This Eloquence release contains about half of the program featured on the Mehta/Los Angeles Philharmonic "Double Decca" discs issued about two years ago. That set included the remainder of the Star Wars suite, as well as Richard Strauss' Also Sprach Zarathustra, in keeping with the collection's "outer space" theme (although aside from its cinematic use, the Strauss work has little if anything to do with outer space--unless you think Nietzsche was an alien). The selection at hand includes Mehta's exceptionally well done Planets, wherein he leads a bracing and ferocious rendition of Mars, with the Los Angeles brass (especially the prominent tuba) blazing like so many war cannons.Read more In Venus, Mehta coaxes warm, sweet sounds from the high strings in the more ethereal passages. The same can be said for Neptune, with the angelic tones of the Los Angeles Master Chorale perfectly balanced in the aural picture. The end of Uranus features an arresting organ pedal tone, not as floor-rattling as Dutoit's on his Montreal/Decca recording, but impressive nonetheless. Decca's engineers make excellent use of the (unidentified) hall, giving the end of Saturn a room-filling impact.
The brief suite from John Williams' score for Close Encounters of the Third Kind cuts from the opening "neutron" chord to the arrival of the mothership at the film's end. This modernist-style music is right up Mehta's alley, and he jumps at the chance to show off this "difficult" yet popular fare. (A fuller version is available from Charles Gerhardt and the National Philharmonic on RCA.) The Los Angeles Philharmonic pulls out the stops for Williams' grand Star Wars main title, giving it a more Hollywood sound than its London counterpart did on the original soundtrack. It's enough of a tempting tidbit to make you hunger for the entire suite, in which case you should go for the Double Decca instead. [5/21/2001]
--Victor Carr Jr., ClassicsToday.com Read less
Works on This Recording
The Planets, Op. 32/H 125by Gustav Holst Conductor:
Los Angeles Master Chorale Women,
Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century Written: 1914-1916; England Length: 49 Minutes 43 Secs.
The $8- Tour of The Planets February 10, 2017By owen ryan (lakewood, CA)See All My Reviews"This was a sonic block-buster when it came out on LP. It still sounds pretty spectacular. Has a tuba ever sounded so sinister as it does here in Mars? The cymbals can shake the silver fillings out of your dental work. Do not play Mars with small children present as they may become frightened and have nightmares. This is an over-the-top-recording. Of course, the L.A. Phil. and Metha give a tremendously exciting performance. You can pay more but not get more. The Williams is superflous icing on the cake. Recommended."Report Abuse