About Peter’s Planets

Howdy. On this blog you’ll find my list of recommended recordings of Gustav Holst’s The Planets, in order of preference.

What’s on the list:

  • All available recordings on CD of the full orchestral suite of Those Planets.

What’s not on the list:

Enjoy!

Incidentally…

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45 thoughts on “About Peter’s Planets

  1. John R. Lewis III March 6, 2015 / 9:36 pm

    As a 40+ year devotee of the Planets, I’ve really enjoyed your many reviews of the piece. The only disappointment I have is that Fritz Reiner never recorded it with Chicago on RCA. That would have been one to reckon with, both for perfection of musical execution and recording quality!

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    • Peter March 7, 2015 / 12:45 am

      It didn’t even occur to me to imagine other conductors tackling the work. Fritz Reiner – now there’s a conductor who could breathe fire into any piece. And with the heart-stopping precision of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra: Yes please. I’m now hoping against hope that Fritz Reiner recorded The Planets somewhere, somehow.

      Update: I just found this on page 51 of Fritz Reiner, Maestro and Martinet, by Kenneth Morgan:

      “Reiner liked to know all the latest tendencies in music and enjoyed introducing promising composers to the public. In 1922 he stated that Stravinsky, Bartok, and Schoenberg were “the present great names” to follow. Younger composers of the German school that interested him included Webern, Wellesz, Haba, Erdmann, Hindemith, Pisk, and Rosenstock. Among the Italians he esteemed highly who deserved greater notice were Pizzetto, Respighi, Casella, Tommasini, and Domenico Alaleona. Scriabin and Medtner were important Russian composers, and he singled out Schmitt, Poulenc, and Honneger among the French school. British composers of note included Bax, Goossens, Bliss, Holst, and Vaughan Williams.”

      and then

      “Reiner introduced a handful of new English scores to Cincinnati audiences. One was Holst’s suite The Planets, which he conducted in 1923 when it was still in manuscript (though it had already been performed in the United States).”

      Oh, man. I wouldn’t have minded being there for that one.

      Like

  2. John R, Lewis III March 27, 2015 / 10:29 am

    Peter, have you by any chance read the article on various recommended Planets recordings by Ben Finane in the “building a library” section of Stereophile May 2004? It doesn’t pretend to be exhaustive, reviewing maybe 15 or so recordings. If you haven’t read it, I’ll mention a few of the author’s choices. He likes the Steinberg more than you do, but writes that the “best of the best” is the Karajan ’61, and the second best is the Solti! He writes quite negatively about the Bernstein, Mehta (the first one), and Elder (Halle). I’m always fascinated by the variety of qualities that different people look for in what they universally agree is a great piece of music.

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    • Peter March 27, 2015 / 8:58 pm

      “Peter, have you by any chance read the article on various recommended Planets recordings by Ben Finane in the “building a library” section of Stereophile May 2004? …”
       

      Nope.

      I haven’t seen that Stereophile article. Actually, I don’t think I’ve ever read any issue of Stereophile. Back in pre-online days, I don’t ever remember seeing it in newsagents here in Australia. It may have been available here, but I never noticed it.

      I’m now exceptionally keen on reading that article.

       
      “…It doesn’t pretend to be exhaustive, reviewing maybe 15 or so recordings. If you haven’t read it, I’ll mention a few of the author’s choices. He likes the Steinberg more than you do, but writes that the “best of the best” is the Karajan ’61, and the second best is the Solti! He writes quite negatively about the Bernstein, Mehta (the first one), and Elder (Halle). …”
       

      Love that 1971 Mehta recording.

      I’m not surprised the Elder / Hallé recording was spoken of negatively. I’ve seen a few reviews that say it’s dull, or boring. Not me.

      And speaking of Planets surveys:

      BBC Radio 3’s Building A Library series had an episode on The Planets. I heard it after I’d finished my survey, and found it mighty interesting. Like the author of the Stereophile article, the BBC’s David Owen Norris’s tastes in Planets differ wildly to mine.

