This is a great reading. Unfortunately, the sound quality is bad, bad, bad. I was initially excited (no, it doesn’t mean that I was excited by the initials “E.O.”), because “Mars” starts off magnificently. It starts off with the storm clouds of war brewing in the distance, as if in a mist, and you can’t quite make out what’s slowly coming towards you. Unfortunately, it stayed that way. However, I can say that I got used to the sound quality on this disc by the 10-minute mark, and then it was no big deal. (I guess my criticism of the sound quality at the start – calling it “bad, bad, bad” – may have been a little strong, strong, strong.)
I really hope this has been remastered, because Ormandy’s Planets is excellent. Definitely Top 10 material. Apart from the sound quality. And the clarinet in “Saturn” (at 3:41).
Update: When I first listened Euge’s Planets, it was on this 1993 CD…
Then I listened to it on this 1994 CD:
When I listened to it again I didn’t mind the sound quality as much. I actually didn’t mind it at all. So you can forget about my not-especially-charitable words about the sound. It’s not that bad.
Another Update: Ormo’s recording was remastered by Sony in 2011. The cover of the 2011 CD looks a little like this…
And it sounds like this…
The sound quality is definitely different. It sounds a lot “airier”, if you know what I mean (i.e., the soundstage is spread out more, and you can hear between the instruments – and I hope that makes sense). But I don’t know if that qualifies as “better”. A lot of people on Amazon.com certainly prefer the new sound quality. Not me. I actually like the earlier sound more. It may not be great, but the new one sounds like it has a hole in the middle of the soundstage.
And Another Update: (Note to self: Just how many updates are there, Peter?) As I’m typing this I’m listening to Eugenie In A Bottle’s “Saturn”. I reckon this is one of the best “Saturn”s you’ll ever hear. It’s fabulous. Apart from that clarinet.
Here’s Eugene with the Philadelphia Orchestra in concert in 1977, playing a so-good-you-won’t-believe-it’s-on-YouTube version of Them Planets: