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View Full Version : Advice requested: Best recording of "The Planets" by Gustav Holst?



Erdy1
01-05-2004, 11:17 AM
This is one of my favorite symphonies, but I don't particularly care for the recording I have. It doesn't reach out and grab me. It's a budget recording, so that should be no surprise! So I'm wondering which of the many recordings out there classically-inclined YesFans recommend.

After looking around the Internet, especially amazon.com, I have narrowed it down to 2 recordings: One with Dutoit and the Montreal Symphony Orchestra on the Penguin Classics label, and the other with Levine and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra on Deutsche Gramaphone. I might just get both of them!

I am not considering historic recordings here - it has to be a relatively recent recording. Any feedback on the 2 recordings I've mentioned here would be appreciated, but if you have one you feel is better, let me know.

ANTIOCH
01-05-2004, 11:32 AM
Better ?
If you're into electronic interpretation, Isao Tomita does a unique version. He also has a version of 'The Firebird'.

Erdy1
01-05-2004, 12:05 PM
No, no, it has to be an orchestra!! :D

leqin
01-05-2004, 02:08 PM
No Contest - only one mans ever done 'The Planets' justice and funnily enough he was also the very first to conduct it and also the first to record it - Sir Adrian Boult.

IMHO the best recording he ever made was the first, but thats only ever been made available on CD once, assuming you don't want to search for 78s plus it is only a mono recording so you may not like it, but I love it and if you can find a copy then these are the details you need.

'The Planets Suite' by Gustav Holst'
'Peter Grimes' and 'Four Sea Interludes' and 'Passacaglia' by Benjamin Britten
Sir Adrian Boult and The London Philarmonic Orchestra
CEDAR/Nixa catalogue number NIXCD6013

The best stereo recording - the very best by far - is the one he made in 1979 with EMI in their golden age - many have come along and tried knocking this superlative effort off its pedastal and they have all failed miserably... okay so it was digitally remastered back in 1987 and shock horror and wash my mouth out with soap... it benefitted from it if i say so myself, mind you EMI would have been torn apart at the seams had they made a mess of it and if you want perfection in recording and perfection in playing then you only need to know this when your at the counter...

'The Planets Suite' by Gustav Holst
Sir Adrian Boult and The London Philarmonic Orchestra
and
'Enigma Variations' by Edward Elgar
Sir Adrian Boult and The London Symphony Orchestra
EMI Classics catalogue number CDM5677482

of course not a lot of people know this you know but originally 'The Planets' was meant to be for 2 pianos and not just a orchestra, so if you want to hear it the way that Holst intended but never managed to realise when he composed it then you need look no further than

'The Planets' by Gustav Holst
The Composers own 2 piano version
Richard Rodney Bennett and Susan Bradshaw
DELOS International/FACET catalugue number FACET 8002

I haven't seen a copy in nigh on a decade, but if you can get it then do so because it is worth it believe me just to hear what Holst inteneded and yet never heard himself.

Oh and if you want to be a Boult completest then you need to get your hands on a copy of his 1945 recording with The BBC Symphony Orchestra complete with Elgars 'Introduction and Allegro for Strings'... phew... okay well the techie details are

'The Planets' by Gustav Holst
'Introduction and Allegro for Strings' by Edward Elgar
Sir Adrian Boult and The BBC Symphony Orchestra
EMI CDH 7 63097 2

Erdy1
01-05-2004, 04:11 PM
I've read a bit about the Boult recourdings, but I want something newer, digitally recorded, with very clear sound. It seems all the reviews compare their respective recordings to Boult's, often quite favorably.

I've had to add two more possibilities, so it's getting harder to choose, not easier. Both Grainger's and Mehta's renditions are very positively reviewed as well. Of all of them, I'm currently leaning toward Dutoit's. I will probably eventually get several though.

I'm now getting nervous about opening my next can of worms -- I have 3 versions of Beethoven's 9th, and I don't care for any of them. I'm almost afraid to start looking though!

Joedude
01-05-2004, 11:03 PM
I have narrowed it down to 2 recordings: One with Dutoit and the Montreal Symphony Orchestra on the Penguin Classics label, and the other with Levine and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra on Deutsche Gramaphone.

I haven't heard Levine's CSO recording, but I have Dutoit's Montreal and find it to be a very good recording. Definitely the best recording of several I've heard, and one of the oldest CD's that I have (I bought it when it originally came out in 1987 on the London/Decca label).

As for Beethoven's 9th, I'd love to hear whose you have. I am very partial to the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Sir Georg Solti.