      The episode lasts 50 minutes, and it’s on the BBC’s website here:

      http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p027rvhn

      If you’re not in England you may have trouble with the link. If you do have trouble, try this instead:

      http://www.4shared.com/mp3/i9DKq6Dsce/Building_A_Library_-_Holst_-_T.html

       
      “I’m always fascinated by the variety of qualities that different people look for in what they universally agree is a great piece of music.”
       

      Me too.

      Like

  3. John R. Lewis III March 27, 2015 / 6:32 pm

    Peter- In searching for the Wetton Planets, did you check the MusicBrainz.org/ website? It lists the re-issue cd (CFMAGDC198) and reads “1 available,” although it’s not clear what that means. Perhaps you can communicate with them and accomplish something. Maybe you’d have to buy a copy of the magazine with disc from someone? Anyway, good luck on your quest.

    Like

    • Peter April 5, 2015 / 6:35 pm

      Hey, John: There is a chance that I may have found a copy of Hilary Davan Wetton’s Planets. It was on eBay, and I bought it immediately.

      What exactly did I buy?

      Well, it’s a bit of a mystery, but the item was listed as:

      “Gustav Holst,Gustav Holst,Hilary Davan Wetton,Gustav Holst,Gustav Holst,Hilary D”

      And in the description it had this:

      Artist: Gustav Holst
      Title: Holst: Planets
      Label: EMI Records
      Discs: 1
      EAN: 5023391134821

      However, there’s a fair-to-moderate chance that it’s not the Davan Wetton Planets, for two reasons:

      1. The CD was released on the Collins Classics label, not on EMI. (Maybe EMI distributed Collins Classics CDs?)

      2. According to Discogs, that EAN number is for Svetlanov’s Planets (which is on the Collins Classics label, not EMI). Discogs lists Davan Wetton’s Planets, but the EAN for that is 5012106103528.

      I don’t actually know what CD I’ve bought, but I’ve bought it. If it’s the Svetlanov (which I don’t want), it’s no great loss because it was only AUS$8.

      I so want it to be the incredibly elusive Davan Wetton CD.

      Like

  4. John R. Lewis III April 7, 2015 / 8:52 am

    Keep fingers and toes crossed!

    Like

    • Peter April 27, 2015 / 11:30 am

      Well, the hoped-for Hilary Davan Wetton Planets disc arrived in the mail today, and…

      It’s not the Davan Wetton Planets. It’s the Svetlanov. This one:

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

      [Insert un-smiley face here.]

      Ah well.

      The search continues…

      Like

  5. Ed Incleve June 23, 2015 / 11:50 pm

    I’m shocked, stunned, that your #1 version is by Dutoit. I have that CD and it is terrible. The performance is so weak, mundane and uninspired that it is almost unlistenable to me. The recording may be worse, though. It sounds so muffled, I can’t believe it is a fairly recent recording.

    Oh well. To each, his own.

    Like

    • Peter June 24, 2015 / 8:33 am

      Yes indeed, Ed. It’s always a matter of personal preference/taste/choice etc. That’s why I was careful not to call this this list “The One And Only Authoritative Planets List That No-one Should Ever Question Because It Is The Last Word In All Planets Recordings Forever”.

      (Sorry if that sounded a bit snarky. I try not to be snarky.)

      Depending on how you like to hear Them Planets, you may prefer Seiji Ozawa’s version – the recording is wonderfully clear (Ozawa treats the music as if it’s Ravel). Or maybe William Steinberg’s – that one’s very light on its feet, and it’s full of beans.

      If you want to hear any version of The Planets that you think might take your fancy, just send me an email and I’ll try to help you out.

      Like

  6. Mister T. May 21, 2016 / 7:09 am

    I have now found my one and only idol on earth: * Peter * ! By the way, can you tell us more about yourself ? What triggered this work ? Are you a musician yourself ?

    So far I was personally stuck with 14.Levine (but the Trumpets mistake in Mars – 3.49 was haunting me), and 62.Karajan (but the snare drum error at 4:20 and trombones throwing up at 7:05 make me become suicidal)

    After listening to your top 10 versions, I – surprisingly – found a lot of pleasure listening to the bottom of the list: spotting errors, out of tune sections, lazy solos, bad rhythms, jumping to the mistakes you mention in your comments. Is that perversion ?

