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Holst: The Planets/Boult

David Hurwitz

Artistic Quality:

Sound Quality:

This is the last of Adrian Boult’s umpteen recordings of The Planets, and while it isn’t the most disciplined (“Mars” in particular is not always together), it’s certainly the best recorded and a very powerful interpretation. Perhaps the most noteworthy feature is the extremely fast tempo for “Neptune”–a couple of minutes shorter than Boult’s previous go-round, and it works wonderfully. In fact, the swift tempos in evidence generally (“Mercury” really flies) demonstrate conclusively that not all conductors slow down as they age, and also show that Boult remained in full control of his faculties until the very end. This highly regarded performance of the “Enigma” Variations also holds up well, a touch stodgy perhaps in the finale, but with an eloquently flowing “Nimrod” and a beautifully wistful “Romanza”. Nor does Boult miss the bluff humor of “G.R.S.” The vintage EMI recordings have been well restored, but the differences between this and previous issues are not huge. [5/14/2002]

Recording Details:

Reference Recording: This Coupling: This One, Karajan/Monteux (Decca)

GUSTAV HOLST - The Planets
EDWARD ELGAR - Enigma Variations

  • Record Label: EMI - 5 67749 2
  • Medium: CD

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