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Holst: The Planets, Matthews: Pluto / Elder, Halle Orchestra


Release Date: 10/14/2008 
Label:  Helios   Catalog #: 55350   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Gustav HolstColin Matthews
Performer:  Timothy PooleyTim Pooley
Conductor:  Mark Elder
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Hallé OrchestraHallé Orchestra Chorus
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 15 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

A strong feel for the individual characters of the movements.

The Planets always has a curious effect on me. My first reaction is to groan, ever so slightly, as a result of the Classic FM-style popularity of the work. This popularity is in itself is no bad thing, but the work has become something of an overused cliché, in my mind at least. However, every single time I listen to the work - or indeed play it - I cannot fail to marvel at Holst’s undeniable genius. On many levels, the work owes its popularity to its sheer brilliance, and that is not something to be sniffed at in a ridiculous pseudo-intellectual “let’s keep classical music for the elite” type of argument. Classical music can, with enough of an open
Read more mind, appeal in some way to every single member of the human race. After all, it shares a common language – that of emotion. Well-written works such as this deserve to be heard by all, not just those of us with music degrees. It is to be celebrated that Holst created a masterwork with such widespread appeal.

Here, Mars is taken at a moderate tempo, giving a good balance between, drama, clarity and restraint. Venus is delicate and magically ethereal, while Mercury’s cheerful character comes across with ease. Jupiter is bright and sparkling, with the famous ‘I vow to thee my country’ section possessing a certain luminescence and lightness which is particularly appealing. Saturn is rich and dark, with the addition of exotic instruments such as the alto flute - notated as ‘bass flute in G’ in the score. This rendition is heavy and tired, and yet hope is retained. Uranus is powerfully rhythmical and eccentric, while Neptune ends the work with peaceful contemplation. This is an excellent recording which possesses a strong feel for the individual characters of the movements and looks upon the work with somewhat fresh eyes. Elder’s sound is rich and warm and remarkably clear. The choir is beautifully haunting, Holst’s magical orchestration performed here par excellence.

Colin Matthews’ Pluto, first performed in 2000, begins out of the last notes of Neptune, and maintains the character of Holst’s language. It’s a lively scherzo with the underlying dark sounds of Holst resonating under the brightness of the flighty high woodwind and brass flourishes. Matthews has created an interesting addition to Holst’s work, which both complements it and uses it as a starting point for new ideas.

Holst’s Lyric Movement for viola and small orchestra was composed for Lionel Tertis in 1933. This one movement work is performed here with conviction and a rhapsodic sense of changing emotions. Timothy Pooley plays with a warm, rich sound which leads us into the world of Holst’s writing with ease.

-- Carla Rees, MusicWeb International
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Works on This Recording

1.
Lyric Movement for Viola and String Orchestra, H 191 by Gustav Holst
Performer:  Timothy Pooley (Viola)
Conductor:  Mark Elder
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Hallé Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1933; England 
Length: 11 Minutes 59 Secs. 
2.
Pluto, the Renewer by Colin Matthews
Conductor:  Mark Elder
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Hallé Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: by 2000; England 
Length: 6 Minutes 24 Secs. 
3.
The Planets, Op. 32/H 125: Mars by Gustav Holst
Conductor:  Mark Elder
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Hallé Orchestra,  Hallé Orchestra Chorus
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1914-1916; England 
Length: 7 Minutes 46 Secs. 
4.
The Planets, Op. 32/H 125: Venus by Gustav Holst
Performer:  Tim Pooley (Viola)
Conductor:  Mark Elder
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Hallé Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1914-1916; England 
Length: 7 Minutes 26 Secs. 
5.
The Planets, Op. 32/H 125: Mercury by Gustav Holst
Conductor:  Mark Elder
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Hallé Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1914-1916; England 
Length: 4 Minutes 5 Secs. 
6.
The Planets, Op. 32/H 125: Jupiter by Gustav Holst
Conductor:  Mark Elder
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Hallé Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1914-1916; England 
Length: 7 Minutes 50 Secs. 
7.
The Planets, Op. 32/H 125: Saturn by Gustav Holst
Conductor:  Mark Elder
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Hallé Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1914-1916; England 
Length: 9 Minutes 40 Secs. 
8.
The Planets, Op. 32/H 125: Uranus by Gustav Holst
Conductor:  Mark Elder
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Hallé Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1914-1916; England 
Length: 6 Minutes 1 Secs. 
9.
The Planets, Op. 32/H 125: Neptune by Gustav Holst
Conductor:  Mark Elder
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Hallé Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1914-1916; England 
Length: 6 Minutes 58 Secs. 

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