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Holst: The Planets, Perfect Fool, Moorside Suite / Herrmann, Boult, Howard, Fennell

Holst / Hermann / London Phil Orch
Release Date: 01/25/2011 
Label:  Eloquence   Catalog #: 4802323   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Gustav Holst
Performer:  Julia BogoradKathryn Greenbank
Conductor:  Bernard HerrmannSir Adrian BoultChristopher HogwoodFrederick Fennell,   ... 
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic OrchestraSt. Paul Chamber OrchestraEastman Wind Ensemble,   ... 
Number of Discs: 2 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

HOLST The Planets.1 The Perfect Fool: Ballet Music2. Egdon Heath.2 A Moorside Suite3. Suites (2) for Military Band4. St. Paul’s Suite.5 A Fugal Concerto6 • 1Bernard Herrmann, 2Adrian Boult, 3Elgar Howarth, 4Frederick Fennell, 5,6Christopher Hogwood, cond; 6Julia Bogorad (fl); 6Kathryn Greenbank (ob); 1,2London PO; 3Grimethorpe Colliery Band; 4Eastman Wind Ens; 5,6Saint Paul CO • DECCA ELOQUENCE 480 2323 (2 CDs: 135:48)

"[T]he second disc features several of the greatest Holst recordings ever made. The ballet music from The Perfect Fool , a work of Holst’s full (i.e., post- Planets ) maturity, is a brilliant and Read more scintillating orchestral showpiece; the late work Egdon Heath , an evocation of the bleak setting of Hardy’s The Return of the Native , inhabits a completely different musical world but still makes a telling effect. Sir Adrian Boult, a lifelong friend and advocate of the composer (he premiered The Planets in 1918), recorded these in 1961, and the original LP, also featuring the choral masterpiece The Hymn of Jesus (reviewed elsewhere, probably in this issue), was one of the glories of the early-stereo audiophile era; the recordings sound every bit as impressive in Decca-Eloquence’s digital remastering.


Modern musicians and listeners often fail to realize how groundbreaking the two suites for military band (the forerunner of today’s symphonic band or wind ensemble) really were. Composed just over 100 years ago, they were among the earliest original compositions for the medium, which to that point had made do mostly with transcriptions of orchestral chestnuts. They are also simply flat-out terrific music, and no recording has yet matched the verve and impact of Frederick Fennell’s 1955 versions, wisely presented here in their original vivid mono sound. The title of the original Mercury LP, British Band Classics , is for once not hyperbole; these are classic accounts of classic scores.


The Moorside Suite for brass band is tuneful if surprisingly serious; at its heart is a nocturne of great eloquence. The wonderfully British-named Grimethorpe Colliery Band features some truly funky cornet and euphonium playing, but offers an enthusiastic and satisfying account nonetheless.

olst must be one of the most misunderstood composers of the 20th century; determined not to repeat himself, he never again wrote anything remotely like The Planets , the work on which his reputation and popularity are predominantly based. Many of his finest works, in fact, are vocal. But the selection of orchestral and band works offered here provides an ideal entrée into the world of Holst “beyond The Planets .” At Eloquence’s budget price, you can afford to buy this set just to listen to the second CD; if you’re the least bit curious about the music of this true original, or if you don’t already have the never-bettered Boult and Fennell items, you can’t afford not to."


FANFARE: Richard A. Kaplan
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Works on This Recording

1.
The Planets, Op. 32/H 125 by Gustav Holst
Conductor:  Bernard Herrmann
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1914-1916; England 
2.
The Perfect Fool, Op. 39/H 150: Ballet Music by Gustav Holst
Conductor:  Sir Adrian Boult
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1918-1922; England 
3.
Egdon Heath, Op. 47/H 172 by Gustav Holst
Conductor:  Sir Adrian Boult
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1927; England 
4.
A Fugal Concerto for Flute, Oboe and Strings, Op. 40 no 2/H 152 by Gustav Holst
Performer:  Julia Bogorad (Flute), Kathryn Greenbank (Oboe)
Conductor:  Christopher Hogwood
Orchestra/Ensemble:  St. Paul Chamber Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1923; England 
5.
Suite for Military Band no 2 in F major, Op. 28 no 2 by Gustav Holst
Conductor:  Frederick Fennell
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Eastman Wind Ensemble
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1911; England 
6.
Suite for Military Band no 1 in E flat major, Op. 28 no 1 by Gustav Holst
Conductor:  Frederick Fennell
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Eastman Wind Ensemble
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1909; England 
7.
A Moorside Suite, H 173 by Gustav Holst
Conductor:  Elgar Howarth
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Grimethorpe Colliery Band
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1928; England 
8.
St. Paul's Suite for Strings, Op. 29 no 2/H 118 by Gustav Holst
Conductor:  Christopher Hogwood
Orchestra/Ensemble:  St. Paul Chamber Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1912-1913; England 

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