramo, to everyone else somewhere in between. Four minutes difference in a piece relatively short as that is enormous and definitely changes the whole idea about the movement, and the symphony as the result.

Kajanus, Oramo, and others are right. Sibelius marked the slow movement thusly because, according to him, the conductors at the time played slow movements far too slowly. He later said that contemporary conductors didn't do that anymore and he should revise the tempo marking. Actually, Kajanus's recording seems to be the most reliable source we have for the correct tempo of the movement.
http://www.sibelius.fi/english/musiikki/ork_sinf_03.htm
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Drasko on March 13, 2015, 04:44:44 AM
Kajanus, Oramo, and others are right. Sibelius marked the slow movement thusly because, according to him, the conductors at the time played slow movements far too slowly. He later said that contemporary conductors didn't do that anymore and he should revise the tempo marking. Actually, Kajanus's recording seems to be the most reliable source we have for the correct tempo of the movement.
http://www.sibelius.fi/english/musiikki/ork_sinf_03.htm

Thanks for the info! I'm having hard time even imagining those old time conductors Sibelius was objecting against. Is it possible to go slower than Kajanus and to avoid stopping altogether? It seems majority of today's conductors aren't also willing to go quite that deep into Kajanus territory, most readings are bit quicker than him. I personally prefer it at about nine, nine and a half minutes, like Mustonen. Not everything is in tempo of course.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Gurn Blanston on March 13, 2015, 04:48:11 AM
Fair enough. Plus I do want to get to know Scheherazade a lot better.

Scheherazade It is!

Yes you do. Surprised to see it when I came to check out this thread. I'm not much of a Planets fan, love  Scheherazade though!

8)
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on March 13, 2015, 03:27:04 PM
...I do want to get to know Scheherazade a lot better.

Scheherazade it is!


Yes you do. Surprised to see it when I came to check out this thread. ...

I dare say you thought you were going see something about The Planets here. Tee hee.

...I'm not much of a Planets fan, love  Scheherazade though!

8)

Excellent. That just gives me more impetus to get stuck into Scheherazade as the next "Oh no, what's Peter writing about now".
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: André on March 13, 2015, 03:40:58 PM
Since you won't do Enigma  :'( I'll settle for Schéhérazade   ::).

BTW does your review of Planets by Hymisher Greenburg really suggest it's a very good interpretation, or was it a spoof ? I mean, Hymisher Greenburg  ::)
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on March 13, 2015, 03:43:56 PM
Sibelius' Third Symphony would actually be very interesting topic for a comprehensive survey, and exactly because of the slow movement. Sibelius left somewhat contradictory markings for the slow movement. Tempo marking is Andantino con moto, quasi Allegretto which implies, not once but twice, that it should be quite swiftly flowing piece, but on the other hand his metronome marking (which I can't recall at moment) suggests much, much slower piece. Various conductors seem to adhere to one or another, or anything in between, so we have from very quick readings clocking at seven and a half minutes of Anthony Collins and Rozhdestvensky to very slow eleven minutes plus of Kajanus or Oramo, to everyone else somewhere in between. Four minutes difference in a piece relatively short as that is enormous and definitely changes the whole idea about the movement, and the symphony as the result.

Kajanus, Oramo, and others are right. Sibelius marked the slow movement thusly because, according to him, the conductors at the time played slow movements far too slowly. He later said that contemporary conductors didn't do that anymore and he should revise the tempo marking. Actually, Kajanus's recording seems to be the most reliable source we have for the correct tempo of the movement.
http://www.sibelius.fi/english/musiikki/ork_sinf_03.htm

Thanks for the info! I'm having hard time even imagining those old time conductors Sibelius was objecting against. Is it possible to go slower than Kajanus and to avoid stopping altogether? It seems majority of today's conductors aren't also willing to go quite that deep into Kajanus territory, most readings are bit quicker than him. I personally prefer it at about nine, nine and a half minutes, like Mustonen. Not everything is in tempo of course.

This is to answer all the questions/queries/conundrums posed by the fine folk above. I want to make a couple of points...

Point 1: As much as I love Sibelius's Third Symphony, I'd be reluctant to undertake a comparison of available recordings, because all the time I'd be thinking "But what about Sibelius's other symphonies? Isn't it unfair to single out one of his symphonies for a survey?" The completist in me thinks it'd be like listening to only "Mars" from all the Planets recordings.

Point 2: With regard to conductors and their adherence to the composer's intentions, any survey I do is less a case of "This is what the composer wanted, therefore it must be better" and more a case of "This is what I'm enjoying".

Point 2 (continued): When I was listening to the Planets recordings, I noticed there were quite a few liberties taken with the score here and there. But that didn't stop me responding with a "You know, I like what they did there". For me, any survey I do is invariably about my response to what I hear, not what might be the most accurate performance.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on March 13, 2015, 03:53:17 PM
Since you won't do Enigma  :'( I'll settle for Schéhérazade   ::).

How about I do the Enigma Variations after Scheherazade? I'm fine with that.

BTW does your review of Planets by Hymisher Greenburg really suggest it's a very good interpretation, or was it a spoof ? I mean, Hymisher Greenburg  ::)

Believe it or not (and it surprised me enormously), it's a magnificent interpretation. If you want to hear for yourself, send me a PM and we'll sort something out.

I was surprised because it was $4 on eBay, and it had all the hallmarks of an ultra-cheapy release. Everything about it screams "Stay away!", from the artwork to the name of the artists. (I was fairly sure they were fictitious.) But when I listened to it I was amazed. It's by far the best of the ultra-cheap Planets recordings. It's better than the one by the much-touted Geoffrey Simon on Laserlight (and other labels) (http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=holst+planets+geoffrey+simon). And Hymisher's recording gives more expensive Planets a run for their money.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: André on March 13, 2015, 04:20:00 PM
I received Hymisher's Planets yesterday and am currently listening to it (midway through Uranus). Some very  listenable tape hiss makes me doubt it's really DDD, although the sound is otherwise fine and wide-ranging. I have no qualms about the interpretation, except that the big tune in Jupiter is taken far too fast and fails to mark the wine-and-conversation midway-post through the meal. Orchestrally I find the strings rather meagre, certainly not as portly and athletic as those of the London Philharmonic or Philharmonia orchestras to name but two. Could it be that the violins are divided ?

In any case, one more planet to go (it's starting now, rather unmysteriously)... I paid a penny (litterally) for this disc.. Plus postage and exchange it came to about 7$ CAD
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on March 13, 2015, 08:33:31 PM
I received Hymisher's Planets yesterday and am currently listening to it (midway through Uranus). Some very  listenable tape hiss makes me doubt it's really DDD, ...

I'm listening to Hymisher's "Neptune" now, and I'm having no trouble at all with any tape hiss. Hang on, I'll crank it up to maximum volume...

Yeah, the hiss is there, but I don't find it bothersome. And I'd better turn it down before my ears explode.

That's better. No appreciable tape hiss.

I'd say it's definitely an analogue recording. And I'd also say it wasn't recorded in 1993, the date specified on the CD back cover.

By the way, I don't know if you have the release I have. This is the one I bought:

(https://petersplanets.files.wordpress.com/2015/02/holst-the-planets-greenburg.jpg)

... although the sound is otherwise fine and wide-ranging. I have no qualms about the interpretation, except that the big tune in Jupiter is taken far too fast and fails to mark the wine-and-conversation midway-post through the meal. Orchestrally I find the strings rather meagre, certainly not as portly and athletic as those of the London Philharmonic or Philharmonia orchestras to name but two. ...

I think those orchestras have the weight of numbers behind them.  ("Your orchestra has 24 violins? Ha! We have 326!") And a heap of history. ("How old are your violins? 200 years? Pshaw! Ours are 500 years old! And you can't buy them anywhere! At any price!")

... Could it be that the violins are divided ?

Er, hang on...

Well, I don't know if this counts as "divided", but at the start of "Jupiter" the second violins are situated at about 11 o'clock in the soundstage, followed by the first violins at about 9 o'clock. ("They certainly took their time..." – boom! boom!.)

In any case, one more planet to go (it's starting now, rather unmysteriously)... I paid a penny (literally) for this disc.. Plus postage and exchange it came to about 7$ CAD

Beautiful.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: North Star on March 13, 2015, 08:35:45 PM
Point 1: As much as I love Sibelius's Third Symphony, I'd be reluctant to do undertake a comparison of available recordings, because all the time I'd be thinking "But what about Sibelius's other symphonies? Isn't it unfair to single out one of his symphonies for a survey?" The completist in me thinks it'd be like listening to only "Mars" from all the Planets recordings.
What about Beni Mora and Egdon Heath?  8)
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on March 13, 2015, 09:12:39 PM
What about Beni Mora and Egdon Heath?  8)

Yes and yes – but there's a backlog of other, reader-friendlier tunes* to get through first.

I don't know how many people would be champing at the bit to see a large list of Egdon Heaths.


(*Scheherazade, Carmina Burana, Enigma Variations, Daphnis et Chloé, Also Sprach Zarathustra, "Tiptoe Through The Tulips" etc.)
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: North Star on March 13, 2015, 09:15:28 PM
Yes and yes – but there's a backlog of other, reader-friendlier tunes* to get through first.

I don't know how many people would be champing at the bit to see a large list of Egdon Heaths.
Oh, I only meant that you shouldn't let that stop you from starting (and possibly finishing) with one Sibelius work.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on March 13, 2015, 09:36:04 PM
Oh, I only meant that you shouldn't let that stop you from starting (and possibly finishing) with one Sibelius work.

Oh yeah. I forgot about the Sibelius Third Symphony. (I know, I know: we were taking about it intently just a little while ago. Oops.)
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on March 16, 2015, 05:30:05 PM
Back to The Planets.

A visitor to my blog reminded me that I forgot to mention Andrew Davis's 1986 Toronto recording using children's voices instead of women's in "Neptune".

I've amended the post accordingly:

https://petersplanets.wordpress.com/2015/01/01/davis-a-1986/ (https://petersplanets.wordpress.com/2015/01/01/davis-a-1986/)
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: kishnevi on March 17, 2015, 08:52:58 AM
Thanks to your hard work, I got the Dutoit.  Listened to it Sunday night.
Is good.  Not being a planetophile, it will definitely meet all my Planets needs.
So thanks again.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on March 17, 2015, 03:54:48 PM
Thanks to your hard work, I got the Dutoit.  Listened to it Sunday night.
Is good.  Not being a planetophile, it will definitely meet all my Planets needs.
So thanks again.

A-OK, Jeffo*.

I reckon the Dutoit Planets will give you the best bang for your buck. It's tremendous.

(*If you thoroughly despise being called "Jeffo", many apologies Jeffster.)
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: kishnevi on March 17, 2015, 08:52:29 PM
A-OK, Jeffo*.

I reckon the Dutoit Planets will give you the best bang for your buck. It's tremendous.

(*If you thoroughly despise being called "Jeffo", many apologies Jeffster.)

Call me anything you want.
Just don't call me late for dinner.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on March 17, 2015, 09:37:57 PM
Call me anything you want.
Just don't call me late for dinner.

Thanks, The Jeffmeister.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on March 18, 2015, 04:03:42 AM
Thanks to your hard work, I got the Dutoit.  Listened to it Sunday night.
Is good.  Not being a planetophile, it will definitely meet all my Planets needs.

(* wonders if snypsss may one day go on a Planets jag .... *)
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Christo on March 21, 2015, 04:14:59 AM
BTW, PPP's terrific job, listing all 80 Planets and reviewing them in a way that many here found very stimulating - something about humour - shouldn't disappear out of sight.
Here's is his labour of love once again, complete with his (almost) final verdict:

https://petersplanets.wordpress.com
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: André on March 21, 2015, 02:17:53 PM
BTW, PPP's terrific job, listing all 80 Planets and reviewing them in a way that many here found very stimulating - something about humour - shouldn't disappear out of sight.
Here's is his labour of love once again, complete with his (almost) final verdict:

https://petersplanets.wordpress.com

THANKS INDEED !

