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Holst: The Planets / Elgar: Enigma Variations

Edward Elgar , Gustav Holst , Herbert von Karajan , Pierre Monteux , Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra , London Symphony Orchestra Audio CD
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)

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MP3 Music, 22 Songs, 1997 $11.49  
Audio CD, 1997 --  

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Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.

Song TitleArtist Time Price
listen  1. Holst: The Planets, op.32 - 1. Mars, The Bringer Of WarHerbert von Karajan 7:02$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  2. Holst: The Planets, op.32 - 2. Venus, The Bringer Of PeaceHerbert von Karajan 8:22Album Only
listen  3. Holst: The Planets, op.32 - 3. Mercury, The Winged MessengerHerbert von Karajan 3:58$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  4. Holst: The Planets, Op.32 - 4. Jupiter, The Bringer Of JollityHerbert von Karajan 7:38Album Only
listen  5. Holst: The Planets, op.32 - 5. Saturn, The Bringer Of Old AgeHerbert von Karajan 8:33Album Only
listen  6. Holst: The Planets, op.32 - 6. Uranus, The MagicianHerbert von Karajan 5:47$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  7. Holst: The Planets, op.32 - 7. Neptune, The MysticWiener Staatsopernchor 7:38Album Only
listen  8. Elgar: Variations on an Original Theme, Op.36 "Enigma" - Theme (Andante)Pierre Monteux 1:26$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  9. Elgar: Variations on an Original Theme, Op.36 "Enigma" - 1. C.A.E. (L'istesso tempo)Pierre Monteux 1:57$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen10. Elgar: Variations on an Original Theme, Op.36 "Enigma" - 2. H.D.S.-P. (Allegro)Pierre Monteux0:47$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen11. Elgar: Variations on an Original Theme, Op.36 "Enigma" - 3. R.B.T. (Allegretto)Pierre Monteux 1:21$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen12. Elgar: Variations on an Original Theme, Op.36 "Enigma" - 4. W.M.B. (Allegro di molto)Pierre Monteux0:27$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen13. Elgar: Variations on an Original Theme, Op.36 "Enigma" - 5. R.P.A. (Moderato)Pierre Monteux 1:55$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen14. Elgar: Variations on an Original Theme, Op.36 "Enigma" - 6. Ysobel (Andantino)Pierre Monteux 1:19$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen15. Elgar: Variations on an Original Theme, Op.36 "Enigma" - 7. Troyte (Presto)Pierre Monteux0:56$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen16. Elgar: Variations on an Original Theme, Op.36 "Enigma" - 8. W.N. (Allegretto)Pierre Monteux 1:55$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen17. Elgar: Variations on an Original Theme, Op.36 "Enigma" - 9. Nimrod (Adagio)Pierre Monteux 3:50$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen18. Elgar: Variations on an Original Theme, Op.36 "Enigma" - 10. Intermezzo: Dorabella (Allegretto)Pierre Monteux 2:39$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen19. Elgar: Variations on an Original Theme, Op.36 "Enigma" - 11. G.R.S. (Allegro di molto)Pierre Monteux0:56$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen20. Elgar: Variations on an Original Theme, Op.36 "Enigma" - 12. B.G.N. (Andante)Pierre Monteux 2:25$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen21. Elgar: Variations on an Original Theme, Op.36 "Enigma" - 13. Romanza *** (Moderato)Pierre Monteux 2:39$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen22. Elgar: Variations on an Original Theme, Op.36 "Enigma" - 14. Finale: E.D.U. (Allegro - Presto)Pierre Monteux 4:58$0.99  Buy MP3 

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Product Details

  • Orchestra: Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra
  • Conductor: Herbert von Karajan, Pierre Monteux
  • Composer: Edward Elgar, Gustav Holst
  • Audio CD (July 15, 1997)
  • SPARS Code: ADD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Decca
  • ASIN: B0000042EN
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #243,999 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Editorial Reviews

No Description Available.
Genre: Classical Music
Media Format: Compact Disk
Release Date: 17-JUN-1997

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A first-rate Planets July 16, 2001
Format:Audio CD
Although this is a non-digital recording from the late 60's, it far out-classes Karajan's newer digital recording for DGG, both musically and sonically. A comparison of the two reveals the newer recording to sound harsh and the brass occasionally sound out of tune. This older recording has all the power one could ask for, along with a warmth sadly lacking in the newer. Plus, it has a fine recording of the Elgar Enigma Variations to boot. A highly recommended addition to any CD library.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Just Perfect October 26, 2005
Format:Audio CD
I get a lot of folks asking which of the several thousand recordings of The Planets I prefer. If they have tin ears and expensive stereos I steer them strait to any expensive recording with slick graphics made within the last 15 years. If they love the piece deeply and want a recording that portrays its extraordinary range of moods flawlessly, this is the one I suggest (second choice would be Steinberg's on DGG). Strangely, the same situation happens with the Enigma, although there are are a few more second choices.

