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The Planets by Gustav Holst


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Yes, do not be like me and start out with a full dress reheasral of "Aida". It was free, though, with my connections, so I can guess I cannot complain too much.... Anyways, "Aida" gave me a bad introduction to Opera. Besides the ones Williamsfan301 mentioned, what other ones should I start with?

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Yes, do not be like me and start out with a full dress reheasral of "Aida". It was free, though, with my connections, so I can guess I cannot complain too much.... Anyways, "Aida" gave me a bad introduction to Opera. Besides the ones Williamsfan301 mentioned, what other ones should I start with?

By Aida, do you mean the Elton John Aida or the Verdi Aida?

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Now apart from that and the St Pauls Suite and a few church songs WHAT THE HELL ELSE DID HOLST WRITE? :D

First Suite in Eb!

And Second Suite (which I like better, having played both), and In the Bleak Mid-Winter

and "A Somerset Rhapsody" and "Brook Green Suite."

For me, Debussy is tops. I remember one time in a study hall, a couple of music students were yacking about classical composers, and when they asked who I was "into," I said Debussy. Man, they just about burned me to the ground with criticism of his music. So, in other words, I won't be surprised if everyone disagrees with me.

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Elton John wrote something called "Aida"? To Google.com, I go!

EDIT: Hm, I never knew there was a Broadway adaptation of "Aida"....

Yeah. Elton John and Tim Rice collaberated on it after they success they had with The Lion King. I heard it was pretty good. I know the lead female in the Chicago production of it was injured when one of the sets collapsed during a performance.

I never saw it, but the school I teach at is doing it for their Spring Musical, so, I'll report back on it after March.

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If you're going to introduce someone to opera, don't take them to see Wagner either. Start them off subtle, Marriage of Figaro or something along those lines.

Figaro is awesome and certainly a good start. I wouldn't recommend something like the Ring for starters, but depending on one's overall taste, Der fliegende Holländer can be a good introduction to opera - it certainly was for me.

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Yes, but this Thread also makes me curious to know: which recording is generally considered the best?

Many consider Dutoit the best, and it's damn good indeed. I also really like the Karajan recording a lot, more than I'd expected.

I have that one and it's by far my favorite. It's the most "romantic" I think of the recordings available.

Oh and you have not heard The Planets until you've heard the James Levine CSO version. As discussed here

Even Steef complimented classical music with that one. :lol: Seriously, get it, if nothing else then for Levine and the CSO's....breathtaking performance of Mars. The bringer of war has never sounded that heart-attack inducing.

The Levine is the definitive recording IMO, overall. All the other ones are either performed like ketchup or mixed in with that irritating back row concert acoustics that is...dreadful. And seeing as most of us here are soundtrack fans, Levine's is up there with the best of Bruce Botnick in terms of recording quality and mixing.

Agreed 100%

There are also several concert band recording of it that are quite good too.

Which recording is most sounding like John Williams? I mean the crisp Boston Pops sound. Is the Williams recording still available?

Mars is like Ride of the Valkyries: so overplayed by everyone and their brother that I really don't care listening to either piece of music anymore.

In that case listen again to Uranus: it has the grandeur of Mars and the versatility of Jupiter. I think it is easily the most overlooked one and at least as great as Mars and Jupiter.

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Which recording is most sounding like John Williams? I mean the crisp Boston Pops sound. Is the Williams recording still available?

You can find it on iTunes Music Store. I got it there recently.

Can I just buy the CD somewhere? I have no idea hwat iTunes is.

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Which recording is most sounding like John Williams? I mean the crisp Boston Pops sound. Is the Williams recording still available?

You can find it on iTunes Music Store. I got it there recently.

Can I just buy the CD somewhere? I have no idea hwat iTunes is.

uhhhhh

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iTunes is both a free program for playing music (and setting up iPods) and an online store where you can buy and download music. You can use it to play music without ever buying anything from them, but if you do decide to buy music from them, it comes in AAC format, which offers a better tradeoff between size and quality than mp3 files do, but it's certainly not lossless or anything. AAC files also have compatibility issues - for example, I can't edit one of iTunes' protected AAC files in Audacity without "cheating." However, the program iTunes certainly doesn't require you to use AAC format. I usually avoid buying music from their store, but I use the program daily for listening to and organizing my music, as well as syncing my iPod.