The was quite a journey ! I just ordered the Ozawa Boston and Dutoit Montreal recordings (had the latter on vinyl, but never on cd). And currently attempting to buy the Mark Elder version.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on March 23, 2015, 12:37:22 AM
Back to the "What to review after The Planets" caper...

I'm wondering if I'm in over my head by choosing Rimsky-Korsakov's Scheherazade.

Whilst gathering more Scheherazades to listen to, I came across this MusicWeb review of Yuri Temirkanov's 2011 recording of the work (http://www.musicweb-international.com/classrev/2013/May13/Rimsky_Scheherazade_SIGCD320.htm). The reviewer (Paul Corfield Godfrey) said this:

"...there are 137 versions currently listed on Archiv [ArkivMusic]."

He's right (http://www.arkivmusic.com/classical/Drilldown?name_id1=10151&name_role1=1&bcorder=1&comp_id=2464).1

Egad!2

Does everyone here still want me to pester Scheherazade? And maybe trim it down to a more manageable 100? Or 50? Or try something else?


(1It's actually 136 at the moment, but I ain't quibbling.)

(2Sorry about swearing there.)
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Pat B on March 23, 2015, 06:30:02 AM
I'm wondering if I'm in over my head by choosing Rimsky-Korsakov's Scheherazade.
...
Does everyone here still want me to pester Scheherazade? And maybe trim it down to a more manageable 100? Or 50? Or try something else?

From what I read of your Planets exploration, I suspect you'll have trouble trimming the list.

I think the most important thing is for you to do something that you will enjoy.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on March 23, 2015, 05:15:21 PM
From what I read of your Planets exploration, I suspect you'll have trouble trimming the list.

Yep. With some pieces of music (e.g., pieces I'm going to review) I'm a completist.

I think the most important thing is for you to do something that you will enjoy.

I like Scheherazade, but I don't know if I'm going to like spending a few months listening to nothing but that a few hundred times.

I currently have 45 of them on the hard drive, and from the bits of some of those Scheherazades I've heard, I must admit that I'm having trouble telling them apart. They all sound good to me. Are there any bad Scheherazades? Because at the moment, they're probably all going to be number one in the list.

Hmm. I wonder how many Enigma Variations are there?*

(*Answer: According to ArkivMusic, 118 (http://www.arkivmusic.com/classical/albumList.jsp?name_id1=3426&name_role1=1&comp_id=961&bcorder=15). Aargh!)
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Sergeant Rock on March 23, 2015, 05:17:32 PM
Hmm. I wonder how many Enigma Variations are there?*

(*Answer: According to ArkivMusic, 118 (http://www.arkivmusic.com/classical/albumList.jsp?name_id1=3426&name_role1=1&comp_id=961&bcorder=15). Aargh!)

I suggest you tackle Havergal Brian's Gothic Symphony. That's doable  ;)

Sarge
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: NJ Joe on March 23, 2015, 05:43:30 PM
How about Pictures At An Exhibition, Ravel's Orchestration?
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on March 23, 2015, 08:07:19 PM
How about Pictures At An Exhibition, Ravel's Orchestration?

Yes!

I love the Mussorgsky/Ravel tag team Pictures at an Exhibition. If I reviewed what's available I could even sneak in Vladimir Ashkenazy's orchestration (https://play.spotify.com/album/3SZj7t0EH0CBs4uxMIolZl)* too.

Now all I have to do is find out how many versions of the Ravel orchestration of Pictures there are at ArkivMusic, and...

134 (http://www.arkivmusic.com/classical/albumList.jsp?name_id1=8495&name_role1=1&comp_id=435848&bcorder=15).

Gah!

The optimist in me is thinking a lot of those recordings will be multiple releases of the same recordings. Hang on...

Yep. There are quite a few re-releases in there:

Giulini 10 (http://www.arkivmusic.com/classical/Drilldown?name_id1=8495&name_role1=1&comp_id=435848&bcorder=15&name_id=56134&name_role=3)
Markevitch 10 (http://www.arkivmusic.com/classical/Drilldown?name_id1=8495&name_role1=1&comp_id=435848&bcorder=15&name_id=7684&name_role=3)
Karajan 8 (http://www.arkivmusic.com/classical/Drilldown?name_id1=8495&name_role1=1&comp_id=435848&bcorder=15&name_id=56047&name_role=3)
Rattle 6 (http://www.arkivmusic.com/classical/Drilldown?name_id1=8495&name_role1=1&comp_id=435848&bcorder=15&name_id=56243&name_role=3)
Reiner 5 (http://www.arkivmusic.com/classical/Drilldown?name_id1=8495&name_role1=1&comp_id=435848&bcorder=15&name_id=56114&name_role=3)
Gergiev 4 (http://www.arkivmusic.com/classical/Drilldown?name_id1=8495&name_role1=1&comp_id=435848&bcorder=15&name_id=56888&name_role=3)
Ormandy 4 (http://www.arkivmusic.com/classical/Drilldown?name_id1=8495&name_role1=1&comp_id=435848&bcorder=15&name_id=56111&name_role=3)
Toscanini 4 (http://www.arkivmusic.com/classical/Drilldown?name_id1=8495&name_role1=1&comp_id=435848&bcorder=15&name_id=56717&name_role=3)
Dutoit3 (http://www.arkivmusic.com/classical/Drilldown?name_id1=8495&name_role1=1&comp_id=435848&bcorder=15&name_id=56171&name_role=3)

And 16 doubles.

I'll whip out my calculator and see what's what.

1. Those multiples add up to 86.
2. 134-86=48.
3. Of those multiples, there are 25 conductors.
4. 48+25=73.

I can cope with 73.


(*I was going to call it "Vladimir Ashkenazy's possibly unnecessary orchestration", but I guess Vlad felt the need. So for one person at least, it was necessary.)
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on March 23, 2015, 08:14:59 PM
I suggest you tackle Havergal Brian's Gothic Symphony. That's doable  ;)

Sarge

It sure is. ArkivMusic lists four recordings (http://www.arkivmusic.com/classical/albumList.jsp?name_id1=1496&name_role1=1&comp_id=152229&bcorder=15). He he.

But I've never heard it. Is it worth hearing?

Actually, I can probably answer that question myself. (In my best Adam West Batman voice) To the YouTube!

https://www.youtube.com/v/EqnzwjirXLc

I'm listening to it now.

Well, that's... it's... well, it's something.

I've made it to the five-minute mark. So far, it sounds like every Romantic symphony ever composed. Do I want spend two hours listening to this?
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Christo on March 23, 2015, 11:39:39 PM
I've made it to the five-minute mark. So far, it sounds like every Romantic symphony ever composed. Do I want spend two hours listening to this?

Of course you will. The second movement is alreay tremendous and the third never less than astounding. And then comes the most towerlike Te Deum you'll ever hear, for a full hour. But as to the three orchestral movements: try the Lento and the Vivace and allow yourself to be overwhelmed by the orchestral writing.  :)
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on March 24, 2015, 01:44:11 AM
Of course you will. The second movement is already tremendous and the third never less than astounding. And then comes the most towerlike Te Deum you'll ever hear, for a full hour. But as to the three orchestral movements: try the Lento and the Vivace and allow yourself to be overwhelmed by the orchestral writing.  :)

A Te Deum, for an hour, inside a symphony? Young Mr. Brian certainly didn't hold back. ("The fools! I'll show them all! I'll create the largest symphony ever known to mankind! And it will be unplayable. Do you hear me? Unplayable! A-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha...")

I'll give it a go. Maybe I'll get past the five-minute mark next time. Now all I need is a spare two hours so I can hear it.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: André on March 24, 2015, 09:26:49 AM
The closest I can think of to The Planets, meaning a works in multiple sections of multifarious colours and moods is Enigma. Maybe Le Coq d'Or suite and Zarathustra, too. Musically I prefer the former.

If you want to cut the chase to a quarter of an hour works, Rimsky's Grande Pâque russe is certainly worth anybody's attention. But please, by all means, avoid Bolero  ???
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Christo on March 24, 2015, 01:13:59 PM
A Te Deum, for an hour, inside a symphony? Young Mr. Brian certainly didn't hold back. ("The fools! I'll show them all! I'll create the largest symphony ever known to mankind! And it will be unplayable. Do you hear me? Unplayable! A-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha...")

I'll give it a go. Maybe I'll get past the five-minute mark next time. Now all I need is a spare two hours so I can hear it.

 ;D Young Mr. Brian was 51. It isn't the biggest, it's never bombastic, and since it is perfectly playable, it is played.

Other musical landmarks comparable to the Planets? La Mer, the Sacre, Daphnis et Chloe, Pictures at an Exhibition. Or, if you want to do it for me, Vaughan Williams' Sixth. :-)
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on March 24, 2015, 05:11:59 PM
The closest I can think of to The Planets, meaning a works in multiple sections of multifarious colours and moods is Enigma. Maybe Le Coq d'Or suite and Zarathustra, too. Musically I prefer the former.

I'm very definitely leaning in the direction of the Enigma Variations or Pictures at an Exhibition. And to a lesser extent Also Sprach Zarathustra.

Two problems with the Le Coq d'Or suite for me are:

a) It's not that well known (relatively speaking); and
b) It's only the suite – which can lead to wails of "Why the suite? Why not the whole thing (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Golden_Cockerel)?".

If you want to cut the chase to a quarter of an hour works, Rimsky's Grande Pâque russe is certainly worth anybody's attention. ...

Rimsky-Korsakov's Russian Easter Festival Overture (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russian_Easter_Festival_Overture) (La Grande Pâque Russe) is enjoyable, but not hearing-it-fifty-times enjoyable.

The length of a piece doesn't bother me. Ideally, it'd be about half an hour. The Enigma Variations are/is perfect for that.

... But please, by all means, avoid Bolero  ???

Avoid Boléro? Can do. I have absolutely no trouble listening to it over and over again, but I don't think there's much variation in interpretations.

And that's my biggest grumble with Scheherazade at the moment: From what I've heard (so far), there don't seem to be any bad Scheherazades out there.

In anticipation of doing this "Let's review every Scheherazade!", I grabbed as many recordings as I could find. I now have 45 of them. I haven't heard them all yet, but I've dipped my toe in here and there to get a feel for how conductors approach it, and how different the recordings are, be they new, old, stereo, mono, Russian, European, American etc. (I also wanted to see if I can withstand the prospect of listening to close to a hundred Scheherazades.) Unfortunately, I've enjoyed every one I've heard. For a survey of a piece of classical music, that's not helpful at all.

By the way, as I was typing this response* (and working on another) I listened to Sascha Goetzel's 2014 recording of Scheherazade with the Borusan Istanbul Philharmonic Orchestra (http://www.amazon.com/Rimsky-Korsakov-Borusan-Istanbul-Philharmonic-Orchestra/dp/B00K8H5U1O). It was great. I'm now listening to Ernest Ansermet's 1960 recording with L'Orchestre de la Suisse Romande (http://www.amazon.com/Rimsky-Korsakov-Scheherazade-Festival-Christmas-Dubinushku/dp/B000004241). It's great.

This is a problem.

That's why I'm looking around for something else.


(*It sometimes takes me a while to type responses, because I'm an incessant self-editor.)
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on March 24, 2015, 05:28:09 PM
;D Young Mr. Brian was 51. It isn't the biggest, it's never bombastic, and since it is perfectly playable, it is played.

OK. But who'd want to play it?

("Er, Bob, it's time to program some symphonies for the orchestra's upcoming season. I know you want to do Havergal Brian's Gothic Symphony, but we only have 592 musicians available...")

Other musical landmarks comparable to the Planets? La Mer, the Sacre, Daphnis et Chloe, Pictures at an Exhibition. Or, if you want to do it for me, Vaughan Williams' Sixt. :-)

I thought about Daphnis et Chloé, with Ravel being my favourite 20th Century composer and all, but I think that particular ballet goes on way too long.

La Mer is well worth considering. (I hadn't thought of that one.)

