80. Gustav Holst, London Symphony Orchestra, 1922, 1923, 1924

Holst - The Planets (Holst, London Symphony Orchestra, 1922-1924)

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This is the earliest recording of The Planets, conducted rather historically by the composer himself (who, for some reason known only to the person who designed the album cover, is called “Gustov” Holst). It’s an acoustic recording, and it’s close to unlistenable. The playing is no great shakes either. But as an artefact, I find it fascinating. Gustov recorded The Planets again, but this time in 1926, and on electrical equipment (Translation: It’s better). That 1926 recording was the first time I heard an old, old, old, old The Planets, and I was entranced. (More so than here.) Which leads me to…

Apologies to Gustav Holst: Because the 1926 recording was my first exposure to The Big G conducting his own music, it immediately went to number 5 in the list. Unfortunately, I heard this 1922/23 recording very late in this listening marathon. (It was one of the last 10 Planets recordings I heard.) Although this recording is even more important historically than the slightly later one, I don’t want to mess up the list. So on purely artistic/sound quality grounds, it’s going to have languish near the bottom of this cockamamie list. Sorry about the inconsistencies, Gustov.

Update: To be fair to Grammercy, the record label who released that disc, they did correct Gustav’s first name in subsequent pressings.

Holst - The Planets (Holst, London Symphony Orchestra, 1922-1924) (corrected)

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2 thoughts on “80. Gustav Holst, London Symphony Orchestra, 1922, 1923, 1924

  1. Mark Zimmer August 2, 2018 / 3:01 pm

    If you haven’t heard it, you owe it to yourself to check out Aaron Z. Snyder’s remastering of this ancient acoustic recording at Pristine Classical:
    https://www.pristineclassical.com/collections/composer-holst/products/pasc131
    He does a pretty amazing job of finding the music amidst the cloud of noise. Even if you don’t want to spring for Pristine’s full CD, Mars can be heard free in its entirety on that page. It might change your mind some about the first recording of The Planets. It’s still somewhat noisy and there was no chance for editing to correct the (many) errors, but it’s actually listenable and it’s got a lot more life than the other copies I’ve heard of it (including Mark Obert-Thorn’s shot at it).

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    • Peter August 2, 2018 / 4:43 pm

      I’m listening to “Mars” on the product page, and the remastering is mighty impressive.

      I think I’ll have to save up and buy that one.

      Thanks for letting me know about it, Mark.

      Holst: The Planets (Holst, 1923)

      Like

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