    Question 1: do you often play “planets blind test” ? Having a friend playing a version, and you guessing the album ? A bit like wine-tasting ?
    Question 2: have you ever had a moment of glory, in real life, thanks to your deep knowledge of The Planets ? Does it help with girls ?
    Question 3: have you ever strangled someone listening to Mars and saying “I know this tune, this is Star Wars” or “This guy copied Williams, what a jerk” ?

    Now, I’m going back to work: decoding the mysterious morse pattern in Mercury.

    Like

    • Peter May 21, 2016 / 11:59 am

      Howdy, Big T.
       

      “I have now found my one and only idol on earth: * Peter * ! …”

      I’m gobsmacked.
       

      “… By the way, can you tell us more about yourself ?”

      Yes indeedy. I’m a tall man living in sunny South Australia. (Salisbury Park, to be a little more precise.) I’m on Facebook and Twitter. More information below.
       

      “… What triggered this work ? …”

      I’m a member of the GMG Classical Music Forum, and was participating in a conversation about The Planets when someone asked me the fateful question:

      “Anyway, here’s a fun idea, if you could indulge us, what are your top 5 favorite performances of The Planets…?”

      That top 5 became this list.
       

      “… Are you a musician yourself ?”

      Yep. I play bass guitar. I played in a rock band in the 1980s until I got ill in 1987 with ME/CFS and Fibromyalgia. Because of my ongoing faultiness (I still have those diseases), I’m not currently able to play any instrument. (I now call myself a “non-practising musician.”) But I can listen. My ears still work.
       

      “So far I was personally stuck with 14.Levine (but the Trumpets mistake in Mars – 3.49 was haunting me), …”

      That mistake can get on your goat*.

      (*If you had a goat to get on.)
       

      “… and 62.Karajan (but the snare drum error at 4:20 and trombones throwing up at 7:05 make me become suicidal)”

      It’s all a bit too much for me. I’m not a fan of Karajan at the best of times, but when he gets as sloppy as that… well, that just rustles my jimmies.
       

      “After listening to your top 10 versions, I – surprisingly – found a lot of pleasure listening to the bottom of the list: spotting errors, out of tune sections, lazy solos, bad rhythms, jumping to the mistakes you mention in your comments. Is that perversion ?”

      Not to me. I love hearing mistakes in recorded music, because it reminds me that human beings were in a recording studio, doin’ their thang.

      I especially like hearing mistakes in classical music, as it’s held up as high-falutin’ and untouchable as an artform. It’s nice to occasionally hear an “Oops!” from someone in that untouchable artform.
       

      “Question 1: do you often play “planets blind test” ? Having a friend playing a version, and you guessing the album ? A bit like wine-tasting ?”

      I’ve never done that.

      Supplementary answer: Blind audio tests don’t interest me at all.
       

      “Question 2: have you ever had a moment of glory, in real life, thanks to your deep knowledge of The Planets ? …”

      Nope. I’ve had little musical epiphanies from time to time (moments that make me go, “Wow, I never noticed that before!”), but nothing particularly noteworthy. (Pun almost unintended.)
       

      “… Does it help with girls ?”

      No sir.

      (And thanks for making me laugh out loud with that question.)
       

      “Question 3: have you ever strangled someone listening to Mars and saying “I know this tune, this is Star Wars” or “This guy copied Williams, what a jerk” ?”

      I’m afraid not. I’m the only person I know in my circle of friends who loves classical music (My friends are rock-heads), so my listening tends to be solitary.
       

      “Now, I’m going back to work: decoding the mysterious morse pattern in Mercury.”

      Excellent.

      Have fun, marvellous Mr T!

      Like

  7. Gerald Martin January 2, 2017 / 3:07 pm

    Three recordings not on your list– understandably so because they are only available as DVDs– are David Atherton and the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, Esa-Pekka Salonen and the Philharmonia Orchestra, and Hans Graf and the Houston Symphony. Since all conductors and orchestras are known quantities, it’s odd that there are no audio-only CD releases. The DVDs are prohibitively expensive; and if I read the comments on Amazon correctly the music is often disfigured with sound effects, narration and/or jarring transitions. The music is treated as background to the visuals. More annoying to me the work is used in an astronomical context (pretty outerspace pictures) when Holst intended astrological allusions. It’s like when Michael Jackson’s “Ben” was released as a love song when “Ben” was actually a killer rat in a horror movie.