As for Le Sacre du Printemps, I already have a favourite: Riccardo Chailly's 1987 recording with The Cleveland Orchestra (http://www.amazon.com/Stravinsky-Printemps-Petrushka-Musagete-Firebird/dp/B00008MLU2).

Nevertheless, Le Sacre is entirely doable. It wouldn't be much of a stretch for me, because last year I went through a heavy-duty Stravinsky ballet phase, listening to as many of the three big ones (The Firebird, Petrushka, The Rite of Spring) as possible.

If I was to do a Vaughan Williams symphony, it'd be his 5th. I love, love, love the slow movement (https://youtu.be/6AP_desQX68), and if I did a survey of the symphony I'd probably spend almost all of my time talking about that slow movement. Love it.

But I like the idea of La Mer.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: amw on March 25, 2015, 12:50:36 AM
I was also going to recommend Le Sacre.  Though I suspect that's also going to have a ridiculous number of recordings.

Or maybe the Bartók Concerto for Orchestra or something.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: aukhawk on March 25, 2015, 01:07:46 AM
Bartok's SPC runs to about 28 minutes (in my favourite version) and has a nice variety of colour and texture I think.

Recently covered in Building a Library, the top recommendation was ... [slight ashamed cough] "this version isn't actually available at the moment ... [brighter] ... but we've been told it is due to be re-issued later in 2015."
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on March 25, 2015, 01:49:00 AM
The closest I can think of to The Planets, meaning a works in multiple sections of multifarious colours and moods is Enigma. Maybe Le Coq d'Or suite and Zarathustra, too. Musically I prefer the former.

If you want to cut the chase to a quarter of an hour works, Rimsky's Grande Pâque russe is certainly worth anybody's attention. But please, by all means, avoid Bolero  ???

Just a little bit more about the Enigma Variations.

This is ArkivMusic's list of Enigma recordings (http://www.arkivmusic.com/classical/Drilldown?name_id1=3426&name_role1=1&bcorder=1&comp_id=961), sorted by conductor (with the number of releases for each in parentheses):

Ashkenazy, Vladimir (1)
Barbirolli, Sir John (4)
Barenboim, Daniel (3)
Beecham, Sir Thomas (2)
Begian, Harry (1)
Bernstein, Leonard (4)
Boughton, William (4)
Boult, Sir Adrian (10)
Davis, Sir Andrew (5)
Davis, Sir Colin (5)
Dutoit, Charles (1)
Elder, Mark (1)
Elgar, Sir Edward (4)
Gardiner, John Eliot (2)
Gibson, Sir Alexander (3)
Green, Eddie (1)
Haitink, Bernard (2)
Handley, Vernon (1)
Hurst, George (2)
Järvi, Paavo (1)
Jochum, Eugen (1)
Kleinert, Rolf (1)
Leaper, Adrian (2)
Levine, James (1)
Mackerras, Sir Charles (3)
Marriner, Sir Neville (1)
Mata, Eduardo (2)
Mehta, Zubin (1)
Menuhin, Yehudi (2)
Monteux, Pierre (6)
Norrington, Roger (2)
Ormandy, Eugene (1)
Previn, André (1)
Rattle, Simon (3)
Sargent, Sir Malcolm (1)
Sinopoli, Giuseppe (2)
Slatkin, Leonard (2)
Sleeper, Thomas M. (1)
Solti, Sir Georg (6)
Steinberg, William (1)
Stern, Michael (2)
Stokowski, Leopold (2)
Thomson, Bryden (1)
Toscanini, Arturo (5)
Weldon, George (1)
Wood, Sir Henry (1)
Wordsworth, Barry (1)
Zinman, David (1)

I counted, and that's 48 conductors.

48 is eminently manageable. (Even 58, if it turns out that Sir Adrian Boult actually did record it 10 times.)

The Enigma Variations are/is looking better and better for a survey.

Now to see how many recordings there are of Le Sacre du Printemps, Also Sprach Zarathustra, Pictures at an Exhibition, La Mer, Concerto for Orchestra etc.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Pat B on March 25, 2015, 07:47:46 AM
Now to see how many recordings there are of Le Sacre du Printemps...

Many. But you can cover a lot of that ground with the Decca (38) and Sony (10) sets.

ETA: I have the Sony but not the Decca.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Brian on March 25, 2015, 10:05:48 AM
I am all in favor of a Vaughan Williams Fifth bonanza!

Rezucha/Slovak PO is a pretty nifty Scheherazade, so maybe there are no bad Scheherazades. Oh, wait. There is one: Luxembourg/Emmanuel Krivine. And the Haitink/Concertgebouw recording my parents had when I was a kid never got me too excited, either.

I think Scheherazade is one of those pieces where almost anyone can do a very good job, but almost nobody can do a capital-G Great job. For me right now, that club is pretty much just Svetlanov, Beecham, and Schwarz. The Borusan Istanbul album is pretty sweet, though.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: André on March 25, 2015, 02:56:45 PM
Kondrashin's is my hands down favourite Schéhérazade. But there are a couple of Stokowskis and even a surprisingly good Dutoit Montreal - with possibly the sweetest violin solo ever.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on March 25, 2015, 05:20:11 PM
I am all in favor of a Vaughan Williams Fifth bonanza!

That's definitely one to consider, but later.

Rezucha/Slovak PO is a pretty nifty Scheherazade, so maybe there are no bad Scheherazades. Oh, wait. There is one: Luxembourg/Emmanuel Krivine. And the Haitink/Concertgebouw recording my parents had when I was a kid never got me too excited, either.

I think Scheherazade is one of those pieces where almost anyone can do a very good job, but almost nobody can do a capital-G Great job. For me right now, that club is pretty much just Svetlanov, Beecham, and Schwarz. The Borusan Istanbul album is pretty sweet, though.

I spent most of yesterday listening to Scheherazade. I heard about five or six of them (I simply played one after the other), and they were all mighty enjoyable. I'm listening to it again today, and am halfway through the Beecham version (https://play.spotify.com/album/12gqWnkhIOszwytW6jKcMY). And that's great too. (Even the ultra-cheapy by the Radio Symphonieorchester Ljubljana, conducted by Anton Nanut (https://play.spotify.com/album/6ftuXQTbnZUp8A02vhD0qI), was fine.)

Now that I've heard a few, I honestly think Scheherazade is one of those conductor-proof pieces, where you can't really mess it up – unless you're someone like Roger Norrington*, who has "ideas" about how the piece "should" go.

And all of that makes a survey pretty pointless. As I mentioned elsewhere (or maybe I didn't – who knows?), I might as well put every recording of Scheherazade at number one, and say to people: "Look, buy any Scheherazade. It's gonna be good".

I can't pick 'em apart from each other. Despite having having 45 Scheherazades on the hard drive, and wanting to hear them all, I've come to the conclusion that I'm not the man for a Scheherazade survey.

I say that with a very heavy heart, because another forum user here who shall remain nameless (unless he wants to be named) helped me out enormously with some Scheherazades, going above and beyond the call of duty in his efforts. I want to apologise profusely for making the effort he went to a waste of time. Many apologies, O Fellow Forum User.

I hope there's a lot of interpretative difference in the other pieces that have been suggested. I'm really hoping there's a piece of music that can be messed big-time. Are there any atrocious recordings of the Enigma Variations, La Mer, Pictures at an Exhibition, Also Sprach Zarathustra etc.? If so, I want to hear them.

This survey thing is harder than I thought. The Planets one was easy because there was a wide range of interpretations. But choosing another work... Boy oh boy, this is tricky.


(*Sorry about picking on poor Roger there – but he was just the first conductor I thought of who goes off the deep end interpretatively, for reasons know only to the conductor.)
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on March 25, 2015, 07:15:05 PM
[Snip]

Rezucha/Slovak PO is a pretty nifty Scheherazade, so maybe there are no bad Scheherazades. Oh, wait. There is one: Luxembourg/Emmanuel Krivine. And the Haitink/Concertgebouw recording my parents had when I was a kid never got me too excited, either.

Actually, I started listening to the Bernstein/New York Philharmonic and found it lethargic (with the solo violin out of tune in places, as well as the lower strings having a bit of iffy intonation). So I guess there can be the occasional not-great Scheherazade.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on March 25, 2015, 07:27:30 PM
Kondrashin's is my hands down favourite Schéhérazade. But there are a couple of Stokowskis and even a surprisingly good Dutoit Montreal - with possibly the sweetest violin solo ever.

Thanks to your enthusiasm, I'm now listening to it. Mighty nice.

It's on Spotify:

Rimsky-Korsakov - Scheherazade, Op. 35 (Concertgebouw Orchestra, Amsterdam* / Kirill Kondrashin) (https://play.spotify.com/album/2EXgwJfR4rqCdlgEtqKlxu)

And YouTube:

1st movement
https://www.youtube.com/v/AMb1P5o7zo8

2nd movement
https://www.youtube.com/v/iMbj1_zuMAQ

3rd movement
https://www.youtube.com/v/fzwxdzaLil4

4th movement
https://www.youtube.com/v/dD3e_S4ufJQ


(*I so want to call it "Hamsterdam".)
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Mirror Image on March 25, 2015, 07:52:41 PM
Personally, I couldn't imagine listening to dozens and dozens of recordings of Rimsky-Korsakov's Scheherazade. I enjoy the work, but not enough to warrant maybe 1-2 listens a year.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on March 25, 2015, 08:08:36 PM
Personally, I couldn't imagine listening to dozens and dozens of recordings of Rimsky-Korsakov's Scheherazade. I enjoy the work, but not enough to warrant maybe 1-2 listens a year.

That's what I've been finding these last two days. Listening to nothing but that is becoming a bit of a blur.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: aukhawk on March 26, 2015, 01:47:53 AM
(*I so want to call it "Hamsterdam".)

Can I insert the image of Hamster jam into your mind?
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Christo on March 26, 2015, 02:43:15 AM
(*I so want to call it "Hamsterdam".)

Amstelodamum. For you.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on March 26, 2015, 03:12:17 AM
Can I insert the image of Hamster jam into your mind?

Yes please.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Pat B on March 26, 2015, 07:57:16 AM
Actually, I started listening to the Bernstein/New York Philharmonic and found it lethargic (with the solo violin out of tune in places, as well as the lower strings having a bit of iffy intonation). So I guess there can be the occasional not-great Scheherazade.

Ormandy's is pretty bad. For a long time it was the only one I had, chosen when I was a student because it was cheap and coupled with the two Rimsky pieces I had played in student orchestras. Then, hearing the Reiner, I discovered what I had been missing. I have since added Svetlanov/BBC Legends, Fricsay, and that Bernstein, all of which are better than the Ormandy.

I think I like the fiery Svetlanov the best, but the Reiner (which I just listened to) is certainly very, very good.

But I'm with Mirror Image: I can't imagine binge-listening to this piece. (Actually, binge listening to anything isn't very appealing to me, but if I was going to do it, it wouldn't be Scheherazade.)
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Brian on March 26, 2015, 08:02:54 AM
I think I like the fiery Svetlanov the best
Ain't just you. Svetlanov/BBC is my #1. :)
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Pat B on March 26, 2015, 08:10:23 AM
Ain't just you. Svetlanov/BBC is my #1. :)

Right, I think one of your comments was how I found out about it. :)
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: André on March 26, 2015, 10:47:03 AM
Isn't the Ormandy cut  ?

FWIW, there are surveys in American Record Guide that help clear and choose for those warhorses. Except that the heavy hand of Don Vroon can be felt when it comes to editorialize about what's "good" and what's "bad". And his taste and mine don't necessarily coincide.

La Mer is an easy pick. Neat piece in 3 movements that allow for differences in mood and character, orchestral colours and tempi. Mind you, it might end up being a contest between the French and les autres, or between pre-1960 recordings and post 1970 ones. The interregnum (1960s) is a decade in which the music was in search of an identity.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on March 26, 2015, 10:54:31 AM
Sacrée vache!  He cut The Planets?  Was nothing safe from his tampering?!
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Pat B on March 26, 2015, 11:46:31 AM
Sacrée vache!  He cut The Planets?  Was nothing safe from his tampering?!

