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Holst: The Planets

4.6 out of 5 stars 72 customer reviews

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MP3 Music, September 1, 1986
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Audio CD, July 9, 2006
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Editorial Reviews

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. l. Mars, The Bringer Of War
  2. ll. Venus, The Bringer Of Peace
  3. lll. Mercury, The Winged Messenger
  4. lV. Jupiter, The Bringer Of Jollity
  5. V. Saturn, The Bringer Of Old Age
  6. Vl. Uranus, The Magician
  7. Vll. Neptune, The Mystic


Product Details

  • Orchestra: Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
  • Conductor: André Previn
  • Composer: Gustav Holst
  • Audio CD (July 9, 2006)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Telarc
  • ASIN: B000003CU0
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (72 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #24,134 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
The most popular selections from this suite are Mars, Jupiter, and to a lesser degree, Uranus. For those as yet unfamiliar with Holst, all of the selections will become very listenable and memorable. Here, Mars is ominous and menacing, and Jupiter is bold and bouncy, just as they should be.
Previn finds the right balance with the orchestra, so the strings and brass do not overshadow each other. In the lesser-known movements, Previn exhibits an understanding for English composers, evident here as well as with his Vaughn Williams performances. And, what better orchestra than the LSO! However, what impresses most about this performance is the tempi of both Mars and Jupiter. The pace of Bernstein and Karajan is too fast: Ormandy is much too slow. Previn (and Dutoit and Solti) finds the pace that enables expression without being ponderous.
Sonically, this may be the best recording of The Planets available. Telarc engineered this in its typical, flawless way. There is great interplay between instruments here, and Telarc captures them with great clarity. The buoyant movements with The Planets really benefit from the wide dynamics.
All in all, this CD has everything in its favor. The Planets are indeed aligned. Five bright stars.
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Format: Audio CD
Gustav HOLST's famous orchestral suite 'The Planets' is, without an ounce of a doubt, one of the top achievements in the music art form of the twentieth century. Previn's recording with the Royal Philharmonic has shades of greatness. The central and final sequences in particular are monumental.

Concerning the first part, 'Mars', i've hardly heard better than Boult--or Dutoit notably. Still, it doesn't mean things are "out of tune" with the Previn/RPO ; to the contrary, Previn's contains its share of excitement and is, obviously, of significant value. And if 'Uranus' and 'Neptune' do not seem to capture the sense of a cold, inhuman, remote mystery as much as in Mackerras/RLPO, for instance, then Previn rather insists on other aspects of the journey. Not to mention the clarity and tremendous power of orchestral playing that make this cd a reasonable "best choice". As is usual with most Telarcs, recorded sound is excellent. I intentionally exclude the old "glories of the past" recordings, such as the inimitable composer's own or Boult's boisterous and robust BBC performance of 1945, because it would rather be unfair to put those side-by-side with today's great sounding stereo versions.

'The Planets' were first performed in 1918. At that time, the suite didn't include Pluto. This was before the planet went discovered in 1930 but, ironically, the suite was accurate in portraying eight planets instead of nine : There have been much debate and controversy on the status of Pluto in the last few decades which ultimately led the IAU's definition to be modified and now classifies it as a "dwarf planet".
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Format: Audio CD
There are so many recordings of this work. I often wonder how Gustav Holst would have felt if he were to have come to realize just how many people would treasure his beloved suite, `The Planets.' And so, as we begin the Twenty-first Century, we retain the legacy of this work through its myriad interpretations. And many would agree that no one recorded interpretation perfectly satisfies our respective views of how the suite should be performed. In essence, there exists in the grand multiplicity of recordings of this work no single, definitive edition. It is therefore necessary for the devoted fan of Holst's most masterful suite to collect as many versions as feasible in order to hear different aspects of the work performed to his or her native expectations.

And so we come to Andre Previn's interpretation of the suite. Overall, I believe Previn's is a competent performance. The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra consistently produces satisfactory material (dare I mention Louis Clark's work with this orchestra on the Hooked On Classics series, a collection of albums for which many enthusiasts keep their deep affection a closely guarded secret), and Previn leads them very well in this recording. The best way to describe his performance here is that it offends no one--his tempi are within the range most people deem "acceptable," he does not emphasize any particular section within the orchestra, and he does not take any glaring liberties with the score. For that reason, I would say that Previn is a very good place for those who are searching for their first recording of `The Planets.'

However, we all have our preferences; some will find other versions far more enjoyable than Previn/RPO, and others will cite this one as the definitive recording.
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Format: Audio CD
This album is part of the core of my collection. Holst's compositions here are complex and difficult to perform, and the Royal Philharmonic, combined with Previn's extreme skill, executes a very strong and tight performance. "Jupiter" especially requires precise tempo and orchestra coordination, and it's flawless. The fidelity of the recording is top-notch and I've always been willing to buy albums on the Telarc label just because of the quality they always have. If you liked the score from "The Right Stuff" this is the album you have to have -- Conti stole most of it from Holst!
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