    Like

    • Peter January 2, 2017 / 6:22 pm

      In addition to those DVDs you mentioned, there’s also a 1983 film by Ken Russell (Ken Russell’s View Of The Planets). It was released on DVD and Blu-ray in 2005. There’s a three-minute preview of the movie on YouTube. It uses the Ormandy recording.

      There is another Planets recording on DVD, and that’s the one by Andrew Litton and the Dallas Symphony Orchestra. It’s called DVD Space Spectacular. It was also released on CD (called Dallas Space Spectacular) and I reviewed it.

      The Esa-Pekka Salonen/Philharmonic DVD/Blu-ray (Universe of Sound: The Planets) is supposed to be an audiovisual extravaganza. The Philharmonia apparently spared no expense in making it fully interactive. The Philharmonia has a promo of the video on YouTube.

      As for DVDs of The Planets overall, I reckon it’d be mighty annoying if the producers of these DVDs simply chose photos of the planets to accompany each movement, rather than Holst’s original intention of portraying each planet’s metaphysical properties. (“It’s astrological, baby!”)

      I’m glad I’m only reviewing the CDs. I can imagine spending way too much time moaning about the visual content of those DVDs (and if there wasn’t any visual component to the DVD, I’d probably complain about that too).

      Like

  8. Gerald Martin January 3, 2017 / 6:54 am

    Thanks. I actually have the Litton/Dallas DVD, although I haven’t had the opportunity to listen to it. One recording you might be interested in sampling is by the Interlochen Arts Academy Orchestra conducted by Thor Johnson. The CD is no longer available– for years it was carried by Berkshire Record Outlet– but it can now be downloaded free at rediscovery.us. Interlochen is essentially an arts camp and Johnson died in 1975 so I might be foisting another loser on you.

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    • Peter January 10, 2017 / 8:56 am

      Oops. Many apologies, Gerald. I could have sworn I had responded to your comment, and said that I listened to the Thor Johnson recording of The Planets, and summed it up by calling it “substandard”.

      It’s a complete mystery to me why I hadn’t done any of that.

      Like

      • Gerald Martin January 11, 2017 / 5:35 am

        Sorry the performance was such a dud. Thor Johnson was a fine conductor so I was hoping for better. Although it’s too late for both of us, it might be of interest to your readers that all three of Boult’ s EMI Planets recordings (1945, 1966, 1978) are included in the budget Warner Brothers/EMI 10-CD set, Boult, The Complete Conductor– From Tchaikovsky to Gershwin. I bought the set to replace the horrible rechanneled stereo CD of the 1945 performance that you have pictured. I do wonder what the non-Planets collector thinks of the set.

        Like

      • Peter January 11, 2017 / 10:58 am

        They may think it’s a bit of overkill.

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  9. jeremy mather January 7, 2017 / 3:50 am

    Any thoughts/notes on the USAF Heritage of America Band’s recorded version (from, I think, 1989)? It’s the only recording in the public domain (as far as I can tell, happy to be wrong about that).

    While trying to acquire rights to use in a low-budget movie, I was directed to this recording since it’s supposedly free to use.

    Anyway, as an expert on the many recorded versions, I was curious if you’ve heard it or would give it a listen so I could hear your opinions compared to your favorites.

    http://www.heritageofamericaband.af.mil/recordings/frontiers.asp

    Thanks!

    Like

    • jeremy mather January 7, 2017 / 6:41 am

      Here’s the actual music: https://archive.org/details/Holst-ThePlanets

      I like some of them quite a bit, but it’s one of the most lackluster versions of Mars I’ve heard. I’m not a fan when it’s slowed down!

      Like

      • Peter January 7, 2017 / 4:20 pm

        I didn’t mind that “Mars”. (See below.)

        Like

    • Peter January 7, 2017 / 4:09 pm

      “Any thoughts/notes on the USAF Heritage of America Band’s recorded version (from, I think, 1989)? It’s the only recording in the public domain (as far as I can tell, happy to be wrong about that).