I think André was referring to Ormandy's Scheherazade. To answer the question: I don't know. I have probably only listened to it once, years ago, since getting another recording.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on March 26, 2015, 11:46:55 AM
Oh!  Still . . . .
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Pat B on March 26, 2015, 11:48:18 AM
Oh!  Still . . . .

You're quick!

For what's worth, my recollection is that it has bigger problems than a cut.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on March 26, 2015, 01:31:11 PM
This is excellent. You're all doing a Scheherazade survey for me.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on March 27, 2015, 03:54:33 AM
Hey, nothing wrong with making it a communal effort!
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on March 27, 2015, 03:20:23 PM
Hey, nothing wrong with making it a communal effort!

No sirree.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: NJ Joe on March 27, 2015, 04:04:47 PM
Now to see how many recordings there are of Le Sacre du Printemps, Also Sprach Zarathustra, Pictures at an Exhibition, La Mer, Concerto for Orchestra etc.

Just take your time and do all of them!

Or maybe what about Bartok's Music For Strings Percussion and Celesta?
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on March 27, 2015, 07:59:19 PM
Amstelodamum. For you.

Thanks. (I think.)

Now to find out what "Amstelodamum" means (I'm guessing it doesn't mean someone's mum called "Amstelo")...

According to the Dutch Wikipedia (http://Een genootschap is een vereniging wier leden genoten genoemd worden), "Amstelodamum" is a "Nederlands genootschap".

Now before you ask what a "genootschap" is, I'll tell you (or more accurately, Dutch Wikipedia will tell you):

"Een genootschap is een vereniging wier leden genoten genoemd worden."

So there you have it. That's what a "genootschap" is.

Out of those words in the description, I recognised "is".

Update: I used Google Translate, and discovered this (on the same Dutch Wikipedia page (http://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amstelodamum)):

"The Society Amstelodamum is a Dutch society that is fighting for the preservation of the city of Amsterdam."

Okey dokey then.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: kishnevi on March 27, 2015, 08:16:25 PM
Anglophone Wiki
http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genootschap
Quote
Each member voluntarily joins his or her fate with that of his or her fellow members and that of the genootschap's ups and downs. Such a society also usually has a number of other characteristics :

Size and composition: The number of members of a society is limited. A society can be sizeable, but it is never a mass association. Thus its intentions are decided only by its character.
Objective: The target of a genootschap is always carried forward by its members with a certain degree of seriousness, as well as a great social aim. From this also results its solemn character and interest in decorum.

Does GMG qualify as a genootschap?
ETA. Probably not, if solemn character and interest in decorum are essential elements.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on March 27, 2015, 08:28:41 PM
Just take your time and do all of them!

Or maybe what about Bartok's Music For Strings Percussion and Celesta?

Isn't that the piece in which all interpretations bow down to Fritz Reiner and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and every other recording of it is rubbish?

https://www.youtube.com/v/w3dR3McS69Y

https://www.youtube.com/v/QVdCcFo_HnA

https://www.youtube.com/v/Wqaeeu1nux4

https://www.youtube.com/v/ppsV4HoCVqc

Hmm. It's not the kind of music that encourages me to listen to it over and over again. (I can't picture saying to myself, "I think I'll listen to that one more time.")
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on March 27, 2015, 08:31:49 PM
Anglophone Wiki
http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genootschap
Does GMG qualify as a genootschap?
ETA. Probably not, if solemn character and interest in decorum are essential elements.

I must admit that every time I see the word "genootschap", I want to say "Bless you" and hand someone a tissue.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on March 27, 2015, 09:51:08 PM
I thought about Daphnis et Chloé, with Ravel being my favourite 20th Century composer and all, but I think that particular ballet goes on way too long.

La Mer is well worth considering. (I hadn't thought of that one.)

As for Le Sacre du Printemps, I already have a favourite: Riccardo Chailly's 1987 recording with The Cleveland Orchestra (http://www.amazon.com/Stravinsky-Printemps-Petrushka-Musagete-Firebird/dp/B00008MLU2).

Nevertheless, Le Sacre is entirely doable. It wouldn't be much of a stretch for me, because last year I went through a heavy-duty Stravinsky ballet phase, listening to as many of the three big ones (The Firebird, Petrushka, The Rite of Spring) as possible.

If I was to do a Vaughan Williams symphony, it'd be his 5th. I love, love, love the slow movement (https://youtu.be/6AP_desQX68), and if I did a survey of the symphony I'd probably spend almost all of my time talking about that slow movement. Love it.

But I like the idea of La Mer.

I'm liking the idea of La Mer (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/La_mer_%28Debussy%29) more and more.

I already have six versions on CD:


So that's a good start.

And yesterday I found 26 La Mers in the one place. Woohoo!

However, when it comes to works by Debussy, I prefer Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pr%C3%A9lude_%C3%A0_l%27apr%C3%A8s-midi_d%27un_faune).

It looks like Le Sacre du Printemps is fading into the distance for a survey. But just a little. I'm extremely keen on doing Le Sacre, if only because I have the perfect title for the blog: "Peter's Rite".

So far, it's neck-and-neck: La Mer and Le Sacre du Printemps*.

(*Anyone seeing that title for the first time might be forgiven for thinking it translates to "The Scary Print Imps".)
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on March 27, 2015, 10:35:47 PM
I'm liking the idea of La Mer (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/La_mer_%28Debussy%29) more and more.

I already have six versions on CD:

  • Serge Baudo, London Philharmonic Orchestra (1986) (http://www.amazon.com/Mer-Debussy/dp/B00000DO10)
  • Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos, London Symphony Orchestra (er, dunno) (http://www.amazon.com/Mer-Nocturnes-C-Debussy/dp/B000000TGS)
  • Bernard Haitink, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra (1976) (http://www.amazon.com/Debussy-Orchestral-Music-Claude/dp/B00000417P)
  • Herbert von Karajan, Berliner Philharmoniker (1977, EMI) (http://www.amazon.com/Debussy-Mer-Karajan-Bpo/dp/B00000DOBM)
  • Jean Martinon, Orchestre National de l'O.R.T.F. (1974) (http://www.amazon.com/Debussy-Orchestral-Works-I-Claude/dp/B000HWZAN8)
  • André Previn, London Symphony Orchestra (1979) (http://www.amazon.com/Prelude-Afternoon-Faun-London-Symphony/dp/B00001ZSX8)

So that's a good start.

And yesterday I found 26 La Mers in the one place. Woohoo!

However, when it comes to works by Debussy, I prefer Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pr%C3%A9lude_%C3%A0_l%27apr%C3%A8s-midi_d%27un_faune).

It looks like Le Sacre du Printemps is fading into the distance for a survey. But just a little. I'm extremely keen on doing Le Sacre, if only because I have the perfect title for the blog: "Peter's Rite".

So far, it's neck-and-neck: La Mer and Le Sacre du Printemps*.

(*Anyone seeing that title for the first time might be forgiven for thinking it translates to "The Scary Print Imps".)

I just bought four more La Mer CDs:


This is eating into my Planets money. But I'd say it's for a good cause. (Plus I've just about run out of inexpensive Planets CDs to buy.)

I think the ball has begun rolling.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Christo on March 28, 2015, 12:17:50 AM
Now to find out what "Amstelodamum" means (I'm guessing it doesn't mean someone's mum called "Amstelo")...

 :) Amstelodamum is the (artificial) Latin name for Amsterdam and the 'genootschap' (society) with the same name is here on earth to promote, preserve, do what it likes - the interest of the city. Its inhabitants (I was one) simply call it 'Mokum', derived via Yiddish from the Hebrew Maqom מָקוֹם(place/town). So it's Mokum for me and Amstelodamum for you.  ;D Back to La Mer, an intriguing idea!
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on March 28, 2015, 01:49:08 AM
:) Amstelodamum is the (artificial) Latin name for Amsterdam and the 'genootschap' (society) with the same name is here on earth to promote, preserve, do what it likes - the interest of the city. Its inhabitants (I was one) simply call it 'Mokum', derived via Yiddish from the Hebrew Maqom מָקוֹם(place/town). So it's Mokum for me and Amstelodamum for you.  ;D Back to La Mer, an intriguing idea!

Thanks for elucidating, Christo.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: NJ Joe on March 28, 2015, 07:11:03 AM
Isn't that the piece in which all interpretations bow down to Fritz Reiner and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and every other recording of it is rubbish?

Absolutely not, Mr. Power Pop!  In addition to Reiner, I own and enjoy recordings by Boulez, Bernstein, Dorati, Karajan, and James Levine, who all do the piece justice.

EDIT:  And Fricsay!

Hmm. It's not the kind of music that encourages me to listen to it over and over again. (I can't picture saying to myself, "I think I'll listen to that one more time.")

Understood. Hey, it was worth a shot. La Mer would by a great choice, btw. I guess you gave up on Pictures at some point?
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: kishnevi on March 28, 2015, 11:51:09 AM
:) Amstelodamum is the (artificial) Latin name for Amsterdam and the 'genootschap' (society) with the same name is here on earth to promote, preserve, do what it likes - the interest of the city. Its inhabitants (I was one) simply call it 'Mokum', derived via Yiddish from the Hebrew Maqom מָקוֹם(place/town). So it's Mokum for me and Amstelodamum for you.  ;D Back to La Mer, an intriguing idea!

To add a twist on that, the original Hebrew word is one of the common titles of God (haMakom), usually in that context translated as "the Omnipresent".  The usage derives in turn from a rabbinic expression of God's transcendence: He is the place of the world but He has no place in it.

Now back to Holst's HaKokhavim-lechet.  Or Debussy's HaYam.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: kishnevi on March 28, 2015, 11:57:24 AM
BTW, if you are going to do La Mer,  this seems a good thread to revive for that purpose.
http://www.good-music-guide.com/community/index.php/topic,11445.msg588354.html#msg588354
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on March 28, 2015, 03:09:13 PM
Absolutely not, Mr. Power Pop!  In addition to Reiner, I own and enjoy recordings by Boulez, Bernstein, Dorati, Karajan, and James Levine, who all do the piece justice.

EDIT:  And Fricsay!

Okey dokey.

Understood. Hey, it was worth a shot. La Mer would be a great choice, btw. I guess you gave up on Pictures at some point?

Not give up per se. It sort of fell by the wayside. When Christo suggested La Mer (http://www.good-music-guide.com/community/index.php/topic,20422.msg878693.html#msg878693), that suddenly became more attractive than all the other frontrunners I was pondering.

The other frontrunners I was pondering:
Ex-frontrunners:
I actually want to do all of those eventually, but there's something about listening to loads of La Mers that I find irresistible.

Scheherazade Update: I'm now on my fourth straight day of listening to nothing but Scheherazade, and I'm just about all Scheherazaded out. Unfortunately, I enjoyed almost every version I heard, which I think is A Very Bad Thing for a list of recommended Scheherazades. My favourite is the one I'm listening to at the moment. Believe it or not, it's Karajan's 1967 recording with the Berliner Philharmoniker (http://www.amazon.com/Rimsky-Korsakov-Scheherazade-Borodin-Polovtsian-Dances/dp/B000001G78). I say "believe it or not" because I don't usually like Mr. von K.'s efforts on the podium, but just about everything here – despite more duff notes from the Berliners than I had imagined – ticks all my Scheherazade boxes.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Moonfish on March 28, 2015, 03:42:23 PM
Hmm, considering your strong interest in Baroque music: why not do a comparative listening session on a French Baroque Opera? E.g. one of Rameau's? Or some shorter piece/overture/aria/etc?   0:)
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Christo on March 28, 2015, 03:56:20 PM
To add a twist on that, the original Hebrew word is one of the common titles of God (haMakom), usually in that context translated as "the Omnipresent".  The usage derives in turn from a rabbinic expression of God's transcendence: He is the place of the world but He has no place in it.

Now back to Holst's HaKokhavim-lechet.  Or Debussy's HaYam.

Great to learn. Yes, I've been swimming a lot, last summer, in the Mediterranean Hayam with my kids, at Akhziv, Galilee.