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Back in my early days of digital music, I had few reservations about buying from iTunes...E.T. is one soundtrack that comes to mind that I still only have in protected AAC format as a result. (Granted, I could do the whole burn-them-to-CD-and-then-import trick, but that doesn't get rid of the minor compression artifacts.) As time passed, I realized it was just better form to buy things in CD form for me personally, since I like editing music and I've got a minor case of audiophilia.

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Wasn't it rumored that Williams was approached to write Pluto?

I didn't know that, but it's likley, I think. However, the "official" Pluto movement was written in 2000 by British composer Colin Matthews.

Which was stupid, as Pluto is not a planet ...There is only few recordings of this "thing", a lot of conductors decline to include it in a concert or recording...

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Yay. another thread about one of my most fav pieces! :)

Which are you favorite 'planets' from The Planets Suite by Holst, and in which order?

Tough but:

1) Jupiter

2) Venus

3) Neptune

4) Saturn

5) Uranus

6) Mars

7) Mercury

Not to say I don't love Mars and Mercury, but Mars especially is so repetitive. And I have developed a much greater appreciation for the latter movements with time.

Jupiter is still my sentimental favorite because it was what I knew first of the piece, and the middle hymn section is just so incredibly noble and beautiful to me. It is such a great contrast to the rest of the movement too.

The Levine is the definitive recording IMO, overall. All the other ones are either performed like ketchup or mixed in with that irritating back row concert acoustics that is...dreadful. And seeing as most of us here are soundtrack fans, Levine's is up there with the best of Bruce Botnick in terms of recording quality and mixing.

Well, I collect this piece and have 48 different recordings of The Planets (not counting radio broadcasts :)) and I can definitely say, there is no definitive recording. There are so many good ones I couldn't possibly pick. <_<

I think the Dutoit/Montreal is close overall, but there are other recordings I like as much or more for their individuality. In fact, I could name like 10 right now that I consider must-hears for different reasons. :cool:

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That Fenton score still leaves me rather cold, which disappoints me since I love his two Blue Planet/Deep Blue scores.

Agreed mostly. There are a few good cues (which I don't even remember the names of) but they are rehashes of Blue Planet stuff, and as a whole it's nowhere near the sweeping beauty of Blue Planet/Deep Blue .

In fact, I could name like 10 right now that I consider must-hears for different reasons. <_<

Please do.

Marian, this turned out to be harder than I thought! But also more fun. :cool:

Some of the most interesting and individual takes on this piece I've found:

1) Mackerras/Royal Liverpool PO (Virgin)

If you like the Levine, I think you'd dig this one. Has that same irrevent humor and sparkle (and awesome brass.) Lots of fun all-round, and the two-fer comes with a rather good Carmina Burana.

2) Susskind/ St Louis SO (Mobile Fidelity/SACD)

I thank Neil for turning me on to this one. There is so much detail and the sound is extremely fine and natural. The interpretation and tempi choices are very individual too. Highly underrated.

3) Gardiner/ Philharmonia (DG/SACD)

This is my most often recommended one. The playing is just so clean, effortless, and graceful - it's mindboggling. Jupiter is extremely fast but wow, sooo perfect. The SACD sounds great too and is paired with Grainger's wildly cool piece The Warriors.

4) Norrington/Stuttgart Radio SO (Hanssler)

My newest! As with Gardiner and Susskind, again the detail is just superb, as well as the sound and playing. Norrington leaves no phrase unseen to, paying close attention to phrases, rhythmic accent, and style, really letting the music speak for itself. Venus is gorgeous and delicate, like the finest glass - true chamber music. Jupiter hymn brilliantly English and played rather drily and at a clip. Very highly recommended and now available on eMusic and other online stores.

5) Svetlanov/Philharmonia (Conifer)

I randomly got this on import as its hard to find and turned out to like it a lot. Also very graceful and beautifully played (LOL same orchestra as in the Gardiner and both recordings made near the same time.) I love the tempi choices, they're unique without seeming strange, and there is a nice depth and color to this performance in all mvmts.

6) Bernstein/NY Phil (Columbia)

This was my first one I ever got! Trademark Bernstein high romanticism and dash. I love especially his Jupiter hymn as its very emotional and drawn out, one of my big favs for that movement.

