Is there a best version of Holst's magical suite, "The Planets"? No, of course not, the music is too rich and varied for any one version to be the "only" one to buy, but there are some very good ones indeed, and this recording on DG by the Boston Symphony directed by William Steinberg is one of the very best.
From the outset, with a terrific accent on the first beat of the lopsided 5 over 4 rhythm, "Mars, the Bringer of War" hurtles into terrifying action, and Steinberg maintains the pace, atmosphere, drama and romance of this wonderful music throughout the entire suite.
The Strauss performance too is excellent and together with the Holst this disc offers very good value.
The recording is first rate and shows little sign of its age. The only regret is that William Steinberg was appointed to the Boston Symphony too late in his career, by which time he was in poor health and had a very short tenure. Accordingly this disc is worth treasuring as a great memorial to a fine musician.