I'm all in for Debussy's 1905 reading of it, an orchestral tour de force that I still find as thrilling as when I first heard it, about forty years ago (a 13/14 years old). I guess I own about a dozen recordings of it, but have to rely on PPP's hoped-for final verdict to be able to choose between them.

When Christo suggested La Mer[/url], that suddenly became more attractive than all the other frontrunners I was pondering.

Aaargh. ???  Okay, I accept my responsibility. I do love the piece enough for bearing it.  ;D
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on March 28, 2015, 04:39:56 PM
Hmm, considering your strong interest in Baroque music: why not do a comparative listening session on a French Baroque Opera? E.g. one of Rameau's? Or some shorter piece/overture/aria/etc?   0:)

I'd love to pester a Rameau opera, but there just aren't enough versions of any of them to justify a survey. (Actually, I don't think any Baroque composer has an opera in which there are enough versions to make a list with.)

With Rameau, Castor et Pollux is the most recorded of his operas, but there are only four recordings of that. Two of those are the 1737 version, and the other two are the 1753 version, which doesn't help when trying to make a go of listing the best "version".

Pygmalion is Rameau's next most recorded opera. That has a total of three recordings, but that's not enough for any kind of survey.

Although Rameau's Zoroastre has only two recordings, I did manage to scrape together six versions of one of the pieces from it. I posted those in the Zoroastre thread (http://www.good-music-guide.com/community/index.php/topic,797.msg838182.html#msg838182).

Alternatively, I could do a "Here's what Rameau wrote" kind of thing, featuring a variety of recordings, but that'd be pointless. It'd just be a blog featuring my favourite Rameau CDs, and nobody'd be interested in that.

I'm most interested in listing a pile of recordings of one work. With Baroque music, the likeliest contenders would be Messiah (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Messiah_%28Handel%29), the Brandenburg Concertos (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brandenburg_Concertos), and the Fireworks (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Music_for_the_Royal_Fireworks)/Water Music (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Water_Music_(Handel)).

The Brandenburg Concertos is entirely doable, as there's a huge variety of interpretations available (Note to Self: Add the Brandenburg Concertos to the list of frontrunners).

I could do the Fireworks/Water Music but I'd rather listen to something else.

And Messiah would be a nightmare. There are hundreds of 'em. Hundreds!
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on March 28, 2015, 04:47:27 PM
BTW, if you are going to do La Mer,  this seems a good thread to revive for that purpose.
http://www.good-music-guide.com/community/index.php/topic,11445.msg588354.html#msg588354

That's just the ticket*. Thanks, Big J.


(*Do people still use the phrase "that's the ticket"?)
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Moonfish on March 28, 2015, 04:50:59 PM

Alternatively, I could do a "Here's what Rameau wrote" kind of thing, featuring a variety of recordings, but that'd be pointless. It'd just be a blog featuring my favourite Rameau CDs, and nobody'd be interested in that.


I would be...     8)
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on March 28, 2015, 05:07:27 PM
I would be...     8)

Thanks for the vote of confidence, Moonfish.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Moonfish on March 28, 2015, 05:12:49 PM
Thanks for the vote of confidence, Moonfish.

(http://www.anglaisfacile.com/cgi2/myexam/images2/74368.gif)

Btw I just listened to one of Colin Davis's performances of "The Planets" (with BP/1988). Excellent!   8)

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51F0URg6ssL._SY355_.jpg)
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Est.1965 on March 28, 2015, 08:02:11 PM
This was the first ever Classical album I bought back in the day...I might get it again, it's on sale here and there...I played it often.

(http://c3.cduniverse.ws/resized/630x630/music/124/1583124.jpg)
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on March 28, 2015, 08:05:40 PM
(http://www.anglaisfacile.com/cgi2/myexam/images2/74368.gif)

Btw I just listened to one of Colin Davis's performances of "The Planets" (with BP/1988). Excellent!   8)

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51F0URg6ssL._SY355_.jpg)

I agree completely. I loved it on first listen. The thing I love about it is that the performance (https://petersplanets.wordpress.com/2015/01/01/davis-c-1988/) is so muscular. There's no messin' about. Sir Colin and the Berliners mean business from the very first note. Oh man, I want to hear it again right now.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on March 28, 2015, 08:25:17 PM
This was the first ever Classical album I bought back in the day...I might get it again, it's on sale here and there...I played it often.

(http://c3.cduniverse.ws/resized/630x630/music/124/1583124.jpg)

Mighty good.

I wanted to like it more, but those pesky mistakes (https://petersplanets.wordpress.com/2015/01/01/loughran-1975/) kept marring my enjoyment.

By the way, if you buy the CD you won't be disappointed. The digital transfer retains the much-admired sonics of the recording. (At least, I'm imagining it does. I've never heard the vinyl version, but people rave about how "warm" it sounds. The CD sounds very nice indeed.)

For buying it, I think your best bet is eBay. They have a copy there for less than $10 (with free shipping) (http://www.ebay.com/itm/The-Planets-By-Gustav-Holst-James-Loughran-Hall-Orchestra-Hall-Choir-/181410972921).

Amazon.com has it (http://www.amazon.com/Planets-Holst/dp/B000003X3R), but for an unreasonable amount of money ($24.99).

And Amazon.co.uk has it as well (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Holst-Planets-Gustav/dp/B000003X3R), but for a ridiculous amount of money. (How does £115.03 sound?)
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on March 29, 2015, 03:33:31 PM
That's just the ticket*. Thanks, Big J.


(*Do people still use the phrase "that's the ticket"?)

If you wish to, I shan't "give you the air"!
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on March 29, 2015, 03:55:47 PM
If you wish to, I shan't "give you the air"!

I'm afraid that sentence was a bit too cryptic for me, Karl. (I understand all the words, but not in that order.)
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on March 30, 2015, 02:41:58 AM
Earlier this month, I saw a performance of 42nd Street, and one of the bits of antique slang in the script was "giving me the air" (something akin to "brushing me off," I should think) ... and I did reflect (as it was a high school production) that the kids probably needed that one explained to them, and it was from well before their instructors' time, too ....
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Cato on March 30, 2015, 03:46:53 AM
Earlier this month, I saw a performance of 42nd Street, and one of the bits of antique slang in the script was "giving me the air" (something akin to "brushing me off," I should think) ... and I did reflect (as it was a high school production) that the kids probably needed that one explained to them, and it was from well before their instructors' time, too ....

Well, at least nobody "put the whammy on them."   0:)
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: André on March 30, 2015, 05:56:24 AM
Listening to the Enigma Variations by Litton and the RPO. Gorgeous music. Beautifully laid out (theme and 14 "named" variations), the perfect vehicle for an in depth survey. Just sayin'  :)

I have 11 Variations and they all seem good to me. A PPP survey would help separate the chaff from the grain. (re:  ;).

Edit: this should be useful: http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enigma_Variations_discography
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on March 30, 2015, 02:20:34 PM
Earlier this month, I saw a performance of 42nd Street, and one of the bits of antique slang in the script was "giving me the air" (something akin to "brushing me off," I should think) ... and I did reflect (as it was a high school production) that the kids probably needed that one explained to them, and it was from well before their instructors' time, too ....

Thanks for the clarification, KH. "Giving me the air" is a groovy phrase, daddy-o. It's a bit like "Talk to the hand", "Get outta my face", "Don't rain on my parade" etc.

I guess "Giving me the air" is just an updated version of "Giving me the bum's rush".

I'd say that pretty much every phrase is an update of an earlier phrase. (Or, as someone once said: "There's nothing new under the sun.")
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on March 30, 2015, 02:48:49 PM
Listening to the Enigma Variations by Litton and the RPO. Gorgeous music. ...

Litton's Planets (https://petersplanets.wordpress.com/2015/01/01/litton-1997/) are/is fabulous, so I'd love to hear his Enigma Variations. (Note to self: Listen to Litton's Enigma Variations.)

Thank you, YouTube.

https://www.youtube.com/v/9sgsjv8zCXU

Update: I'm listening to it now. Very nice.

... Beautifully laid out (theme and 14 "named" variations), the perfect vehicle for an in depth survey. Just sayin'  :)

I agree.

I have 11 Variations and they all seem good to me. A PPP survey would help separate the chaff from the grain. (re:  ;).

Right up until the moment La Mer was suggested, I was all set to do the Enigma Variations. (It was the prime contender.)

Although I do want to do the Enigma Variations, the collecting of La Mer recordings has begun, and I'm afraid it's unstoppable now. I have about 40 of them at the moment, and finding more as I keep looking. (I'm trying very hard not to say I've been "deluged with La Mers".)

Edit: this should be useful: http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enigma_Variations_discography

That's mighty helpful. Thanks, André.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: André on March 30, 2015, 05:23:55 PM
I certainly won't quibble with your La Mer choice and will follow this with much pleasure !  Make sure you have enough oldies on hand (Inghelbrecht, Desormière, Munch, Monteux, Toscanini, Rosenthal), as they present quite a different picture than the postacard seascapes often offered in the stereo era.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on March 30, 2015, 10:23:39 PM
I certainly won't quibble with your La Mer choice and will follow this with much pleasure !  Make sure you have enough oldies on hand (Inghelbrecht, Desormière, Munch, Monteux, Toscanini, Rosenthal), as they present quite a different picture than the postacard seascapes often offered in the stereo era.

These are all the pre-1961* La Mers I've found so far. They're all mono except for the ones that aren't:

1932 Coppola
1935 Toscanini
1939 Koussevitsky
1950 Toscanini
1950 Mitropolous
1952 Desormière
1953 Toscanini
1954 Cantelli
1955 Paray (stereo)
1956 Munch (stereo)
1957 Ansermet (stereo)
1957 Beinum (stereo)
1957 Szell
1959 Markevitch (stereo)
1960 Reiner (stereo)


(*I was born in 1961, so they're the "before my time" recordings. I'm working on finding other pre-Peter La Mers.)
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on April 06, 2015, 04:19:27 AM
Tonight or tomorrow I can return to the source;  but in The Memoirs of an Amnesiac, Oscar Levant recounts the story of Albert Coates leading the Rochester Philharmonic in The Planets.  George Eastman (hereinafter "Sugar Daddy") was appalled by such a modern piece, and told Coates that if he conducted it again, he would be out of a job.  Coates defied Sugar Daddy, and paid the price.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on April 06, 2015, 02:39:33 PM
Tonight or tomorrow I can return to the source;  but in The Memoirs of an Amnesiac, Oscar Levant recounts the story of Albert Coates leading the Rochester Philharmonic in The Planets.  George Eastman (hereinafter "Sugar Daddy") was appalled by such a modern piece, and told Coates that if he conducted it again, he would be out of a job.  Coates defied Sugar Daddy, and paid the price.

Wow. I guess George really didn't like The Planets.

Thanks for defending The Planets, Albert.

https://www.youtube.com/v/Y8RgTk2ZiF8
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on April 28, 2015, 09:27:55 PM
Yowser, folks.

I've just added another recording to the list at Peter's Planets (https://petersplanets.wordpress.com/):

Sir Andrew Davis, BBC Philharmonic, 2010 (https://petersplanets.wordpress.com/2015/01/01/davis-a-2010/)

(https://petersplanets.files.wordpress.com/2015/04/holst-the-planets-davis-a-bbc-philharmonic-2010.jpg) (https://petersplanets.wordpress.com/2015/01/01/davis-a-2010/)
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: amw on April 28, 2015, 10:17:06 PM
I got that out from a library last week! It's a pretty subdued Planets, not as glitzy as the Rattle and Karajan recordings I already know, but well in keeping with the rest of the Chandos Holst recordings which play up his mysticism, understatement and general lack of bombast, and I was rather impressed. Definitely in my top 3 Planets.

The most recommendable disc of that series was without a doubt Richard Hickox's with Egdon Heath, Hammersmith and A Somerset Rhapsody. But generally if you see Holst and Chandos on the same cover it's a safe investment.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on April 28, 2015, 10:37:03 PM
I got that out from a library last week! It's a pretty subdued Planets, not as glitzy as the Rattle and Karajan recordings I already know, but well in keeping with the rest of the Chandos Holst recordings which play up his mysticism, understatement and general lack of bombast, and I was rather impressed. Definitely in my top 3 Planets.

