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on 28 July 2003
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.
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on 22 October 2011
I really wanted a re-mastered version of the Stokowski version released many years ago on the venerable 'Music for Pleasure' label. Whilst there are vinyl versions still available (I've a few copies myself!), I really wanted a CD version to re-live those childhood memories of being utterly transfixed by this music, and sent into many a reverie on a Sunday afternoon sat listening with headphones. I had made do for many years with the Karajan version on DG, but the overly dry acoustics, rushed tempo's and erm... some poor tuning issues with the brass on 'Mars' especially, made me replace it with this recording. I am immediately struck by the warmth & deeper sense of space in this recording, no doubt using the zenith in 1970's analogue equipment & tonmeister when it was originally recorded. I'm now looking forward to spending many happy hours listening again to Holst's classic.
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VINE VOICEon 19 December 2011
I first heard Edward Elgar's Enigma Variations during the 1980s. Unfortunately, that particularly version was woeful, slapdash and poorly produced. It certainly did not put me off the music though since I was aware even before I heard it that it has been a universally popular piece since its first performance in London in 1899.

The music conveys a series of musical pieces, fourteen in all with 'Nimrod' being one of the highlights. Because the work is so popular, it has been recorded no less than 60 times. It does take an exceptional orchestra and an exceptional conductor to make this music come alive. And so it is, under Boult, for this music is a masterpiece. I doubt if anyone will have heard a better performance of 'Nimrod' than the one here. It is an extraordinary piece. Beautifully played and recorded.

During his long career, Boult recorded 'The Planets' at least five times. I first heard a version conducted by Boult on a budget label in 1963. Although the performance was fine, he was let down by a poor recording. Thankfully, recording techniques have improved no end since those far off days, and I am pleased that this version is still available.

Recorded in 1978, it is a first class performance and recording. I cannot say whether this is the very best version available since I have not heard others recently, but I would imagine it would not be far off, and would be difficult to surpass. From the opening, bombastic 'Mars', the peaceful and serene 'Venus', the jollity of 'Jupiter' and the slow and solemn 'Saturn' it is a musical experience. I recall years ago hearing Stokowski's version of 'The Planets' recorded in Los Angeles. Stokowski introduced a "Hollywood" style version which had little to do with Holst's score, Stokowski adding instruments and even what sounded like a chorus at the end of 'Saturn'!! The mind boggles at this absurd tinkering of this popular music. Thankfully, Boult plays the music as it should sound. A wonderful interpretation by Boult, one to treasure.
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on 19 December 2014
This is a lovely recording of 2 important sets of classical music.
Firstly the Planets Suite by Holst sounds great and is full of the musical bombast and energy that you would expect from these pieces. For those not regular listeners to classical music i think you will be surprised how many of these pieces you recognise.
The Elgar 'Enigma' variations are also splendidly performed and recorded, with number 9 'Nimrod' being the most famous because of its association with rememberance day in this country.
I think that this is a perfect starter disc for people who are interested in getting into classical music, as the pieces are accessable and high quality.
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on 8 May 2013
Great piece, well restored, worth the money.
Probably the best recording of the work available.
The Planet Suite (in my opinion) is one of the best pieces of music ever written and is well interpreted by Sir Adrian Boult.
Elgars Enigma Variations is an added bonus and the clarity is fab.
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on 27 July 2011
I had this when it first was issued on vinyl all those years ago and needed to up date to cd.I tried a couple of other versions but keep coming back to this which ,for me (who dosnt know much about classical music)is the definative one for both the Planets and Enigma recordings.Excellent.
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on 7 April 2014
This cd istotally unplayable on various players. Jumps and sticks. I will endeavour to return it for a refund or replacement.
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on 3 April 2010
The London Philharmonic excel themselves in this production. When you have this, make time to listen to it all the way through and enjoy the experience.
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on 24 June 2014
There is something very off with the sound recording here - you can hardly hear the quieter parts, so you turn it up a bit, and then the piece gets to louder parts and deafens you. There is no happy medium - it is either practially inaudible or far too loud. I'm not happy to hover over the CD player constantly adjusting the volume while listening to a piece of music, and thus this never gets listened to.
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on 10 January 2013
Beautiful recording & performance, previous reviewers state everything I feel as I listen to this wonderful recording. If you are familiar with Holst: The Planets then this is the recording you must have for your library.
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