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4.8 out of 5 stars29
4.8 out of 5 stars
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Most reviews I have read of this disc seem pretty pleased with both performance and recording. On the other hand I think we should take note of the review that finds fault with the balance -- to me reviews are 'useful' if they show independent judgment, not if they support my preconceptions which are quite strong enough not to need reinforcing. What this account definitely is is vivid. The orchestral detail is very clear, but if I ask myself whether this is quite how The Planets sounds in the concert hall, then I'm not so sure. I like it this way, but this is not a piece where I am hard to please the way I am about performances of the Viennese classics or Ravel or Sibelius or Elgar or Walton. In general this is a very effective reading of The Planets. The tempi sound about right to me, no doubt because they are much what I am used to, and the playing and orchestral discipline are superb. This is the only disc of The Planets that I own or plan to own because it's not a work I'm fussy about, but connoisseurs may want to consider whether the effectiveness has been slightly overmanipulated by the recording technicians.
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on 7 December 2003
I have owned quite a few recordings of the Planets. I remember taking one back to the shop because the recording was unacceptable. This CD will not disappoint. Truly amazing digital recording, particularly like me you want to "feel" the organ bass vibrating in your living room. The performance is excellent. You could do a lot worse than buy this CD!
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on 24 February 2001
This is the reference album! Total artistic commitment from Charles Dutoit and his inspired Montreal Symphony served in digital sound in the extraordinary acoustics of St-Eustache Church, where it was recorded in 1986. This album has won the highest praise and continues to give me a special pleasure. Holst's portrait of the planets shines has bright as ever.
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on 23 August 2002
This CD is the reference CD for The Planets and represents sonic engineering perfection as its best. I have lived with this CD for nearly 15 years, and never tire of it. This truly remarkable recording has captured just about as much audio information as it is possible to hear on CD, and the added benefit of a committed performance from both orchestra and conductor make it a real pleasure to listen to. So far no recording has captured as much detail as this one, there are many other Planets CD's ............. but this is still No.1 in my book. Munt1
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on 25 October 2014
I have been in love with 'Mars, Bringer of War' ever since I first heard it many moons ago by Previn. Legend has it that when James Cameron wrote the screenplay of 'Aliens', he had it on a permanent loop. I can believe it.
After looking at various recommendations, it appeared that everywhere I looked, this version by Dutoit was the preferable version by most, though not all. 'The Planets' suite is a masterpiece of orchestral music and it's easy to get lost in the heavens as you listen and imagine the physical sights of the planets we will never see.
I have compared it to the famous versions by Karajan (Decca) Levi (Telarc) and Rattle (EMI), but all of them do not compare to this version. It is, to my ears - definitive
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on 4 December 2004
I work as a hi-fi and home theater products reviewer in a Norwegian magazine. I use this CD a lot in my work, mainly because of its stunning dynamics. With the right system it will sound amazing and powerful! But if your stereo can't handle the dynamics (this one is made to play loud!), it will sound muddy, with the horns section blending in with the strings! The bass instruments will sound forced with small speakers. As most classical music, this recording deserves a big system.
Trivia: I have heard that right before this recording, one of the tuba players was fired. He was furious, and therefore one of the tubas sounds "angrier" than normal.
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on 6 January 2010
There's such a long and widespread performing tradition for this popular old warhorse that it's hard to be surprised by it anymore, but surprised is exactly what I was when I first heard this disc at volume on a quality hi-fi. The Montreal / Dutoit partnership was nearly always a class act and this account of The Planets is certainly as good as any, and better than most, with luminous, singing strings and thrillingly weighty, almost Chicagoan brass. Mars terrifies, Jupiter elates, Saturn chills, Uranus swaggers.

But it's the quality of the recording which stuns and shakes you. The beautiful acoustic of Montreal's St. Eustache church, the vivid colours and detail, the extraordinary dynamic range, the truly hair-raising organ pedals which you feel as well as hear... Clearly, a lot of effort went into the sound engineering here but the real delight is how effortless and natural it sounds... for a recording...

...because the other reviewer is absolutely right; it doesn't sound like this in a concert hall. I recently saw a fantastic performance by the Halle at the Bridgewater Hall and was mildly underwhelmed due to my familiarity with this disc. Like him, this is the only recording of The Planets I'll ever want; it's nothing more (though nothing less) than a dazzling orchestral showpiece for me and, on those terms, this recording ticks every possible box.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 15 February 2014
This is a classic that I only purchased last year. Sonically and as a performance it is amazing. I still admire distinctive readings by Sargent from the late 50s which as sound and thrilling performance with BBC SO holds up well on CFP, Previn LSO, Boult's last LPO recording and Karajan and the Berlin Phil which was the first digital record I ever bought, but as other reviewers suggest this disc breaks the mould. Don't hesitate!
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on 11 June 2014
Holst's The Planets is one of the most well known classical works and as a set of pieces depicting the astrological characteristics of the Planets is a remarkable and moving piece of work. I have 4 recordings of this work. Dutoit and the Orchestre Symphonique are truly among the top of performances for The Planets, truly masterful; Technically, the recording is clear and on my system is presented with remarkable presence and depth. The location of the recording is St Eustache Church, Montreal and of particular interest is the use of the organ, especially in Saturn, which, on a good hi fi system really demonstrates the dynamic range of this recording. Stunning.
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on 24 April 2016
I did quite a bit of research into what is regarded as the best recording of The Planets and this one was highly rated in a number of different places. I was not disappointed, it is a wonderful performance and the mastering of this CD is top notch. Sounds great through earphones or my HiFi system where the sheer power of Mars makes the room shake!
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