It's in my top 34.

The most recommendable disc of that series was without a doubt Richard Hickox's with Egdon Heath, Hammersmith and A Somerset Rhapsody. But generally if you see Holst and Chandos on the same cover it's a safe investment.

Yep.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: André on April 29, 2015, 01:52:04 PM
Peter, have you reviewed the David Lloyd-Jones recording (cum Pluto) on Naxos ?.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on April 29, 2015, 02:26:04 PM
Peter, have you reviewed the David Lloyd-Jones recording (cum Pluto) on Naxos ?.

Yes indeedy:

https://petersplanets.wordpress.com/2015/01/01/lloyd-jones-2001/ (https://petersplanets.wordpress.com/2015/01/01/lloyd-jones-2001/)

(https://petersplanets.files.wordpress.com/2015/02/holst-the-planets-lloyd-jones-rsno-2001.jpg) (https://petersplanets.wordpress.com/2015/01/01/lloyd-jones-2001/)
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on April 30, 2015, 11:46:05 PM
Another review for Peter's Planets:

(Disclaimer: It's not much of a review.)

Thomas Kalb, Philharmonisches Orchester Heidelberg, 1999 (https://petersplanets.wordpress.com/2015/01/01/kalb-1999/)

(https://petersplanets.files.wordpress.com/2015/05/holst-the-planets-kalb-philharmonisches-orchester-heidelberg-1999.jpg) (https://petersplanets.wordpress.com/2015/01/01/kalb-1999/)
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Maestro267 on January 14, 2016, 12:58:38 PM
I have a recording of Holst's The Planets, and in Neptune, the celesta plays an octave lower than usual. This recording (RSNO/Lloyd-Jones) has Colin Matthews' Pluto added to the end. Is the octave-lower celesta a "difference" of this version compared to the one without Pluto, in the way that Matthews keeps a violin note to segue into Pluto? Or is it just an oddity with this specific performance/recording?
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Maestro267 on January 16, 2016, 11:06:56 AM
74 views, and no answer?
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Que on January 16, 2016, 12:45:10 PM
Well, we had kind of a Planets expert but I haven't seen him for a while now.... ::)

Q
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: André on January 17, 2016, 10:35:57 AM
Tha Planets blog was for a t9ime almost as exciting as a Star Wars movie (well, the first ones, not the prequels  8)
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Sergeant Rock on January 17, 2016, 10:56:08 AM
74 views, and no answer?

I assume it's because no one has the answer...unfortunately.

Sarge
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on January 17, 2016, 11:10:01 AM
I have a recording of Holst's The Planets, and in Neptune, the celesta plays an octave lower than usual. This recording (RSNO/Lloyd-Jones) has Colin Matthews' Pluto added to the end. Is the octave-lower celesta a "difference" of this version compared to the one without Pluto, in the way that Matthews keeps a violin note to segue into Pluto? Or is it just an oddity with this specific performance/recording?
I don't know.

But I'll speculate ...

The celesta is a rarity, in that is a transposing keyboard instrument, i.e. it sounds an octave higher than notated.

So I do wonder if in that recording, the part was played by a pianist who thought it was notated at pitch.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on January 17, 2016, 01:14:27 PM
Well, we had kind of a Planets expert but I haven't seen him for a while now.... ::)

Q

In the absence of the expert, maybe I can help.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Sergeant Rock on January 17, 2016, 01:20:56 PM
http://
In the absence of the expert, maybe I can help.

He's back! He's back in the saddle again... (sung to the Aerosmith tune  8) )

Sarge
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: André on January 17, 2016, 01:43:55 PM
The Power is back. Let there be light !
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: kishnevi on January 17, 2016, 02:22:36 PM
I don't know.

But I'll speculate ...

The celesta is a rarity, in that is a transposing keyboard instrument, i.e. it sounds an octave higher than notated.

So I do wonder if in that recording, the part was played by a pianist who thought it was notated at pitch.

You would think someone noticed if that were so.

The Power is back. Let there be light !
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: North Star on January 17, 2016, 02:26:44 PM
You would think someone noticed if that were so.
Yeah, unless it was a concert recording and the celestial replacement hadn't been in any rehearsals before the event, or it just slipped from their mind in the concert. Still, that does seem like the most plausible solution.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: EigenUser on January 17, 2016, 02:34:15 PM
I don't know.

But I'll speculate ...

The celesta is a rarity, in that is a transposing keyboard instrument, i.e. it sounds an octave higher than notated.

So I do wonder if in that recording, the part was played by a pianist who thought it was notated at pitch.
Aren't performance parts always written transposed (i.e. so they don't have to do this in their head)? I play violin so that has never been a problem for me, but even though some scores are written in concert pitch I always thought that the parts were transposed accordingly.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on January 17, 2016, 02:44:37 PM
Aren't performance parts always written transposed (i.e. so they don't have to do this in their head)? I play violin so that has never been a problem for me, but even though some scores are written in concert pitch I always thought that the parts were transposed accordingly.

Yes . . . it would involve the pianist sort of "re-setting" his hands on the keys. Striking middle C, and hearing the octave above, and compensating.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on January 17, 2016, 02:55:28 PM
http://
He's back! He's back in the saddle again... (sung to the Aerosmith tune  8) )

Sarge

Is that me? Am I the expert? Oh no, no, no, no.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on January 17, 2016, 02:58:28 PM
The Power is back. Let there be light !

Oh dear. It's a good thing I don't suffer from a Messiah Complex. (I'm not complex enough.)
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on January 17, 2016, 03:36:34 PM
I have a recording of Holst's The Planets, and in Neptune, the celesta plays an octave lower than usual. This recording (RSNO/Lloyd-Jones) has Colin Matthews' Pluto added to the end. ...

(The recording: https://play.spotify.com/album/7DsgQFe4tzxtyzxI64pedD (https://play.spotify.com/album/7DsgQFe4tzxtyzxI64pedD))

I'm not so sure about the celesta being played an octave lower. I don't have a celesta handy to check (plus I'm not a keyboard player), but in its first appearance (0:55-1:02) I'm hearing lower notes, but they may just be the lower notes of the chords. I can't actually hear the written higher notes. Maybe the recording highlighted the lower notes and didn't do a good job of picking up the higher ones. (Or maybe my ears are faulty.)

Anyway, when the celesta reappears (1:41-2:16) it does sound a bit lower than what's written. (In the first two bars of its reappearance I could hardly hear it.) But I don't know if it's played at a lower octave, or if it's simply the tonal qualities of the instrument itself (a special basso profundo celesta?). It's all a bit perplexing.

My official answer is: Er, dunno.

... Is the octave-lower celesta a "difference" of this version compared to the one without Pluto, in the way that Matthews keeps a violin note to segue into Pluto? Or is it just an oddity with this specific performance/recording?

I'll go with "Yes".

Can I have easier questions please?
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Christo on January 17, 2016, 10:40:11 PM
Is that me? Am I the expert? Oh no, no, no, no.
(http://cdn.meme.am/instances/60888176.jpg)
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on August 13, 2016, 03:02:30 PM
After a delay of what feels like months (mainly because it has been months), my Planets CD guide (https://petersplanets.wordpress.com/) finally has a new addition in the form of a review of Hilary Davan Wetton's unhelpfully rare recording from 1989:

Hilary Davan Wetton, London Philharmonic Orchestra, 1989 (https://petersplanets.wordpress.com/2015/01/01/davan-wetton-1989/)

(http://i962.photobucket.com/albums/ae102/peterpowerpop/Holst%20-%20The%20Planets%20Davan%20Wetton%20London%20Philharmonic%20Orchestra%201989%202011%20reissue.jpg) (https://petersplanets.wordpress.com/2015/01/01/davan-wetton-1989/)
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: vandermolen on August 15, 2016, 01:13:22 AM
I agree with you about the Sargent recording - possibly my favourite version. He was underrated as a conductor. His Sibelius Symphony 5 is my favourite version of that work and his recording of Walton's First Symphony is excellent; I prefer it to the more highly regarded Previn RCA version.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Sergeant Rock on August 15, 2016, 04:08:24 AM
After a delay of what what feels like months (mainly because it has been months), my Planets CD guide (https://petersplanets.wordpress.com/) finally has a new addition in the form of a review of Hilary Davan Wetton's unhelpfully rare recording from 1989:

Congratulations on finding the elusive CD, and thank you for the review and YouTube vids. I especially like this Mars. Awesome indeed.

Sarge
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on August 15, 2016, 01:20:28 PM
Congratulations on finding the elusive CD, and thank you for the review and YouTube vids. ...

You're entirely welcome, young Sarge.

... I especially like this Mars. Awesome indeed.

Sarge

I think the disc (https://petersplanets.wordpress.com/2015/01/01/davan-wetton-1989/) is worth buying for "Mars" alone. Oo-wee, that's a great "Mars".
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on August 19, 2016, 04:17:54 PM
A new review on Peter's Planets (https://petersplanets.wordpress.com/). This time it's Sir Malcolm Sargent's live recording with the BBC Symphony Orchestra from 1965:

https://petersplanets.wordpress.com/2015/01/01/sargent-1965/ (https://petersplanets.wordpress.com/2015/01/01/sargent-1965/)

(https://petersplanets.files.wordpress.com/2015/01/holst-the-planets-sargent-bbc-symphony-orchestra-1965.jpg)
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: mc ukrneal on August 26, 2016, 04:06:49 PM
You're entirely welcome, young Sarge.

I think the disc (https://petersplanets.wordpress.com/2015/01/01/davan-wetton-1989/) is worth buying for "Mars" alone. Oo-wee, that's a great "Mars".
Too dull - drags. Not precise - poor unison. Then some poor intonation. Ugh. Terrible. Glad you found it, but boy you and I do not see eye to eye on The Planets...
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on August 26, 2016, 10:57:00 PM
You're entirely welcome, young Sarge.

I think the disc (https://petersplanets.wordpress.com/2015/01/01/davan-wetton-1989/) is worth buying for "Mars" alone. Oo-wee, that's a great "Mars".

Too dull - drags. Not precise - poor unison. Then some poor intonation. Ugh. Terrible. Glad you found it, but boy you and I do not see eye to eye on The Planets...

Variety in opinions. Excellent.

I'm just glad there's a huge range of interpretations out there to cater for everyone's tastes.

If you prefer a zippier "Mars", then I can thoroughly recommend either William Steinberg (https://petersplanets.wordpress.com/2015/01/01/steinberg-1970/) or Roy Goodman (https://petersplanets.wordpress.com/2015/01/01/goodman-1996/).
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: mc ukrneal on August 27, 2016, 11:03:48 AM
Variety in opinions. Excellent.

I'm just glad there's a huge range of interpretations out there to cater for everyone's tastes.

If you prefer a zippier "Mars", then I can thoroughly recommend either William Steinberg (https://petersplanets.wordpress.com/2015/01/01/steinberg-1970/) or Roy Goodman (https://petersplanets.wordpress.com/2015/01/01/goodman-1996/).
I think I was the one (or one of several) who recommended the Steinberg to you in the first place! :) It isn't the speed per se, it's the way it is played. Slow and ominous are fine and can be very effective, but this seems unfocused. My problem most of all is with the strings (and then second, how they play with the brass).
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: PerfectWagnerite on August 27, 2016, 12:03:34 PM
Variety in opinions. Excellent.

I'm just glad there's a huge range of interpretations out there to cater for everyone's tastes.

If you prefer a zippier "Mars", then I can thoroughly recommend either William Steinberg (https://petersplanets.wordpress.com/2015/01/01/steinberg-1970/) or Roy Goodman (https://petersplanets.wordpress.com/2015/01/01/goodman-1996/).
If you prefer a zippier interpretation you go and get this one:

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51y3fkh5kkL._SX355_.jpg)

Not the best performance in terms of execution but you can tell everyone is having fun.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: amw on September 10, 2016, 08:16:28 PM
I read Peter's entire blog because I appreciate people who enable my OCD. Thanks.