Jeremy Bender
01-09-2004, 10:37 PM
Favorite Planets? Probably the Stowkowski with Philadelphia recording.

Beethoven's 9th? My favorite is the live Bernstein with Vienna from the late 70's; great energy and a wonderful quartet of singers. The Karajan/Berlin from the early 60's is great as well.

Paul D
02-01-2004, 08:36 PM
I have a double CD that features The Planets as well as Also Sprach Zarathustra (a.k.a. 2001 Theme), Star Wars and Close Encounters, all performed by the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Zubin Mehta. Though The Planets on this CD was recorded in 1971, the recording is excellent.

Paul D
02-01-2004, 08:38 PM
OOPS I forgot to mention the recording was released on London Records in 1997. I purchased the CD from Amazon.com late last year.

dancingdownunder
02-16-2004, 06:53 AM
I recently bought an interesting version of The Planets on the Naxos label ... it's recorded by the Scottish National Orchestra, under David Lloyd Jones. I haven't heard the Boult recording so can't compare, but it's a DDD recording from 2001 and seems quite dynamic and lively. What's interesting is that it includes an eighth movement to "complete" the suite: Pluto, The Renewer, composed by Colin Matthews. (Pluto, of course, was only discovered in 1934, well after Holt composed the suite.)

Naxos 8.555776

fovman
05-09-2004, 11:53 PM
I highly recommend "The Planets" (Holst) recording by Sir John Eliot Gardiner!

jaggedscribe
01-06-2012, 07:41 PM
You also mentioned the 9th symphony... My favorite recording was conducted by Bruno Walter. He truly interpreted the feel and intensity of the piece. Especially in the fourth movement; I have not heard anything that has come close to his definition. Just my opinion...
BTW-Thanks for the recommendations on the Gustav recordings everyone.

pianozach
01-06-2012, 08:34 PM
You also mentioned the 9th symphony... My favorite recording was conducted by Bruno Walter. He truly interpreted the feel and intensity of the piece. Especially in the fourth movement; I have not heard anything that has come close to his definition. Just my opinion...
BTW-Thanks for the recommendations on the Gustav recordings everyone.

Erdy hasn't been here for over four years, but he sure seemed picky about his orchestral recordings, LOL . . . !

Alas, we may never know if he ever found his Holy Grail version of The Planets, or Beethoven's 9th for that matter.

fovman
01-06-2012, 09:02 PM
I highly recommend "The Planets" (Holst) recording by Sir John Eliot Gardiner!

Tomita also did a nice all synthesized version of The Planets.

pianozach
01-07-2012, 03:07 AM
Kitaro also did a nice all synthesized version of The Planets.
D'oh!...but he got sued by the Holtz estate....not public domain.

How come no one's recorded a Hip-Hop version yet?

They could call it Hip Hop Holst.

Olias of BurryPort
01-20-2012, 08:42 AM
Gustav in the Ghetto

Doctor Flang
01-20-2012, 09:01 AM
1971 William Steinberg & Boston Symphony Orchestra rendition is quite brilliant. It's available on Deutche Gramophone CD with Strauss' Also Sprach Zarahustra on the same disc.

pianozach
01-20-2012, 12:00 PM
Psychobilly Planets . . . ?

(Psychobilly is a fusion of punk rock, rockabilly, thrashabilly, trashabilly, punkabilly, surfabilly and gothabilly.)

Now you know.

brufy
01-20-2012, 12:09 PM
There are dozens.

Try DECCA 417 553-2 for starters.

Orchestre symphonique de Montréal conducted by Charles Dutoit, a dynamic, well recorded interpretation from 1987, an early DDD CD.

PhaseDance
01-20-2012, 02:49 PM
And now, for no particular reason:

<iframe width="420" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/6Jy927MOS2U?rel=0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

<iframe width="420" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/gzWkb5Wi5Qo?rel=0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

Doctor Flang
01-20-2012, 03:18 PM
Yes. King Crimson used chunk of Mars and bit of Uranus to form Devil's Triangle. Black Sabbath's self titled song was inspired by Mars also. And of course, Yes plagiarized Jupiter for the intro of The Prophet.

SunshipVoyager
01-22-2012, 08:20 PM
If he were still around, I would have said my personal favorite is older (Bernstein's rendering with the New York Philarmonic), and the tempo on "Mars" is too fast for many purists- but I adore it, and every time I hear it slower now, it dosen't get my blood up as much.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L0bcRCCg01I
Also like this one by Levine & Chicago Symphony...

cometmelody
01-22-2012, 10:19 PM
I love the Tomita version, heard it many times and it's familiar to my ears.