Apart from an inadvertent horn note at 1:11, this is an exciting “Mars”. (I really want to say this “Mars” moves like a Juddernaut, but I have a feeling you’ll stop reading as soon as I do.) The orchestral thwack at 2:06 actually made me say this out loud: “Aww yeah!”. I don’t usually say things like “Aww yeah!” when listening to classical music. And when the orchestra started chugging away from 4:48 onwards, I said it again.
The rest of these planets are marvellous – except for a very brief bit of out-of-tune-ness from the strings in “Mercury” (at 1:30), and a supremely weird moment (it’s almost surreal, given the quality of the playing elsewhere on this disc): the tambourine player in “Jupiter” from 2:00-2:10 sounds like he or she completely forgot the rhythm. I had a look at the score, and Hey Mr. Tambourine Man is playing what’s written, but he/she is very slack with it. (The tambourine playing is much better the next time it’s spotlit in “Jupiter”, from 6:47-6:54.) Besides that, “Jupiter” goes along swimmingly. (Or should that be “orbitingly”?) The Big Tune (3:03-4:59) is wonderful. It starts off in an understated way then builds and builds, and that suits me just fine.
“Saturn” is just a tad slower than usual, but that doesn’t matter when you get to the last section (starting from 7:10). That last section is heartbreaking.
“Uranus” is exceptionally authoritative (Jimmy Judd and His Orchestra are in full control here, as they are almost everywhere else on this recording).
“Neptune” is everything you (i.e., me) want it to be.
This one’s a dandy Planets – and not just for dandies.