This “Mars” starts off well. There’s a sense of forboding in it, as it edges closer towards you, and then… and then from 1:31-1:36 there’s the sound of a horn trying to play in tune. (It sounds like the player is auditioning for the orchestra.) Up until then, “Mars” was going marvellously. Unfortunately, that wailing/flailing horn put an instant demerit mark in my mind. No matter. Let’s keep going. Oh-oh. 1:45-1:47: There’s that troublesome horn again. But, I’m pleased to say, for the horn it’s smooth sailing from there to the end of the piece. However, at 5:57 the organist inadvertently plays an extra low note. Oops. Despite the little “Oh no, they just recorded my mistake!” moments from the horn and organ, I liked this “Mars”.
“Venus” is lovely. The hall acoustic helps tip this “Venus” from “good” over into “very good” territory. I’m enjoying this recording of The Planets. There are tiny moments of suspect intonation from the violins, but I won’t list them because you have better things to do than see a list of tiny violin mistakes in a piece of music. 4:23-4:31: Very nice solo cello. This really is a lovely “Venus”.
“Mercury” is OK. I don’t think it’s anywhere near as good as “Venus”, but I don’t think anything in this recording of Da Planets is going to be.
“Jupiter” is a bit better. It doesn’t begin as briskly as I usually like it, but I can live with that. (It’s just a matter of personal taste.) Actually, all of “Jupiter” is slower than I like, but it is well done.
“Saturn” is a step down from “Jupiter”. It’s alright. Not bad, but not great.
“Uranus” isn’t all that mischievous. It’s OK. I hope I’m not having an attack of the blahs over these Planets], because I enjoyed the first two movements (“Mars” and “Venus”), but not much after that.
Let’s see what “Neptune” is like. It’s… nothing special. Ah well. However, there was a big surprise at the end of this recording: applause. (So that was a live performance. I couldn’t tell.) It was weird hearing applause at the end of “Neptune”.
So this ended up as a Planets I less-than-half-liked (i.e., only two out of seven movements did it for me).
By the way – and considering I only really liked “Mars” and Venus” on this recording – the album cover reminds me of this:
How’s that for a coincidence?