Notes and Editorial Reviews
Naxos has very intelligently included the spoken superscriptions for each movement of the "Antartica" at the end of the disc, so those who want them (a minority, to be sure) can program them in. Kees Bakels and his Bournemouth forces lead excellent performances of both works, and it's particularly gratifying to be able to report that both the conductor and the recording engineers seems to have taken pains to ensure that the special percussion effects in both symphonies are well caught. Of course, the music itself is splendid. The Sinfonia antartica (a.k.a. the film score to Scott of the Antarctic) takes up where Holst's Planets left off, and fans of that work will love this icy-sounding sequel. The Eighth Symphony, with its fabulous finale employing "all the 'phones and 'spiels known to the composer," deserves to be much more popular than it is. That last movement is a humdinger! So while you're waiting to hear these two masterworks of the composer's old age in a live concert, why not shell out a few bucks and enjoy them at home?
--David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com