      While trying to acquire rights to use in a low-budget movie, I was directed to this recording since it’s supposedly free to use.

      Anyway, as an expert on the many recorded versions, I was curious if you’ve heard it or would give it a listen so I could hear your opinions compared to your favorites.

      http://www.heritageofamericaband.af.mil/recordings/frontiers.asp

       
      Thanks!”

      Hi, Jeremy. I hadn’t heard that recording.

      Even though it’s been released on CD (according to the link you supplied), I can’t add it to the list because it’s not the original orchestration (it was transcribed by Merlin Patterson, and edited by the conductor Capt. Larry H. Lang and MSgt. Aldo Forte).

      But I can tell you what I think of it.

      “Mars” is slightly underpowered. There’s nothing wrong with it per se, it’s just that there are more menacing versions of “Mars” out there. But it’s well played – despite a few unbelievably noticeable mistakes. The biggest ones are at 2:23 and 3:09, and there are a couple of smaller ones by a horn in the right channel at 3:10 and 3:13, and then at 4:40 – and somebody squeaks at 4:51 (also in the right channel). I’m surprised the band didn’t go for a retake, or even patch up those mistakes, because they really are noticeable. There’s a bit of slackness from the timpani from 5:12-5:16 (the rhythm isn’t steady, and it sounds like the timpanist may have missed a note at 5:15). The horn fluffs another note at 5:56. There’s a messed-up note in the left channel at 6:02 (and again at 6:04).

      Overall, though, it’s a pretty decent “Mars”.

      Unfortunately, “Venus” doesn’t get off to a good start. The very first note by the solo horn, the note that starts the movement, is iffy. At the recording session, I’m sure the horn player could have simply stopped after the first couple of notes and said, “Sorry about that. Can I start again?” Unfortunately, things get a whole lot worse for the solo horn player: At 0:26 there’s a gruesome mistake, where the horn player stops breathing for a moment. It’s horrendous, and probably incredibly embarrassing for the player in question. It’s the kind of error that would make you think the horn player might not have been up for the task. I feel for that horn player. Apart from that, this “Venus” is substandard, mainly because most of the ensemble is not in tune with itself. The violins are dreadfully out of tune in the little ascending scale from 2:51-2:54. And at the end of the piece, the horn has a lot of trouble with a couple of notes (7:41-7:45), so much so that it sounds like he or she just gave up.

      The entirety of “Venus” could have done with a retake. I’m sure the band could have done better than this.

      “Mercury” is better. There are some wayward notes played by the strings at 0:23-0:24 that made me wince, but apart from that this “Mercury” is entirely respectable.

      “Jupiter” isn’t as good. There’s some unsteady playing from a variety of instruments, and the mistakes are not handy (e.g., 1:40, 5:32-5:34), but despite all of that it’s lively enough. The playing of The Big Tune (3:03-5:00) is a little too prosaic for my liking, but it’s not horrible. At 7:02, a trumpeter goes into the stratosphere with a wrong note (it made me chuckle).

      “Saturn” is OK. There’s a cute little mistake from someone at 4:49 (it sounds like a kitten meowing), and then another at 5:04 (it doesn’t sound like a kitten). The kitten returns at 5:14, and there’s another non-feline mistake at 5:18. All these little mishaps stop me from taking this “Saturn” terribly seriously. (It’s meant to be terribly serious.) At 8:45 there’s a note that swoops up slightly, in a sneaky I-hope-they-didn’t-notice-my-mistake kind of way.

      I’m pleased to say that the blaring horns at the start of “Uranus” are nowhere near as blaring as they usually are on other recordings. I’m very thankful for that, because I hate those horns playing loudly straight after “Saturn”‘s quietude. This “Uranus” goes well enough. It’s probably the best-played movement of this recording. But there’s “Neptune” to come up next, so I’ll reserve my judgement.

      Two things I noticed when “Neptune” began are:

      1. It starts louder than “Neptune” usually does. (It’s usually very quiet and mysterious.) And…

      2. There are some extraneous noises in the first 12 seconds. My guess is the women’s chorus getting into position. (You can hear them again at 0:36.) But wouldn’t they have gotten themselves into position before the red light went on? Maybe they were already in position, but had trouble keeping quiet. (The volume of this track being cranked right up doesn’t help.)

