Boult was the first to conduct Holst's planet suite at the tender age of 29. After hearing this, much later, reading of the suite (recorded in 1978) it's easy to see why Holst had such faith in the young conductor’s ability to realise his score.
The LPO are on fine form here, and Boult’s orchestral discipline is second to none.
The whole recording has been remastered at Abbey Road studios. While sceptical of remasters being overly processed, this is definitely not the case here. The sound quality is superb, displaying depth, resonance, detail and warmth. The instruments are beautifully imaged and, in particular, the dissonance of the trumpet is reproduced perfectly.
While some feel that the tempi of this reading is too plodding (Mars is particularly slow) or too heavy (for a lighter interpretation, Dutoit and the Montreal Symphony Orchestra are a good bet), I feel both are perfect and really emphasise the drama of the pieces.
In particular, the minimal use of thematic content (sometimes just one or two notes/chords) during Jupiter benefits from Boult’s pace, helping to create the sense of the ethereal that no composer but Holst seems to have mastered.
As a bonus, the CD also features an excellent reading of Elgars’s Enigma Variations. Together with the Hoslt recording, these performances display the deep understanding he had of the music and the "Englishness" of his friend’s works.
If you don’t already own the Planet Suite, I would highly recommend this excellent CD and will guarantee your enjoyment of it.