7) Mehta/New York Phil (Teldec)

A lot of his tempos are slower than you're used to hearing, which makes the music all that much more dramatic. His Saturn is extreme! He tests the limits, I love it.

8) Levine/Chicago SO (DG)

Whew, that trumpet vibrato in Jupiter is something to behold. This one is wild, really a trip. Character and bravado to the max. Fun!

9) Boult/London PO (EMI)

I feel this recording, perhaps out of all I have listened to, really tries to be the most faithful to the score's markings. Boult had input from Holst himself when he premiered the piece, so he is an authority. This was his last recording (of like 4 or 5!)

10) Karajan/Vienna Phil (DG)

Well, I'm not particularly fond of either of Karajan's recordings, but this one has some cool/strange gear shifts which make it quite interesting to listen to. It's also the only Vienna Phil recording so...yeah.

More Unusual Interesting Recordings:

- Boult/Vienna State Opera Orch (Westminster)

Though some of the playing isn't the most perfect, this is a surprisingly heart on the sleeve performance with shining moments, and very intimate in sound. If anything, it also shows how difficult this piece is!

- Holst/LSO (Naxos Historical)

The first recordings of the piece were actually made by the composer, and are pretty cool to listen to even if the sound is what you would expect for 1920s. His tempos are mostly really fast and give little time for the music to breathe though. I like the 1924 acoustic recording the best.

- Goodman/Queen's Hall Orch (Carlton)

This one is on period instruments. Everything has been recreated as closely as possible to the original performance conditions when Holst wrote the piece, the type of strings and ages of instruments, etc. Otherwise pretty staightforward.

- Herrmann/London Philharmonic (Phase 4 LP)

Herrmann had some interesting ideas about interpreting this one. Some worked and some didn't, but fun to listen to. The orchestra plays very well for him here though.

- Stokowski/Los Angeles Phil (EMI)

Good ole Stokie...an over the top performance with some of his "extras" thrown in for good measure. Quite fun!

Fav Idiomatic All-Rounders in Very Good Sound:

Dutoit/Montreal SO (Penguin)

Maazel/Orchestre de France (Sony)

Previn/London SO (EMI)

Slatkin/Philharmonia (BMG)

Want to Hear:

Davies/Bruckner Orchester Linz (Chesky/SACD)

Judd/Royal Philharmonic (Denon)

Litton/Dallas SO (Delos)

And I have a question:

I know there are several that have the Mehta/Los Angeles recording with the CE3K and Star Wars Suites. Is the sound on yours washy and far away?? I got it on the cheapo Decca Eloquence label so maybe that's why. If the sound is better on other releases I plan to replace it. (Anyone have the XRCD version?)

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That Fenton score still leaves me rather cold, which disappoints me since I love his two Blue Planet/Deep Blue scores.

Give it a few more listens, I'm sure you'll end up enjoying it a great deal. AS of now, I probably like it more than both Blue Planet or Deep Blue

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I play it every now and again and so far it hasn't changed. ROTFLMAO

Marian, this turned out to be harder than I thought! But also more fun. ;)

Thanks a lot, very interesting.

Some of the most interesting and individual takes on this piece I've found:

3) Gardiner/ Philharmonia (DG/SACD)

This is my most often recommended one. The playing is just so clean, effortless, and graceful - it's mindboggling. Jupiter is extremely fast but wow, sooo perfect.

I've wanted to hear this for a long time. I'll have to get it now. :P

10) Karajan/Vienna Phil (DG)

Well, I'm not particularly fond of either of Karajan's recordings, but this one has some cool/strange gear shifts which make it quite interesting to listen to. It's also the only Vienna Phil recording so...yeah.

There's a Vienna recording by him, too? I only know the Berlin version. When was this made?

Also, since you mention a Bolt/Vienna State Opera Orchestra version, the Vienna Philharmonic and the State Opera orchestra are *more or less* the same thing. I've never understood the exact relation, but from what I know, basically, to play in the Philharmonic, you have to play in the State Opera Orchestra for several years, and I believe you remain there. The important thing is that the players can send substitutes for the State Opera performances so they don't have to play there every night. Resulting in a watered-down VP which on a good day is brilliant and on an average day can sound like a bad student orchestra. I still remember my first live Rheingold, where the finale was really hard to take.