      There’s some dodgy intonation from a few instruments, but it’s not catastrophic. The only real problem with this “Neptune” is that it’s not very ethereal. And it’s loud.

      Now that I’ve heard all of this Planets recording, I must say I couldn’t tell you what kind of transcribing and/or editing was done to the work. If it was transcribed and edited, then it was minimal. (The only thing I noticed for sure was the organ was missing. And possibly a lack of bass tubas.) From what I can hear, those trans./ed. chaps didn’t do much at all.

      And that’s what I thought of the recording.

      Like

      • jeremy mather January 10, 2017 / 1:55 am

        Thanks so much for this!

        Like

      • Peter January 11, 2017 / 10:13 am

        No problem.

        Like

  10. Robin Witting January 16, 2017 / 2:06 am

    I love The Planets have bought several more since discovering your Blog. I thought: “Who is this guy? He sounds so exuberant I guess he’s gay?” Wrong: you’re Australian, Peter, which equally explains it! I have half a dozen different versions. My lovely wife, Sue, says: “What’s the point?” I’m even more obsessed with Vaughan Williams Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis of which I have at least a dozen different recordings. Anyway, my main reason for contacting you – if you’re not aware already – is to tell you about a new recording of The Planets due out next month: Edward Gardner and the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain on Chandos.

    Can we look forward to a review once you’ve taken your medication at the prospect of listening to yet another recording?

    Best Regards,
    Robin (from England)

    Like

    • Peter January 16, 2017 / 9:02 am

      Aloha, Robin!

       
      “I love The Planets have bought several more since discovering your Blog.”

      Excellent.

       
      “I thought: “Who is this guy? He sounds so exuberant I guess he’s gay?”…”

      Nope. Just innately cheerful.

       
      “…Wrong: you’re Australian, Peter, which equally explains it!”

      Yes sir.

       
      “I have half a dozen different versions.”

      Can’t you round that up to an even 40?

       
      “My lovely wife, Sue, says: “What’s the point?”…”

      [Gasp!]

       
      “…I’m even more obsessed with Vaughan Williams Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis of which I have at least a dozen different recordings.”

      Fabulous.

      Oh man, I love that piece. I have a few versions (probably only about five), but no matter which one I listen to I always go back to the Neville Marriner / Academy of St Martin-in-the-Fields 1972 recording.

      Update: I’ve just discovered I have 11 Tallis Fantasias:

      Academy of St Martin-in-the-Fields / Neville Marriner
      Atlanta Symphony Orchestra / Robert Spano
      Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra / Constantin Silvestri
      English String Orchestra / William Boughton
      London Philharmonic Orchestra / Sir Adrian Boult
      London Philharmonic Orchestra / Bernard Haitink
      The Philadelphia Orchestra / Eugene Ormandy
      Philharmonia Orchestra / Leonard Slatkin
      Royal Philharmonic Orchestra / André Previn
      Royal Philharmonic Orchestra / Pinchas Zukerman
      Sinfonia of London / Sir John Barbirolli

      The Barbirolli is special (on an amazing album), but my heart belongs to the Marriner.

       
      “Anyway, my main reason for contacting you – if you’re not aware already – is to tell you about a new recording of The Planets due out next month: Edward Gardner and the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain on Chandos.”

      Thanks.

      Somebody told me a few weeks ago that it was on a Chandos list of upcoming releases. But I’m glad you reminded me, because my memory is dreadful*.

      Chandos is now listing the Gardner Planets recording on their website. I’ll be happy to buy it once the price comes down from full retail.

       
      “Can we look forward to a review once you’ve taken your medication at the prospect of listening to yet another recording?”

      You certainly can.

      Now, where are those drugs…

       
      “Best Regards,
      Robin (from England)”

      Thanks, Robin.

      This is for you:

      It’s on one of my favourite Early Music CDs.

      PS: Hi, Sue!

       
      PPS: I found this on YouTube. It’s Edward Gardner and the National Youth Orchestra playing The Planets at the 2016 Proms.

       
      (*I have no trouble at all remembering all sorts of trivia, but when it comes to important things like birthdays, anniversaries etc., I’m hopeless.)

