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What's the best recording of Holst: The Planets?

post #1 of 69
Thread Starter 
Do you have a recommendation for the best recording of Holst: The Planets? Of course I realize that "the best" might be a bit difficult to determine, so I would appreciate your favorite if you have one. A link would be really great too so I can order it.

Thanks.
post #2 of 69
I have the Telarc version, it sounds extremely good, particularly in imaging depth, but no matter what I listen to it on, there is some really nasty distortion on some timpani rolls, the sound just really breaks up (Uranus is the culprit, which dosen't surprise me since it is a hugely dynamic piece). They said it was my equipment, so I went to a shop and played it on a Sony SCD-1 + Sonus Faber amp + Sonus Faber Musica amplifier and some Amati Homage speakers, and while the sound was breathtaking, the distortion was still there. I am listening to it right now actually .

The best performance I have heard of The Planets was something I got on mp3, unfortunately at 128k, but it was by the London Symphony Orchestra, and it is one of the finest performances I have heard, if not the best. I don't know anything other then that .
post #3 of 69
Hey, I have a 'Planets' CD on loan from my University Library and it says 'Andre Previn conducting the *London Symphony Orchestra*'!

Unfortunately it's overdue

Let's see... it's (P)1974 Original sound recording made by EMI Records Ltd

And there's a code number on the cover: CDC 7 47160 2

See if you can find the CD using this information

I have only heard this CD of the whole Planets suite, so I can't comment on its quality relative to other performances, besides, my classicals taste is underdeveloped

For 'Mars' I still prefer the version that came with Outpost 1, the game from Sierra
post #4 of 69
For full price versions I own/recommend Gardiner/DG which combines excitement with atmospheric color, recording is about as good as DG has.

For mid price I own/recommend Dutoit/Decca (penguin classics) here the color and atmosphere take center stage with a fabulous recording typical of other Dutoit CDs with Decca. This best place for causal listener to start.

There are many very good versions at mid/budget price that are strong in certain areas and worth owning for a collector. If you want excitement for Mars Solti/Decca is your reference.
post #5 of 69
My favorite is the von Karajan on DG.
post #6 of 69
Whatever you do, don't get the BBC classics one.
Holst - The Planets / Elgar 'Enigma' Variations BBCRD9104

Conducted by Sir Malcom Sargent and the BBC Symphony Orchestra. Recorded in 1966.

Through headphones it sounds more like an extremely bad audience recording. I swear that instead of the Albert Hall, it must have been recorded in a hospital full of chronic TB sufferers! The hacking, coughing, sneezing and chair scraping is enough to drive one completely nuts.



My best version of this is the one from Deutsche Grammophon. If i could lay my hands on it i'd let you know the number but I have a feeling that my father must have this in his room at the moment.

Anyway, stay away from that BBC version. You've been warned!



Happy listening
post #7 of 69
Most recordings of The Planets are ok, performance wise, it's just the recording quality that really varies.

I DO know the WORST, and one of the worst CD's of all time.
Holst, The Planets, on the CBS Masterworks label. I think it was Lorin Maazel and The Paris Symphony Orchestra. Bad, Bad, Bad sound.

post #8 of 69
I just received the SACD import by Kazuyoshi Akiyama with The Tokyo Symphony Orchestra (FINE NF61201). Wonderful interpretation and vivid recording.

post #9 of 69

Best planets

Ihave listened to most of the planets recordings,but my fave(and probably not that well known)is on Deutsche Grammophon,namely James Levine conducting the Chicago symphony orchestra.It was recorded in 1990,and if still available is on cat. number 429 730-2.
Highly recommended,it has a huge dynamic range,and inspired playing from the orchestra.It is a very clear recording as well.Just about demonstration quality i would say!!
post #10 of 69
Ok, guys...I just got this 180gm LP from Red Trumpet....without a doubt, it's the best sounding performance of this music I've heard. Evan better than the SACD I mentioned above....



Album
The Planets (LPO; Mehta) (LP)
Holst

Label: Speakers Corner
Catalog Number: Decca SXL 6529
Features: 180 Gram

Import from GERMANY


Earth was not created in a day. And the same applies to Gustav Holst’s interplanetary symphony which took him about three years to write. The composer employs a massive orchestra and rich orchestral colouring to portray each planet in his musical psychogram. Mars, the Bringer of War, rages with mechanical brutality, while Venus brings peace and an acceptance of life. Mercury, the Winged Messenger, darts here and there with quicksilver speed, while powerful and sovereign Jupiter brings jollity and reassurance. Saturn plods by with heavy tread, while Uranus with its contrasting changes in tempo remains enigmatic and extrovert. And because Pluto, the most distant planet had not yet been discovered, it is Neptune, the great unknown, which is lost in time and space in an endless ostinato of female voices. Zubin Mehta and the Los Angeles Philharmonic present this astronomical journey with precision and exhilaration, leaving neither time nor space for astrological speculation. As always, the excellent DECCA recording quality guarantees an unimpeded view of this musical galaxy.
Recording: April 1971 at Royce Hall, Los Angeles by James Lock and Colin Moorfoot / Production: John Mordler
post #11 of 69
My personal favorite is from EMI Classics.

London Philharmonic with Sir Adrian Boult conducting
(CDM 764748 2)

Won't win any awards for precision - but the performance
has plenty of emotion to it (I use it as one of my audition CDs)
post #12 of 69
I want that LP RickG!
post #13 of 69
Quote:
Originally posted by lorien
My personal favorite is from EMI Classics.

London Philharmonic with Sir Adrian Boult conducting
(CDM 764748 2)

Won't win any awards for precision - but the performance
has plenty of emotion to it (I use it as one of my audition CDs)
I have a friend who's quite a classical collector, he probably has, I would estimate, upwards of 20 to 30 versions of the Planets, and he's always claimed the Boult version is his favorite as well.. I'll have to keep an eye out for it..

As for the ones I know, I'd agree with Dusty.. the early 80's Herbert Von Karajan on DG...

The most recent one I have is Slatkin's on RCA.. while being a very decent recording, the performance is not the most exciting.

-jar
post #14 of 69
I agree with the Maazel being the worst of all the planets recordings, with the exception of "Saturn" which was actually the best recording of that movement released.

The best all around recording is by far the Dutoit. The "Mars" is the best one out there and none of the movements are by any means bad.
post #15 of 69
Quote:
Originally posted by RickG
Ok, guys...I just got this 180gm LP from Red Trumpet....without a doubt, it's the best sounding performance of this music I've heard. Evan better than the SACD I mentioned above....



Album
The Planets (LPO; Mehta) (LP)
Holst

Label: Speakers Corner
Catalog Number: Decca SXL 6529
Features: 180 Gram
Yup, good choice. Apparently the best is the Mobile Fidelity repressing of -The Planets-, but it'll set you back about a C-note. I haven't heard it
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