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As Holst intended?
on 19 July 2007
This version of The Planets has replaced my recent LSO version.
Why? Well, the balance between the contributing elements is the best i've heard so far: The bass is thunderous analogue and the high woodwind/strings are like crystal in equal measure. This is a superb achievement and exceptionally important for, 'large orchestra' where Dynamics become a recording engineer's delight or problem depending on how good they are. And these people are the best: Abbey road have done a fantastic job on the remastering of a late 70's classic, although there is one thing they could never tackle: Is this as Holst intended?
Bolt was a friend of Holst and was given the opportunity to first conduct the piece; Bolt read and heard the original 'two piano' score and must have got the full S.P. from Holst? If this is so, then what we have here is close to the real deal?
OK, Bolt had five cracks at this recording before producing this last version, so we may have the advantage of decades of Bolt's polishing and highlighting the manifold textures one may hear in this genius of a masterpiece. It certainly sounds like it.
I was surprised to hear a faster 'Venus' than i think i have ever heard before, and 'Jupiter' is a bit nippy also. But i was also surprised at how quickly i accomodated these unexpected nuances and began to listen to the clarity of what was going on instead. I don't think i have ever before been able to hold so many themes and harmonies in one passing than i have experienced with this recording of The Planets because so much usualy becomes burried in the total wash. Not so here: the richness and variety of the score is available at all sonic levels.