I think the problem with this, Simon Rattle's first recording of The Planets, lies in the way it is recorded, more than in the performance or the interpretation. The sound is diffuse and certain elements, such as the tense side drum entries in the eerie middle section of Mars, are completely inaudible, with some instruments curiously recessed so that their contribution is masked (the organ is a casualty in this respect). Mars gets off to a brisk start, but one misses the skeleton's bones rattle of the 'col legno' strings and the bite of the timpani played with wooden sticks. The sound seems bathed in reverberation with a distinct lack of clarity in the middle and low ranges. Venus is suitably tranquil, but the superb solo horn sounds as if it is played off-stage and is not part of the orchestra at all, whilst the solo violin sounds thin and undernourished (there's also a mis-tuned D sharp in the violins in the ninth bar of the Andante which should have been spotted and an alternative take selected). Mercury bustles away merrily, but the sound is diffuse and the important glockenspiel and timpani rhythms indistinct. In Jupiter the sound is hash and strident above a 'forte' and the brass 11 bars before the end is muddy in the extreme. Saturn sounds as if it has one foot in the grave already, whilst Uranus fails to deliver its tricks with conviction, again more to do with questionable balance. Neptune sounds suitably mystical, although for me there is too much 'daylight' between the swinging chords of the female voices at the end. I have little quarrel with the interpretation and the Philharmonia responds with its usual excellence, but for me, the recording is the problem. In my opinion, for a good, low-priced Planets one cannot do better than Boult/LPO on EMI or Handley/RPO on Alto.