Davies/Bruckner Orchester Linz (Chesky/SACD)

I saw Davies conduct the piece with the RSO Vienna, which is Vienna's leading orchestra when it comes to modern concert works (with Davies, they've done several Glass premiere recordings, and they've also played a handful of excellent film music concerts - including the latest under Mauceri including a Robin Hood suite with the duel played at film speed and an Enterprise that probably tops Goldsmith's own LSO performance). I wasn't impressed by his Planets, though I don't recall much - I taped the concert from the radio, so I have a low-quality CD of it, but haven't listened to it in years. PM me if you want to hear snippets.

I know there are several that have the Mehta/Los Angeles recording with the CE3K and Star Wars Suites. Is the sound on yours washy and far away?? I got it on the cheapo Decca Eloquence label so maybe that's why. If the sound is better on other releases I plan to replace it. (Anyone have the XRCD version?)

I don't have this, but the Eloquence CDs I do have sound fine. I always assumed they just released the latest "original" version from the respective label's catalogue at budget price.

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Not very good piece of music.

"The Planets" as a whole? :) Was this scientific fact arrived at via Williamsfan's foolproof symmetry formula, perchance?

Couldn't have. There's tons of symmetry in the work.

He probably arrived at that conclusion via the Datamaster "I hate it, therefore it sucks" philosophy.

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He probably arrived at that conclusion via the Datamaster "I hate it, therefore it sucks" philosophy.

Okay, now I am really, really confused. Can I ask you a huge favor, Williamsfan301? Go to the page that lists all of my posts. Find the posts in which I've managed to accidentally espouse that sort of philosophy, and then PM me about them, and I will apologize profusely for them or explain how they've been grievously misinterpreted. What I hate is when people put forth their musical opinions as fact, and I'm pretty meticulous about living up to my own standard. My guess is that you are thinking of another poster, because that attitude you're describing is one that I have repeatedly fought against during my time here.

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Ride of the Valkyries is like Also sprach Zarathustra and Peer Gynt: Most people have never heard the real thing.
Now apart from that and the St Pauls Suite and a few church songs WHAT THE HELL ELSE DID HOLST WRITE? :lol:

A Choral Symphony and a Hymn of Jesus, neither of which ever made an impression on me.

It always blows me away that there isn't more out there though. After all, the man almost single-handedly invented cinematic "space" music as we think of it today. Williams and (especially) Goldsmith both unashamedly sound Holstian at times (and with good reason! They were quite right to do so.) The only other composer who I can think of who's influence on music has been as great, and yet his overall output be so very small is Paul Dukas (The Sorcerer's Apprentice), who's entire output can pretty much fit on a single CD.

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He probably arrived at that conclusion via the Datamaster "I hate it, therefore it sucks" philosophy.

Okay, now I am really, really confused. Can I ask you a huge favor, Williamsfan301? Go to the page that lists all of my posts. Find the posts in which I've managed to accidentally espouse that sort of philosophy, and then PM me about them, and I will apologize profusely for them or explain how they've been grievously misinterpreted. What I hate is when people put forth their musical opinions as fact, and I'm pretty meticulous about living up to my own standard. My guess is that you are thinking of another poster, because that attitude you're describing is one that I have repeatedly fought against during my time here.

Can I ask you a huge favor? Let it go!!! Jesus H. Christ....

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This is the problem with internet forums. People get so upset sometimes. If we were all sitting around a table in a pub somewhere having this conversation we'd probably catch each other's facial expressions and see that it's not really all that serious. AND we'd all have a tasty beer in front of us! :P

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This is the problem with internet forums. People get so upset sometimes. If we were all sitting around a table in a pub somewhere having this conversation we'd probably catch each other's facial expressions and see that it's not really all that serious. AND we'd all have a tasty beer in front of us! :P

Yeah, but with some of these people it would be a warm beer. ;)

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This is the problem with internet forums. People get so upset sometimes. If we were all sitting around a table in a pub somewhere having this conversation we'd probably catch each other's facial expressions and see that it's not really all that serious. AND we'd all have a tasty beer in front of us! :P

That and the fact that, as several members have so gleefully pointed, there are few consequences for rudeness online, particularly on a forum like this in which, well...anything goes.

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