13. William Boughton, Philharmonia Orchestra, 1988

Holst - The Planets (Boughton, Philharmonia Orchestra, 1988)


I bought the Boughton (tee hee – “bought the Boughton”) after reading this long and very detailed review. (The reviewer goes into plenty of detail. Ah, a man after my own heart.)

“Mars” starts off very well indeed. It’s one of those “storm clouds brewing” kinds of starts. Once it gets going it’s not all that threatening, but it is enjoyable. There’s an awkward mistake (from what sounds like a horn) at 1:53, but as Rainier Wolfcastle says, it’s “No biggie.” The chugging from 2:05-2:28 is excellent. (I do like a chugging orchestra.) The sonic boom at 3:01 and the bit after it (3:07-4:08) are splendidly “storm-cloudy”. I’m thoroughly enjoying this “Mars”. I think Billy Boughton has balanced his orchestra exceptionall well, because I’m hearing things in it that I don’t hear in other versions. This “Mars” is what I’d describe as “on the lighter side of heavy”, but that’s a good thing. It allows the music to roam around, unencumbered by weightiness. I picture it as a Mars Dragon.

“Venus” is gorgeous.

“Mercury” is excellent.

“Jupiter” is excellent.

Can’t I just say it’s all excellent? (Note to self: No you can’t, Peter. That would be boring.)

“Saturn” is… well, it’s excellent. It moves along slowly but surely, and with enormous amounts of dignity. It’s one of the best “Saturn”s I’ve encountered.

“Uranus” is magnificent. (And excellent.)

“Neptune” is superb (get a load of the blended woodwinds from 5:03-5:16 – beautiful).

This was one of those Planets recordings where I wanted to press “play” again as soon as it finished. I’m glad I bought this version of The Planets.


4 thoughts on “13. William Boughton, Philharmonia Orchestra, 1988

  1. John R. Lewis III March 7, 2015 / 7:42 am

    Question: How would you characterize the sound of this issue? I have heard some very over-reverberant Nimbus recordings, where details are lost in the “atmosphere,” and it kept me from trying this one out.


    • Peter March 8, 2015 / 9:38 am

      I had no trouble at all with the recording quality of the Boughton CD. It’s not your usual halo-of-sound production from Nimbus. It’s actually a fine recording. About the only time you notice anything in the reverberation department is at the end of orchestral climaxes – but even then it’s no more reverberant than a lot of other recordings. It won’t have you running from the room screaming “The sound! The sound!”.


  2. John R. Lewis III March 9, 2015 / 1:21 am

    Many thanks, Peter. I’ll pick up a copy.


  3. wonderboy September 20, 2016 / 5:09 pm

    middleclass in all categories


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