7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Disastrous recording of a decent performance,
This review is from: Holst: Orchestral Works 2 (The Planets/ Japanese Suite/ Beni Mora) (Audio CD)
Well, my review is going to add to a very mixed response to this SACD. Frankly I think Chandos would be wise to withdraw this SACD and go back to the mix ... which in its current form is truly grim.
The problem is, at least with the 5.1 layer, that the orchestra is simply swamped by ambience. There is so mcuh reverberation of the reverberation that I can only assume microphones were poorly positioned. The outcome is a peculiar recording wherein you feel like you're listening against the music in order to hear ... the music.
Add to this the extremely dynamic character of the pieces on offer - where quiet is really quiet and loud is extremely LOUD - and you end up with a disc that has to be played at very high volume with remote in hand, pre-empting the peaks.
As for the music, here The Planets isn't presented in a particularly energetic way, but it's certainly an engaging performance that, I think, focuses upon the psychodrama - the internal drama - rather than the obvious epic character. The other two pieces have been, I think, unfairly criticised for not being somehow authentically oriental. That's a crazy judgment - if you're going to take that view you'll have to start with The Mikado and be ready to crucify Scheherazade ... such works are inevitably, in part, products of their age.