Based on his reviews, and some timings, I figured this would probably be one of my favourite recordings of the Planets.
(http://d250ptlkmugbjz.cloudfront.net/images/covers/08/88/0002894788808_600.jpg)

It certainly might be, not that I've heard a lot of them. It definitely at least makes the Planets seem like ~*~Good Music~*~ and nobody's trying to show off. Appreciate that.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on September 10, 2016, 09:54:17 PM
I read Peter's entire blog because I appreciate people who enable my OCD. Thanks.

Wow. I admire your fortitude / stamina / stick-with-it-a-tude, AMW. Thanks for taking the time to read my nonsense.

Based on his reviews, and some timings, I figured this would probably be one of my favourite recordings of the Planets.
(http://d250ptlkmugbjz.cloudfront.net/images/covers/08/88/0002894788808_600.jpg)

It certainly might be, not that I've heard a lot of them. It definitely at least makes the Planets seem like ~*~Good Music~*~ and nobody's trying to show off. Appreciate that.

I recommend the Ozawa Planets (https://petersplanets.wordpress.com/2015/01/01/ozawa-1979/) to anyone and everyone. I think it's astonishingly good. Once I had listened to it a few times, I was tempted to make it number one, and it got that close. In the end, though, the sentimental favourite (https://petersplanets.wordpress.com/2015/01/01/dutoit-1986/) (Hello, Montréal!) won out.

But depending on the day, the Ozawa Planets can easily sit alongside Dutoit and His Merry Montréallers.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: PerfectWagnerite on September 11, 2016, 07:32:35 AM


But depending on the day, the Ozawa Planets can easily sit alongside Dutoit and His Merry Montréallers.

The Ozawa is essentially the same orchestra as the John Williams I posted earlier. Let's get serious, the OSM is a nice ensemble but doesn't even come close to the BSO.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: amw on September 12, 2016, 02:24:27 AM
Wow. I admire your fortitude / stamina / stick-with-it-a-tude, AMW. Thanks for taking the time to read my nonsense.
Thanks for writing! I had no issue with it. I find complete lists of things very satisfying for some reason.

Only reason I haven't done the same kind of thing for like the Schubert String Quintet or Brahms 3 or whatever is because I just... run out of things to write a lot more quickly apparently.

Quote
I recommend the Ozawa Planets (https://petersplanets.wordpress.com/2015/01/01/ozawa-1979/) to anyone and everyone. I think it's astonishingly good.
I lost basically all my enthusiasm for the Planets when I was about 14 years old and was like "god these are so overblown and film sounding" (and maybe in Karajan's recording they totally were, I'm not sure. Have to find it somewhere). As far as performances go the Ozawa recording did kinda make me go "wait this is actually good" and hear lots of really interesting things in the music.

Basically see what you mean re it sounding like Ravel. To be completely fair, the Planets is at a baseline very similar to Ravel, except louder and somewhat simpler in construction (and less motivically integrated). The classic Ozawa-Boston clarity though makes the loudness sound much better orchestrated and clearer (therefore more Ravelian), reveals the structure to be somewhat less simple, and at least tries to pretend the motivic construction/derivation is more natural and less glaringly obvious.
<_<

I generally like the recordings Ozawa made in Boston a lot. High quality partnership. Sort of like what Pierre Boulez ought to have been in general. >_>
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Cato on September 12, 2016, 02:48:07 AM
Interesting: right now I am playing The Planets (one per class) for my Seventh Graders in Latin.  They are supposed to deduce which god/goddess from the music.  The students this year are rather enthusiastic about the work.

The CD I have is a concert recording with Colin Davis and the London Symphony Orchestra.  It is a good recording, and becomes better with the the last 3 movements.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: PerfectWagnerite on September 29, 2016, 07:42:21 AM
Am I the only one who think the opening brass fanfare in Uranus sounds just like the beginning of Puccini's Turandot?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iZn_FGQmlVQ (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iZn_FGQmlVQ)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FK_QkS6uZeE (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FK_QkS6uZeE)

So it seems like our Italian friend copied off our British one?
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: André on September 29, 2016, 11:58:57 AM
You never know, but IMHO chances are infinitesimal. The Planet's first outing in public was in 1920. Puccini died in 1924. He had started work on Turandot shortly after Fanciulla. He never travelled to England during that period. We don't know when the premiere of The Planets took place in Italy, let alone if Puccini attended it (he was overworked and sick with cancer at the time).
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on September 29, 2016, 03:12:31 PM
Am I the only one who think the opening brass fanfare in Uranus sounds just like the beginning of Puccini's Turandot?

They're similar, except that the Puccini is twice the speed of the Holst, and the notes go in different directions.

But almost...

https://www.youtube.com/v/iZn_FGQmlVQ

https://www.youtube.com/v/FK_QkS6uZeE
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on September 29, 2016, 10:04:20 PM
How do, folks.

A new review over at Peter's Planets (https://petersplanets.wordpress.com/):

David Robertson, Sydney Symphony Orchestra, 2014 (https://petersplanets.wordpress.com/2015/01/01/robertson-2014/)

(https://petersplanets.files.wordpress.com/2016/09/holst-the-planets-robertson-sydney-symphony-orchestra-2014.jpg) (https://petersplanets.wordpress.com/2015/01/01/robertson-2014/)
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on October 25, 2016, 03:34:41 PM
And another one:

Alberto Lizzio, The Festival Orchestra, 1997 (https://petersplanets.wordpress.com/2015/01/01/lizzio-1997/)

(https://petersplanets.files.wordpress.com/2015/01/holst-the-planets-lizzio-the-festival-orchestra-1997.jpg)
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: PerfectWagnerite on October 25, 2016, 05:19:30 PM
And another one:

Alberto Lizzio, The Festival Orchestra, 1997 (https://petersplanets.wordpress.com/2015/01/01/lizzio-1997/)

(https://petersplanets.files.wordpress.com/2015/01/holst-the-planets-lizzio-the-festival-orchestra-1997.jpg)
Never heard of that orchestra...is it the London Festival Orchestra?

How do, folks.

A new review over at Peter's Planets (https://petersplanets.wordpress.com/):

David Robertson, Sydney Symphony Orchestra, 2014 (https://petersplanets.wordpress.com/2015/01/01/robertson-2014/)

(https://petersplanets.files.wordpress.com/2016/09/holst-the-planets-robertson-sydney-symphony-orchestra-2014.jpg) (https://petersplanets.wordpress.com/2015/01/01/robertson-2014/)
David Robertson? Doesn't he pitch for the White Sox? Didn't know he is a professional conductor as well. The man must be talented.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on October 25, 2016, 07:08:40 PM
Never heard of that orchestra...is it the London Festival Orchestra?

No sir. It's all fictitious. (See review (https://petersplanets.wordpress.com/2015/01/01/lizzio-1997/).)

David Robertson? Doesn't he pitch for the White Sox (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Robertson_(baseball))? Didn't know he is a professional conductor as well. The man must be talented.

Hehe.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: relm1 on October 26, 2016, 03:23:12 PM
I thought this was a very fine performance:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=be7uEyyNIT4

Proms 2016 - Gustav Holst - The Planets [Edward Gardner, National Youth Orchestra]
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on October 26, 2016, 05:00:49 PM
I thought this was a very fine performance:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=be7uEyyNIT4

Proms 2016 - Gustav Holst - The Planets [Edward Gardner, National Youth Orchestra]

Fabulous.

http://www.youtube.com/v/be7uEyyNIT4
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on November 12, 2016, 04:46:33 PM
A new review on Peter's Planets:

Wolfgang Heinzel, Philharmonie Merck, 2005 (https://petersplanets.wordpress.com/2015/01/01/heinzel-2005/)

(https://petersplanets.files.wordpress.com/2015/01/holst-the-planets-heinzel-philharmonie-merck-2005.jpg)
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Christo on February 11, 2017, 11:38:24 PM
A new review on Peter's Planets:

Wolfgang Heinzel, Philharmonie Merck, 2005 (https://petersplanets.wordpress.com/2015/01/01/heinzel-2005/)
Great that you're continuing this great overview, which I loved (and caused my to buy yet another bunch of planets). Any successor series in sight?  :)
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on February 12, 2017, 02:35:44 AM
Great that you're continuing this great overview, which I loved (and caused my to buy yet another bunch of planets).

Excellent.

Any successor series in sight?  :)

The short answer is no.

The slightly longer answer is that I have been pondering a new survey of a piece of classical music. I've thought about a few different works, but the one that keeps finding its way to the top of the list is Carmina Burana. I know that there are classical music fans who don't like Carmina Burana at all, thinking it's terribly kitschy, but I love it and have no problem with the idea of listening to it a couple of hundred times for a blog/website.

So the other short answer is maybe.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: relm1 on February 12, 2017, 07:32:49 AM
How about this one?
(https://www.nyo.org.uk/images/1494/show_file?width=1174px)
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on February 12, 2017, 01:31:11 PM
How about this one?
(https://www.nyo.org.uk/images/1494/show_file?width=1174px)

You mean this (https://www.chandos.net/products/catalogue/CHAN%205179)?

(https://www.chandos.net/artwork/CH5179.jpg)

I haven't got/reviewed it yet because:

a) it's only just been released; and

b) it's full price. I have a rather large aversion to paying full price for anything* – and that includes a new-fangled Planets recording**.


(*Call me Skinflint Pete.)

(**Most of my Planets CD purchases have been of the $5-$10 variety.)
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Mirror Image on February 12, 2017, 02:09:41 PM
I own the new Gardner Planets but haven't spun it yet. In due time I suppose.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Mirror Image on February 12, 2017, 02:11:42 PM
Out of curiosity, Peter, have done a review of Rozhdestvensky's Planets yet (released on the ICA Classics label)?

(http://www.icaclassics.com/136-thickbox_default/gennadi-rozhdestvensky-1.jpg)

Edit: Never mind I see that you did. ;) Yeah, I figured it was an odd man out amongst the other Planets recordings.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Whistle on February 17, 2017, 02:44:30 AM
Hello, I am new here and just starting to get in classical music. Is there a sort of consensus here which Planets are the best ones or with which ones I should start please?
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: PerfectWagnerite on February 17, 2017, 09:28:17 AM
Hello, I am new here and just starting to get in classical music. Is there a sort of consensus here which Planets are the best ones or with which ones I should start please?
No such thing as BEST as there are some very fine recordings of this work but I enjoy this one (mentioned previously):

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51y3fkh5kkL._SX425_.jpg)

Just brilliantly played, recorded and you can sense that the players are having fun.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on February 17, 2017, 01:09:50 PM
Hello, I am new here and just starting to get in classical music. Is there a sort of consensus here which Planets are the best ones or with which ones I should start please?

(Warning: Self-Promotion Alert)

I have a website that rates all available CDs of The Planets:

https://petersplanets.wordpress.com/ (https://petersplanets.wordpress.com/)

The short answer is: Dutoit (https://petersplanets.wordpress.com/2015/01/01/dutoit-1986/). You can't go wrong with that one.

(https://petersplanets.files.wordpress.com/2015/03/holst-the-planets-dutoit-orchestre-symphonique-de-montrc3a9al-1986.jpg) (https://petersplanets.wordpress.com/2015/01/01/dutoit-1986/)
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on February 17, 2017, 01:25:05 PM
Hello, I am new here and just starting to get in classical music. Is there a sort of consensus here which Planets are the best ones or with which ones I should start please?

Despite my undying love for the Dutoit recording (https://petersplanets.wordpress.com/2015/01/01/dutoit-1986/), I reckon the ideal Planets for someone unfamiliar with the work is the one by Richard Hickox (https://petersplanets.wordpress.com/2015/01/01/hickox-1987/). There's no interpretative nonsense (plenty of other conductors feel the need to put their personal stamp on the work), it's recorded very well, and the CD is thoroughly affordable (http://www.ebay.com/itm/Holst-The-Planets-By-Richard-Hickox-Geoffrey-Shaw-London-Symphony-Orchestra-L-/181391923154).

