Holst: The Planets; Asteroids

Holst: The Planets; Asteroids

by Simon Rattle
     
 

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If there's any classical music that needs no introduction, it's Gustav Holst's The Planets; not only is it among the most-played of 20th-century orchestral works, but generations of film composers have pilfered from it so liberally that it will sound familiar even if you're hearing it for the first time. So it was a refreshing recent development when BritishSee more details below

Overview

If there's any classical music that needs no introduction, it's Gustav Holst's The Planets; not only is it among the most-played of 20th-century orchestral works, but generations of film composers have pilfered from it so liberally that it will sound familiar even if you're hearing it for the first time. So it was a refreshing recent development when British composer Colin Matthews was commissioned to add a new final movement to the suite -- "Pluto, the Renewer," in honor of the heavenly body first sighted in 1930, several years after the original was premiered -- allowing us to hear Holst's music from a fresh perspective. "Pluto" has already been recorded several times, but this release is the highest-profile to date, with Sir Simon Rattle and the Berlin Philharmonic thoroughly capturing the magic and the mystery of Holst's and Matthews's planetary portraits. Of course, Rattle's recording also arrives almost simultaneously with the news that astronomers no longer consider Pluto to be a planet! Regardless, Matthews's contribution still makes an effective alternate conclusion to the work, dovetailing with the fading end of Holst's "Neptune" and echoing several of the suite's other movements as torrential solar windstorms build and recede. Yet even more intriguing is the music included on a bonus disc, supplementing The Planets with a set of newly commissioned "Asteroids" by four different composers who share an exploration of unusual sonic textures that lend themselves to the otherworldly project. Any new work by the inventive Kaija Saariaho is a noteworthy event, and her eerily shimmering "Asteroid 4179: Toutatis" is no exception, while parts of Matthias Pintscher's "towards Osiris" are nearly as mercurial as Holst's own "Mercury." Marc-Anthony Turnage's somewhat Stravinskian "Ceres" has an apocalyptic edge, acknowledging an asteroid's potential to wreak havoc by colliding with Earth. Finally, the uneasy "Komarov's Fall," by Brett Dean, memorializes not only an asteroid but also the ill-fated cosmonaut for whom it was named. With all of these astronomical extras -- not to mention an informative video feature on the second disc -- Rattle's new Planets are light-years ahead of the competition.

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Editorial Reviews

New York Times - Steve Smith
Rattle makes the most persuasive case to date for the icy abstraction of Mr. Matthews’s "Pluto."
Gramophone - Edward Greenfield
Next to this spectacular new account [Rattle's earlier Planets] rather pales away. That 1982 recording cannot compare with the blazing brilliance, warmth and weight of the new one, which fully brings out the glory of the Berlin sound.
Dallas Morning News - Lawson Taitte
[Grade: A-] Holst's astronomically popular suite is a perfect vehicle for the Berlin orchestra's stellar brilliance.

Product Details

Release Date:
09/12/2006
Label:
Warner Classics
UPC:
0094636969022
catalogNumber:
69690
Rank:
10234

Tracks

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Album Credits

Performance Credits

Simon Rattle   Primary Artist,Conductor
Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra   Performing Ensemble
Simon Halsey   Choir Conductor
Berlin Radio Symphony Chorus   Choir, Chorus
Robin Gritton   Choir Master

Technical Credits

Stephen Johns   Producer
Simon Rattle   Liner Notes
Mark-Anthony Turnage   Liner Note Translation
Kaija Saariaho   Liner Notes
Richard Evidon   Liner Note Translation
Sue Baxter   Liner Note Translation
Mike Clements   Engineer
Matthias Pintscher   Liner Notes
Stefanie Wördemann   Liner Notes
Paul Mitchell   Art Direction
Brett Dean   Liner Notes

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