      Like

  11. sickofeverythingbutmusic January 21, 2017 / 10:24 pm

    Wow this is really cool! I was made aware of this blog by a user on the Steve Hoffman forum and I really wish I’d known about this sooner. I’ve been searching for a list like this for years. Venus is my all time favourite piece of music so Im always on the lookout for great recordings of The Planets. Thank you Peter.

    Like

    • Peter January 22, 2017 / 8:54 am

      Howdy, Not-sick-of-music. I’m glad you like the blog. And it’s nice to meet a fellow Steve Hoffman Music Forums participant.

      Incidentally, if you’re ever looking for a particular “Venus”, let me know. I’ll help if I can.

      Liked by 1 person

      • sickofeverythingbutmusic January 23, 2017 / 7:18 pm

        I would love to know what is your favourite recording of Venus.

        Like

      • Peter January 24, 2017 / 8:21 am

        Relying on my unreliable memory, I’d say that the Elder would probably be my favourite “Venus”. Maybe.

        However, I might have to jog my memory by looking through my reviews to see what I thought of other “Venus”es.

        Update: I’ve had a look through my reviews, and it looks like my favourites are the top three recommendations, with the Dutoit at the tippy-top.

        Liked by 1 person

      • sickofeverythingbutmusic January 25, 2017 / 4:01 am

        Thank you, I’ll check it out. Also, do you recommend any youtube videos of great performances of The Planets?

        Like

  12. Robin Witting January 22, 2017 / 6:22 pm

    Thank you, Peter,
    I ordered the St. Martins-in-the-Fields recording and it arrived yesterday. I listened to it three times on the trot on my headphones and then openly. I realised after a while I had a big smile on my face – a pity the wife couldn’t have witnessed it!! Wonderful! They put their own stamp on it. I know classical buffs rate the Barbirolli as the definitive and it is a lovely recording which I should play more.

    One of my favourites is Andrew Davis with the BBC Symphony Orchestra. There was a prog. on TV a few years ago (available on Youtube) where they replicated the original debut performance in Gloucester cathedral – wonderful!!

    You could do a parallel blog on the Tallis Fantasia, Peter! I’d try but I can’t do that “six bars in the viola player twitches…” stuff. I’m not that savvy.

    I have the Elder Planets now on order and I am looking forward to that one! Your review intrigued me mightily!

    Best Regards,
    Robin

    Like

    • Peter January 23, 2017 / 10:15 am

      Yowser, Robin

      “Thank you, Peter,”

      You’re entirely welcome.

       
      “I ordered the St. Martins-in-the-Fields recording and it arrived yesterday.”

      Excellent.

       
      “… I listened to it three times on the trot on my headphones and then openly. I realised after a while I had a big smile on my face – a pity the wife couldn’t have witnessed it!! Wonderful!”

      Even more excellent.

       
      “They put their own stamp on it. I know classical buffs rate the Barbirolli as the definitive and it is a lovely recording which I should play more.”

      The Barbirolli is intense. But there’s something about the Marriner that appeals to me most of all.

       
      “One of my favourites is Andrew Davis with the BBC Symphony Orchestra. There was a prog. on TV a few years ago (available on Youtube) where they replicated the original debut performance in Gloucester cathedral – wonderful!!”

      This’d be the one:

      Time for a listen.

      Update: I’m listening to it. Wow.

       
      “You could do a parallel blog on the Tallis Fantasia, Peter!”

      When I entertained the possibility of doing another comprehensive survey of a piece of music, the Tallis Fantasia was one that popped up as a “Hmm, maybe” – but then I thought of others I’d like to do more. Frontrunners for another survey would be Scheherazade, The Rite of Spring, The Nutcracker, and Carmina Burana. If I had to choose one, it’d probably be Carmina Burana.

       
      “…I’d try but I can’t do that “six bars in the viola player twitches…” stuff. I’m not that savvy.”

      You never know. Listen to something enough times and you can end up noticing weird things you never thought you’d notice.

       
      “I have the Elder Planets now on order and I am looking forward to that one! Your review intrigued me mightily!”

      The Elder Planets exerts a hold on me that I can’t explain.