(https://petersplanets.files.wordpress.com/2015/03/holst-the-planets-hickox-london-symphony-orchestra-1987.jpg) (https://petersplanets.wordpress.com/2015/01/01/hickox-1987/)
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: relm1 on February 17, 2017, 04:35:46 PM
Despite my undying love for the Dutoit recording (https://petersplanets.wordpress.com/2015/01/01/dutoit-1986/), I reckon the ideal Planets for someone unfamiliar with the work is the one by Richard Hickox (https://petersplanets.wordpress.com/2015/01/01/hickox-1987/). There's no interpretative nonsense (plenty of other conductors feel the need to put their personal stamp on the work), it's recorded very well, and the CD is thoroughly affordable (http://www.ebay.com/itm/Holst-The-Planets-By-Richard-Hickox-Geoffrey-Shaw-London-Symphony-Orchestra-L-/181391923154).

(https://petersplanets.files.wordpress.com/2015/03/holst-the-planets-hickox-london-symphony-orchestra-1987.jpg) (https://petersplanets.wordpress.com/2015/01/01/hickox-1987/)

Hey man, you can't contradict your own opinion!  That's against the rules. 
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on February 17, 2017, 05:28:05 PM
Hey man, you can't contradict your own opinion!  That's against the rules.

Call me Contradictory Pete.

(It reminds me of the saying, "A hypocrite is someone who... but who doesn't?")
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Whistle on February 17, 2017, 06:02:34 PM
Thanks to all, will try these 3 ones.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: flyingdutchman on September 16, 2017, 02:43:58 AM
Peter, I really feel you need to reconsider not doing a Rimsky overview.  Lots of versions and they're not all the same.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on September 16, 2017, 02:03:48 PM
Peter, I really feel you need to reconsider not doing a Rimsky overview.  Lots of versions and they're not all the same.

They may not all be the same, but to me they might as well be. A few months ago I spent about a week listening to all sorts of Scheherazades, but frustratingly they were all very good. No matter which version I listened to, I came away from it thinking "That was great!" Unfortunately, that happened with all of them. I listened to about 10 or 12 versions, and the more I listened the more I thought to myself, "I can't tell which one's better than the other. Aaargh!"

For someone (i.e., me) who is supposed to be able to tell them apart, this does not augur well for a survey. It'd end up with me simply saying "Just buy any version – they're all magnificent".

However, I am tempted to go all "complete survey" on Orff's Carmina Burana. I can tell the difference between versions of that work. Or maybe Tchaikovsky's The Nutcracker. Or Ravel's Mother Goose. It's just getting up the nerve to set aside a few months to listen to one piece of music over and over again.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: North Star on September 16, 2017, 02:16:50 PM
They may not all be the same, but to me they might as well be. A few months ago I spent about a week listening to all sorts of Sheherazades, but frustratingly they were all very good. No matter which version I listened to, I came away from it thinking "That was great!" Unfortunately, that happened with all of them.
The horror!!!!
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on September 16, 2017, 02:55:42 PM
The horror!!!!

Yep.

As someone who can now pretend to be a connoisseur* of Scheherazade, I can tell you: Buy any Scheherazade – you're gonna love it.

But there is one version I can tell you to stay away from: the Borusan Istanbul Philharmonic Orchestra / Sascha Goetzel (https://www.amazon.com/Rimsky-Korsakov-Scheherazade-Ippolitov-Ivanov-Caucasian-Sketches/dp/B00K8H5U1O), from 2014. It has weird bits in between each movement that are meant to be all exotic, but they take you right out of the piece. The performance of Scheherazade itself is fine and dandy, but those interpolations were unnecessary.


(*Does listening to 10 or 12 versions of something make me an instant expert?)
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on September 16, 2017, 02:55:58 PM
The horror!!!!
Hah! Yes: great problem to have.

Sent from my SM-G930V using Tapatalk

Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on September 16, 2017, 03:06:31 PM
Yep.

As someone who can now pretend to be a connoisseur* of Scheherazade, I can tell you: Buy any Scheherazade – you're gonna love it.

But there is one version I can tell you to stay away from: the Borusan Istanbul Philharmonic Orchestra / Sascha Goetzel (https://www.amazon.com/Rimsky-Korsakov-Scheherazade-Ippolitov-Ivanov-Caucasian-Sketches/dp/B00K8H5U1O), from 2014. It has weird bits in between each movement that are meant to be all exotic, but they take you right out of the piece. The performance of Scheherazade itself is fine and dandy, but those interpolations were unnecessary.


(*Does listening to 10 or 12 versions of something make me an instant expert?)

I just counted how many Scheherazades I actually listened to, and it wasn't 10 or 12, it was 30.

Really, buy any one.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: flyingdutchman on September 16, 2017, 06:14:02 PM
Well, I wouldn't buy any one.  There are some clear winners and they are the following in no specific order:

Reiner
Beecham
Kondrashin
Stokowski (LSO version on Cala)

Those each have differences that make each special.  The Reiner finale is amazingly incisive and the triple tonguing is amazing in the finale.  Stokowski really pulls and pushes his way around, but the things he does with the strings and the 2nd movement is so achingly beautiful.  Kondrashin is just brutal and manic and the Beecham is so beautiful in its approach that it's hard to eliminate it from the other 3.  It might be the one that I would leave off compared to the others.  BUT, any others pale in comparison to those 4.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on October 14, 2017, 04:49:26 PM
Can't be any worse than this one:

(https://s1.postimg.org/4vyco8lhqn/20171014_154022.jpg) (https://postimages.org/)

(https://s1.postimg.org/7qr0u1beb3/20171014_153834.jpg) (https://postimages.org/)

Now that I gotta hear.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on October 15, 2017, 02:50:23 AM
Now that I gotta hear.

I saw that coming  8)
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on October 15, 2017, 02:21:15 PM
And I found it online. Woohoo!

I saw that coming  8)

Now that I gotta hear.

(https://s1.postimg.org/4vyco8lhqn/20171014_154022.jpg) (https://postimages.org/)

(https://s1.postimg.org/7qr0u1beb3/20171014_153834.jpg) (https://postimages.org/)
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: vandermolen on October 18, 2017, 01:27:33 PM
Not enough love for Adrian Boult's 'Planets' here - after all, according to Holst himself, Boult was the first to make 'The Planets shine'.
 8)
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on October 18, 2017, 01:38:38 PM
Not enough love for Adrian Boult's 'Planets' here - after all, according to Holst himself, Boult was the first to make 'The Planets shine'.
 8)

Not to set any cats among pigeons here, but for me "first" doesn't mean "best".

Although young Adrian eventually recorded Those Planets five (!) times, he wasn't actually the first.

The very first recording of the full work goes to Gustav Holst himself. He recorded it in 1922-24 (https://petersplanets.wordpress.com/2015/01/01/holst-1922-1923-1924/). The Boultster's first Planets recording was in 1945 (https://petersplanets.wordpress.com/2015/01/01/boult-1945/).
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on October 18, 2017, 08:54:57 PM
Here's Scheherajazz (https://www.discogs.com/Skip-Martin-Scheherajazz/master/823555) in all its glory:

https://www.youtube.com/v/SxejP4vRvIw
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: André on October 19, 2017, 05:06:37 AM
Peter, who (conductor/orchestra) would you like to hear in The Planets today ? I mean, not everybody has recorded them yet ! There are some good talents out there in the younger generation. Any of them you fancy would be good holstians?
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on October 19, 2017, 02:20:08 PM
Peter, who (conductor/orchestra) would you like to hear in The Planets today ? I mean, not everybody has recorded them yet ! There are some good talents out there in the younger generation. Any of them you fancy would be good holstians?

Er...

I don't really follow orchestras and conductors, so I'm way out of the loop with the newer musicians.

All I can do is think of conductors I've liked over the years who haven't recorded The Planets, such as Riccardo Chailly (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Riccardo_Chailly), Riccardo Muti (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Riccardo_Muti), Christoph von Dohnányi (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christoph_von_Dohn%C3%A1nyi), Semyon Bychkov (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Semyon_Bychkov_(conductor)), Mark Ermler (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mark_Ermler), and a few other conductors I can't think of at the moment. I would have loved to hear what those dudes could do with that music.

Pretty much all the major orchestras have recorded Them Planets, so no particular orchestra is coming to mind.

There is, however, one conductor I can think of who would make a complete mess of The Planets, and that's Valery Gergiev (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Valery_Gergiev). I can picture him missing the point of every aspect of the music.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: André on October 19, 2017, 06:37:24 PM
I fully agree with your assessment of a potential Gergiev recording. As enticing as ketchup and peanut butter on the same toast.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Mirror Image on October 19, 2017, 06:47:41 PM
Gergiev is a good conductor, but not someone I’d imagine doing well in The Planets.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on October 19, 2017, 06:57:22 PM
Gergiev is a good conductor, ...

I really like his recording of The Nutcracker (https://www.amazon.com/Tchaikovsky-Nutcracker-Complete-Peter-Ilyich/dp/B00000A1GL).

... but not someone I’d imagine doing well in The Planets.

Nope.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on October 19, 2017, 06:59:16 PM
I fully agree with your assessment of a potential Gergiev recording. As enticing as ketchup and peanut butter on the same toast.

Or eating an apple straight after brushing your teeth.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: kishnevi on October 19, 2017, 07:07:58 PM
Gergiev is hit or miss or miss or miss...

He's best in Russian music. Did any obscure Russian or Soviet composer ever write a планеты?
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on October 19, 2017, 07:58:41 PM
Gergiev is hit or miss or miss or miss...

He's best in Russian music. Did any obscure Russian or Soviet composer ever write a планеты?

Not as far as I know.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: relm1 on October 20, 2017, 06:55:54 AM
Gergiev is hit or miss or miss or miss...

He's best in Russian music. Did any obscure Russian or Soviet composer ever write a планеты?

Sort of.  If you consider Planets to be astrological/mystical as Holst intended rather than astronomical, then maybe you would consider Scriabin's Mysterium as a contemporary peer.  If you think more astronomical, Yuri Smirnov wrote a work called "A Space Odyssey".
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on October 20, 2017, 01:51:56 PM
Sort of.  If you consider Planets to be astrological/mystical as Holst intended rather than astronomical, then maybe you would consider Scriabin's Mysterium as a contemporary peer.  If you think more astronomical, Yuri Smirnov wrote a work called "A Space Odyssey".

As soon as I saw the words "A Space Odyssey" I thought of this:

https://www.youtube.com/v/T0rDBncLS6k
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: mc ukrneal on December 18, 2017, 01:54:28 PM
#78 on your list is conducted by Mardjani. You then discovered it sounds identical to Kakhidze. In the wiki list of Tchaikovsky 5 recordings, it lists Mardjani as likely being a pseudonym. When I looked up the Kakhidze recording, I cannot find any evidence of that, but the recording timings are almost identical to Mardjani. The first three movements are each within a 5 second difference, while the 4th movement is 11 seconds different. Thus, I suspect that this was indeed a pseudonym. I still don't have hard evidence, but they do both use the Georgian Festival Orchestra. I just thought I would mention it as I like it when I can settle mysteries such as this. And this one seems likely solved.
Title: Re: Holst's The Planets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on December 18, 2017, 02:03:48 PM
#78 on your list is conducted by Mardjani. You then discovered it sounds identical to Kakhidze. In the wiki list of Tchaikovsky 5 recordings, it lists Mardjani as likely being a pseudonym. When I looked up the Kakhidze recording, I cannot find any evidence of that, but the recording timings are almost identical to Mardjani. The first three movements are each within a 5 second difference, while the 4th movement is 11 seconds different. Thus, I suspect that this was indeed a pseudonym. I still don't have hard evidence, but they do both use the Georgian Festival Orchestra. I just thought I would mention it as I like it when I can settle mysteries such as this. And this one seems likely solved.

Thanks for the detective work, Unreal Neal.

[Putting on my most flamboyant voice] Your assiduousness is astounding!