The sound is not digital top-drawer but the "sound" of this orchestra at that time and with this conductor is unapproachable. Believe me, you won't notice the years any more than many women "noticed" that 58-year-old Cary Grant was teamed up with gals half his age in his films.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Format:Audio CD
Monteux's renowned 1958 stereo recording of Enigma Variations still sounds fresh today. His reading is deceptively simple at first, but this is a kind of performance that leaves vivid impression and warm poetry deep into your heart after repeated listening. Karajan's earlier stereo recording of Planets is equally outstanding. Both recordings have very open and expansive sonority of early stereo era, beautifully remastered without losing warmth of the original.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Blimey, they've crossed the Channel October 11, 2007
Format:Audio CD
In 1961 it was unheard of for a non-English conductor to trespass on the sacrd ground of The Planets, but Karajan had been conducting a London orchestra, the Philharmonia, since the late Forties. He even recorded Walton's first Sym. So it's not entirely unreasonable to expect him to venture a performance of this beloved warhorse. Aided by Decca's engineers, who did spectacular work in Vienna throughout the late Fifties and Sixties, Karajan produced a sonic blockbuster, and his interpretation aimed at maximum visceral impact. He also Europeanized the score, so to speak, by eschewing the comfy hominess with which British conductors approached The Planets. The Vienna Phil. plays with luster and power throughout. The sound has dated a little -- the power remains, but the strings are somewhat shrill and the loudest climaxes congested -- but this classic reading has never gone out of the catalog for good reason.

For me, however, the gem on this CD is Monteux's Enigma Variations. What a miracle that a very old French conductor could beat the English at their own game. This is a fresh, alert, constantly imaginative reading, one of Monteux's best accomplishments in his latter years. He was appointed principal conductr of the LSO, so conductor and musicians had a deep rapport. Their affection for him shows in every note.

In all, the fact that Decca has combined two classics on a single mi-price dish comes as a boon to lovers of both works.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Really quite marvelous January 22, 2011
Format:Audio CD
Monteux's Enigma Variations is a true classic and among the absolutely most compelling in the catalogue. It starts off pretty briskly - in the theme and first variations this performance almost follows the metronome marks (which the composer himself, for instance, certainly did not) and while it sounds fast, it never sounds rushed. From the fifth variation onwards, however, the tempi are (generally) more in line with what listeners are used to. Overall, however, this is a marvelously characterized performance with lots of charm, wit, flair, energy, beauty and attention to detail, and the London Symphony Orchestra responds magnificently (the ppp at the beginning of "Nimrod" has never been more gorgeously achieved). While the recording is beginning to show its age, the sound is warm and full - in short, this is something of a must have and an excellent companion to such classics as Boult's slightly older recording.

Karajan's recording of the Planets is sure to divide opinion. Personally I found it fascinating, however, even though it hardly displaces some of the classics (Boult in particular). Particularly notable is the sense of atmosphere in this account - and of course the magnificent playing by the Vienna Philharmonic; while they don't always convince one as having completely immersed themselves in the idiom, they provide playing of such power and beauty that it hardly matters. Particularly good are the eiderdown light Mercury and the immensely powerful Saturn, whereas Jupiter perhaps lacks the last ounce of swagger. The sound quality is again pretty excellent.

In short, while there are certainly strong competitors out there for both works on this disc, both are fascinatingly and freshly done here, and while Monteux's Enigma may be the unqualified must-have, the Karajan Planets surely ought to be heard as well. An endlessly fascinating disc.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars grab it if you get the chance June 16, 2013
Format:Audio CD
This is one of Decca's great recordings -- and the Elgar was recorded in 1958 and the Holst in 1961. There is a difference in the sound -- the Elgar is a little less refined, and in the noisier variations ("Troyte" for example) the sound can get a bit muddy in the fortes, but Monteux's presentation of all of them is so direct -- no "English" restraint or refinement here! -- that the listener is immediately engaged. You won't hear "Nimrod" built to a climax more effectively, and some of the quieter variations, like "Ysobel," are magically done. The sound is very "present," with plenty of "air" around it (i. e. a sense of natural space), so that, for instance, the very opening of "Nimrod" is beautifully atmospheric.

Karajan's VPO "Planets" (1961) was one of the first records I owned on vinyl -- I liked it then, and I still do. What I underestimated back in 1967 was the sound quality: this is John Culshaw in his full-on Wagner-recording mode. It is just stunning. And Karajan lays into the piece with gusto -- I wonder if perhaps the Vienna players hadn't played it all that often and were just blown away by it. The loud stuff here ("Mars," for example) is easily accommodated by the engineers, and Karajan relishes the beauty of the quieter pieces (the horns and strings in "Venus" are gorgeous) and throughout Holst's marvelous scoring and melodic resource are on display. The "big tune" in "Jupiter" is played to the hilt, and though there's no wordless women's chorus for "Neptune," it hardly matters when the playing is as fine as this. Many critics have noted that these are English pieces being taken seriously by "foreign" conductors, and that that perhaps accounts for the enthusiasm and freshness of these performances. Wonderful stuff!
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