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This version of the Planets is simply outstanding!! And sounds better than some versions recorded much later...the LA Philharmonic plays superbly for Stokowski.
Perfect in all ways!!!
Stokowski was quite the maverick, and perhaps a few times too often, gilded the lily with his interpretations. In 1940, and already incredibly famous, he was invited to conduct the Disney animation Fantasia, which included highlights of Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker. In adulthood, I sought out a Stokowski "account" of the Nutcracker, though not the film version, just an independent recording. It was hugely exaggerated - which, though dubiously suiting the film well - did no favours at all for Tchaikovsky, & those recordings have since graced my recycling bin in lieu of more sincere performances by other conductors. Not sure if it's Pyotr Ilyich's music that causes Stokowski a twitchy baton arm, plus an absence of musical reason, because his account of the 4th Symphony a year after Disney's Fantasia, is certainly a wild roller-coaster ride, albeit with a clown in the back seat. Sometimes Stokowski could be extremely wilful, where one ends up hearing more of him, and less of the actual composer. The finale of said 1941 reading has more than a dozen tempo changes, accelerations, decelerations, and cuts, none of which are marked in the score, resulting in just silly, maniacal nonsense, all at the expense of dear Pyotr Ilyich! However, having copious "other" recordings of Stokowski in my music library, it's fair to say not everything by him is off the planet!, exampled by this fabulous, colourful and rich performance of Holst. The Los Angeles Symphony, though not quite the NBC, nevertheless plays with full-blooded fervour, and the remastering of this recording allows some glorious details and inner instrumentation to shine through. Stokowski would not have been my first port of call for a recording of this work, but I have not for a single moment regretted it, and if you're a Stokowskian (and why not!), and you love this work, I can hugely recommend it.
I bought the LP many years ago as a CFP release by EMI sometime in the late 1960's as a recommended recording. It now has a few crackles. This tape transfer is much better - warmer and clearer with a little perseverance although over ten times the price of the LP!. No telling if it was a copy from a tape or the original, but good to listed without pops.
This is the interpretation of The Planets I was introduced to as a young child. For me, no other interpretation sounds right. The joy for me personally here is the attention to sound quality HDTT have achieved, so now I can here this recording at its best. Thank you so much HDTT for making a dream come true. Mark Maxwell Liverpool, UK
Title: Gustav Holst The Planets
Artist(s): Leopold Stokowski - Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra
And Women's Voices Of The Roger Wagner Chorale
Recording Info: Transferred from a 15ips 2-track tape
Recorded by Capital Records 1958
1 Mars, The Bringer Of War 6:33
2 Venus, The Bringer Of Peace 8:01
3 Mercury, The Winged Messenger 4:00
4 Jupiter, The Bringer Of Jollity 7:35
5 Saturn, The Bringer Of Old Age 7:50
6 Uranus, The Magician 5:45
7 Neptune, The Mystic 6:30
Total Time: 46:14