Holst: The Planets

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3.0 out of 5 star rating 3.0

COMPOSERS: Holst
LABELS: Philips Solo
WORKS: The Planets
PERFORMER: Women’s Chorus of the Berlin Radio Chorus; Berlin PO/Colin Davis
CATALOGUE NO: 442 408-2 DDD (1989)
In a fiercely contested field, the excellence of the Philips engineering alone might have placed this 1989 traversal of Holst’s astronomical epic well ahead of its recent rivals. But despite his strengths, Colin Davis fails to infuse Mars with implacable horror almost as much as he misses the ethereal inner stasis of ‘Venus’. But with a sumptuously majestic ‘Jupiter’ and grimly inevitable ‘Saturn’, this is an affectionate, though under-characterised account of a severely oversubscribed work. Putting aside such concerns, the Berliners’ corporate virtuosity is enthralling, whilst sonics leave little to be desired. Michael Jameson

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