Levi’s “Mars” is about the same speed as Steinberg’s (i.e., fast), but it’s more menacing (probably due to the stronger accents on each note within the different sections of the orchestra, and the pulse is steadier). The build-up from 2:46 to the “Bam!” at 2:51 is great stuff. (The wind section in that build-up is excellent.) And the low bass as the “Bam!” dies away: Oh, baby. That’s the stuff. The section immediately after the “Bam!”, from 2:57-3:48, is incredibly sinister and threatening. This is exactly how you do it, folks. This is a spectacular “Mars”. Love it.
As for the rest of The Planets, I’m a little sad to report that as far as performances go, nothing approaches the magnificence of “Mars”. (Hoo-wee, that “Mars” is great.) But the whole thing is never less than enjoyable.
Update: On subsequent listens, I enjoyed Yoel’s Planets more and more. It’s going up the list.