73. Yevgeny Svetlanov, The Philharmonia, 1992

Holst - The Planets (Svetlanov, Philharmonia Orchestra, 1992)

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“Mars” is slow and ominous. Not very ominous, mind you, but fairly ominous. It’s ominous enough. (And I’ll try not to use the word “ominous” again in these comments – or even the phrase “Oh my nous!”.) I’m enjoying the sound of the timpani and the snare drum, but that’s about it. I can’t really think of anything else to add to The List Of Things I Like About Yevgeny’s Mars. The big problem for me is that this “Mars” doesn’t march, it plods. The forward momentum I want to be there isn’t quite there. It takes way too long getting to wherever it’s going. As far as interpretations go, I’d suggest giving this “Mars” a wide berth.

“Venus”, on the other hand, is gorgeous.

“Mercury” isn’t terribly light on its feet, I’m afraid. It’s fairly leaden. It’s not entirely dreadful, but it’s not all that great either. There are some nice moments (e.g., 2:12-2:34), but it’s resolutely Earthbound. It doesn’t soar.

“Jupiter” is a mess. It starts off incredibly slow(ly), and doesn’t do much beyond that. The orchestra gamely plays what Svetty asks them to play (“Now, imagine Jupiter is trudging through the snow. Trudge!”), but it’s all for nought. Nought I tell you. Have you ever wondered what the Big Tune in “Jupiter” would sound like at almost half the speed it’s supposed to be? Well, now you can. (3:24-5:29)

I sincerely hope “Saturn” is better. (Please, please, please, please, please let “Saturn” be better.)

“Saturn” is sort of better. It’s in the ball park as far as tempos go (nice and slow), but The Svetster makes it feel sluggish. (I was going to call it “inert”, but it does actually move forward, albeit not terribly well.)

“Uranus” is semi-lively.

“Neptune” is aimless and formless. It’s the kind of interpretation that can (and probably will) give a first-time listener the impression that “Neptune” is not a very good piece of music.

Interpretatively, this recording of The Planets is not what I’d call a success. I think I’d call it an unsuccess.

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One thought on “73. Yevgeny Svetlanov, The Philharmonia, 1992

  1. wonderboy September 20, 2016 / 5:37 pm

    awful

    Like

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