This “Mars” is fabulous. It powers along, mowing down anything in its path. It’s relentless. If I was the kind of guy who jumped out of his seat at the end of a performance and yelled “Bravo!”, there’s a fair chance I would have jumped out of my seat and yelled “Bravo!”.
“Venus” is close to perfect.
“Mercury” is splendid.
“Jupiter” has as much joie de vivre as you could possibly imagine – and with a heart-meltingly-played Big Tune in the middle (2:55-4:46). It made me cry. The sound quality’s not much chop in this movement (it’s better in the other movements), and a horn plays a dodgy note at 5:25, but – and this is a big “but” – you can hear the love for the music shine in every note. This is glorious music-making.
“Saturn”‘s Old Age is supremely dignified.
“Uranus” is especially mischievous (and played wonderfully, apart from an “oops” moment at 4:11 when a trumpeter plays a stray note – mischief!).
And “Neptune” is just… Well, I can’t really describe it. “Neptune” is exactly how I want it to be.
Thank you, Big Mal. Twenty-five thumbs up for these Planets.