       
      “Best Regards,
      Robin”

      Same to you, magnificent Robin.

      Like

    • Peter June 8, 2017 / 1:53 pm

      Thanks for letting me know about Peter Gutmann’s article. Although the other Peter calls it “a bold and valid interpretation”, he’s not all that complimentary about BernieHerrmie’s effort.

      I read most* of that article, and enjoyed it. I was very pleasantly surprised to see myself mentioned. Thanks, other Peter!

      (*I skipped the descriptions of each movement.)

      Like

      • Gerald Martin June 8, 2017 / 2:56 pm

        I thought you’d appreciate the plug. It means you’re getting noticed in some “high class” quarters. Even Google’s rec.music.classical has given you some grudging respect.

        Like

      • Peter June 8, 2017 / 5:51 pm

        “I thought you’d appreciate the plug.”

        I do.

        I must admit that when I started this website I thought it would only be seen by my compadres over at the GMG Classical Music Forums. It was a post there that kicked-started this website, and it was initially for their benefit. I’m a bit bedazzled that it’s being seen elsewhere.

         
        “It means you’re getting noticed in some “high class” quarters. Even Google’s rec.music.classical has given you some grudging respect.”

        Hehe.

        Time to investigate the rec.music.classical group.

        Thanks again, MG*.

        (*Magnificent Gerald).

        Like

      • Gerald Martin June 9, 2017 / 1:52 am

        And talkclassical.com. Word gets around.

        Like

  13. markdirk October 10, 2017 / 6:14 am

    “Car-mi-NA! Car-mi-NA!” The world could REALLY use a comprehensive take-down…uh, review….of the options, and you are clearly the man to do it!

    I stumbled on this wonderful blog because I stumbled on the Malcolm Sargent “Jupiter”, your well-deserved #4, which totally blew me away first with the A section’s truly reckless vivacity, and then with The Tune’s perfect pace and dynamic build. Sargent being the fabulous choral conductor he was totally GETS the way a melody like this has to Work.

    But now I’m off and running. I love this kind of well-informed opnionation (not a word) and am VERY grateful to you for it!

    Carmina. Definitely. But not the RVW Fantasia, because (hush children!) it really does not record that well. That Davis / Gloucester Cathedral video on the other hand…….wow and wow.

    Blessings you from the great US Midwest!

    Like

    • Peter October 10, 2017 / 11:16 am

      Howdy, MD

       
      ““Car-mi-NA! Car-mi-NA!” The world could REALLY use a comprehensive take-down…uh, review….of the options, and you are clearly the man to do it!”

      Of all the pieces I’ve contemplated doing another survey on (there’ve been a few), that’s definitely the frontrunner.

       
      “Carmina. Definitely. But not the RVW Fantasia, because (hush children!) it really does not record that well. That Davis / Gloucester Cathedral video on the other hand…….wow and wow.”

      The Davis / Gloucester Cathedral recording is pretty special, but for me, a survey of the Tallis Fantasia would consist of two sentences:

      “Just go and buy the Marriner. It’s all you need.”

       
      “Blessings you from the great US Midwest!”

      Thanks for those blessings, my good man.

      Like

      • markdirk October 11, 2017 / 12:17 am

        You’ll get no argument from me about the NM RVW FOATOTT. That’s as good as it’s gonna get.

        On our Working Boy, though: your #39, Herbie and the Weinettes – there a release out of this Planets backed by Pierre Monteux conducting the London SO in the Enigma Variations. It’s an almost deliberately provocative pairing: the wrong conductors with the wrong orchestras in the wrong repertoire. The Viennese had apparently NEVER played the Holst, and it’s (to my ears) extremely amusing to hear HvK floggin the $(^* out of them to get anything like the savagery Holst requires at places (or any number of OTHER extreme gestures.) I agree that he succeeds, but I definitely imagine the orchestra closing their parts and saying, “Well, that was interesting. Can I have my schnitzel now?”

        The Monteux is interesting in entirely other ways. He brings a Gallic accent to the very British music and musicians which is really rather sweet. Not necessarily convincing. But sweet!

        Thanks again for this blog – I need to buy a full score of Planets now…..

        Like

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