Wow. Lenny knows exactly what he’s doing in these Planets (except for the organ sound in “Mars” from 4:35-4:40 – what was he thinking?). Wow. Incidentally, in the orchestra’s last death throe at the end of “Mars”, there’s a weird bit of trumpet hesitation at 6:18. I wasn’t going to mention that particular bit of weirdness, but the more I listen to it the more it weirds me out.
I want to quickly mention “Jupiter”: it’s wonderfully jolly. And I didn’t even mind the mistakes in it (dodgy intonation from the trumpets at 0:56, a wrong note from a horn at 1:08, a strange note from something in the right channel at 1:16, a noticeable edit at 2:33, a very strange sound at 3:25, and a cracked note from the solo trumpet at 6:58). The Big Tune (3:04-5:18) might be a bit slow (it is), but what the hey – it’s very Lenny. (I can picture him in Full Emotional Mode, with one hand pointing his baton like a magic wand, trying to cast a spell over the string section, while his other hand is in a grasping gesture, as it holds The Meaning Of Life.)
“Saturn” is excellent. The Lenmeister treats it as if it’s a long-lost slow movement from a Sibelius symphony. Unfortunately, there’s a wayward horn entry at 2:55, which sounds like a honking swan. (Maybe Lenny wanted people to think of Sibelius’s Swan of Tuonela.) And at 4:08 there’s a strange sound in the left channel. I reckon it’s a pair of cymbals accidentally touching. If you hear it and think it’s something else, feel free to let me know. But forgetting those minor things for a moment (I did), this “Saturn” is magic.
Speaking of instrumental awkwardness, “Uranus” contains a horn having a whole heap o’ trouble playing his or her part from 1:14-1:17. You can’t miss it. Oh, and a piccolo plays a sharp note at 3:03.
But “Neptune” has no off moments at all (hurrah!), and is spookily mysterious.
Looking at Listening to Leapin’ Lenny’s Planets overall, this is definitely a top 5 contender. Unless I hear some Planets I like more.
Update: I did.