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Holst: The Planets; St. Pauls Suite; Brook Green Suite

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Audio CD, October 9, 2007
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Editorial Reviews

Gustav Holst (1874-1934)

The Planets Suite, Op. 32
St. Paul's Suite, Op. 29, No.2
Brook Green Suite

Ambrosia Chorus
John Mccarthy, director Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Vernon Handley/Barry Wordsworth, directors

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Product Details

  • Performer: Ambrosia Chorus
  • Orchestra: Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
  • Conductor: Vernon Handley, Barry Wordsworth
  • Composer: Gustav Holst
  • Audio CD (October 9, 2007)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Alto
  • ASIN: B000TLWGJS
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #160,715 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Format: Audio CD
Vernon Handley recorded this performance of The Planets in 1993, with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. Since then, it has been released by various obscure labels. Originally, it was released by Tring International. Currently, it is available on different labels. This incarnation comes from Alto records, which has released several other "forgotten" performances. It brings together The Planets with more rarely recorded works by Holst: St. Paul's Suite and Brook Green Suite. This generous coupling makes the current disc the first choice among all these obscure incarnations of Handley's fine performance of The Planets.

Now, what about the interpretation? Frankly, I would like to rank it among the finest on record. That is, as references, I list Boult with New Philharmonia (British Composers: Holst), Previn with LSO (Holst: The Planets), and Steinberg with Boston Symphony Orchestra (Holst: The Planets / R. Strauss: Also Sprach Zarathustra). From the very start, we have an arrensting, masterly balanced performance that never turns this outstanding work into a mere showpiece for orchestra. The orchestra is excellent, and so is the choir in the mysterious closing bars of "Neptune" (Ambrosian singers).

The recording itself is also very good and natural - surely in demonstration class. The 1993 sound has been remastered for this edition. Throw in a lively St. Paul's Suite and a fine performance of Brook Green Suite (Barry Wordsworth is the conductor in the latter), and we have a disc that is not only another recording of The Planets but a very fine collection of Gustav Holst's music.

Warmly recommended.
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Format: Audio CD
I have this too, on another label (as the lead reviewer noted, it's been released on others). I can only agree with all he says about it, but would like to add one more comment. Many listeners seem to find the slower readings of the Saturn movement the most mystical, with some, like Dutoit, clocking in at around the 10 minute mark. But I find that a too-slow tempo results in a sagging melody line, stretched out so far that it loses coherence. Handley, along with Steinberg on DGG, do not make this mistake; their Saturn movements gain extra coherence--and therefore power and depth--from a better judgment regarding its tempo. I found this to be one of the better Planets, though I haven't heard the Levine or Gardiner versions.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Excellent treatment of a classic (The Planets) and two other Holst recordings which need greater exposure.
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Format: MP3 Music Verified Purchase
Classic performance!
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Format: Audio CD
fast delivery. great show. perfect satisfaction.
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