30. George Hurst, Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, 1974

Holst - The Planets (Hurst, Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, 1974)


As far as I’m aware, this version by George Hurst and the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra was released on vinyl in 1974 and then disappeared without a trace. I don’t know why, because Georgeous George’s version presses all the right buttons for me.

“Mars” is as menacing as all get-out. There are some tiny lapses in intonation and ensemble togetherness, but this powers along with a whole heap of wallop, and the orchestra glares at you with an intense “We mean business!”. To cap it off, the orchestral death throes at the end (starting at 6:39) are stupendously good. (The pauses are fantastic.)

“Venus” is quite serene (although I could have done without the slightly flat horn from 3:59-4:02).

“Mercury” ticks all my imaginary boxes.

“Jupiter” is dandy (except for the solo trumpet fluffing a couple of notes at 0:54 and 0:56). The way the bass tuba ‘disappears’ from 1:09-1:11 is excellent. Unfortunately, the Big Tune (3:12-5:15) isn’t all that great, but the little violin filigree straight after it (5:16) is fabulous. A good “Jupiter” all in all.

“Saturn” is very, very good.

“Uranus” is excellent. I know I’ve already used the word “excellent”, but I really can’t think of another word that’ll do in describing it. This “Uranus” is excellent. The brass section, especially, is amazingly good.

“Neptune” is wonderful (as in “full of wonder”), despite the slightly iffy intonation of the wind instruments from 4:37-4:49.

I want to buy this version of The Planets so bad, but I can’t find it on CD anywhere. I found it on Spotify (see above), where it’s the first half of an album called Gustav Holst: The Planets And Other Unearthly Music. Was it ever released on CD?

Addendum: The album is available as an MP3 download at Amazon.co.uk, and on demand as a CD-R at Amazon.com. That’s pretty shabby, folks.

Update (26 January 2019): Commenter Johan (Hi, Johan!) told me (and you) that this recording is available on CD at Amazon.co.uk. It was apparently released in 2010. I’m rather keen on buying it, but I’m not keen on the current price.


One thought on “30. George Hurst, Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, 1974

  1. wonderboy September 20, 2016 / 5:25 pm

    mediocre, nothing special :(


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