82. Sir Colin Davis, London Symphony Orchestra, 2003

Holst - The Planets (Colin Davis, LSO, 2003)

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“Mars” is slack, slack, slack. Wow, that’s slack. Everything else is pretty slack too. Slack. I think this version of The Planets is what sniffy British music critics call “uncompetitive”. This one wasn’t fun to listen to.

Update: While I’ve been waiting for my next batch of Planets CDs to arrive, I’ve revisited a few recordings I gave short shrift to in my comments the first time. I’m now listening to this a second time, and it’s still not much fun to listen to. It’s not the ordeal it was the first time I heard it, but for me it’s still a big heap of “blah”. My biggest complaint with this particular recording is that everything is so dull and uninvolving. (Except for maybe the tenor tuba playing a wrong note at 1:13 in “Jupiter”.) It’s the most leisurely Planets I’ve ever heard, and by “leisurely” I mean so laidback that if it was any more relaxed it’d be reclining in a hammock, holding a piña colada, and putting a hat over its head, ready for a snooze. Sir Colin (or Sirco Lin, as I’d like to call him from now on) doesn’t seem to be bothered by such concepts as “speed”, “tension”, “suspense,” or anything else that would supply interest to a musical interpretation. He just lets the music flow, seemingly at the one tempo. (It’s what it feels like.) I’ll probably listen to it a third time in the interests of thoroughness, but I’m not looking forward to it.

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