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Reviews: Holst: Orchestral Works Vol. 2 - Andrew Davis

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Reviews: 7

Site review by Castor January 28, 2011
Performance:   Sonics:  
The text for this review has been moved to the new site. You can read it here:

http://www.HRAudio.net/showmusic.php?title=6959#reviews

Review by Jonalogic February 6, 2011 (11 of 15 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:  
Spot-on, the SACD recording of the Planets we have been waiting for. I won't be parting with my beloved MoFi of the Susskind recording, but this one, too, is extraordinary - and at a tenth the price of that rarity.

One thing I should say immediately. This is one of those recordings that HAS to be played damn loud. I raised my preamp volume by 6 dB (OK, two notches, guys...). then the sound snapped into place - and so did the performance.

You are then rewarded by palpably state-of-the-art DSD sound, smooth, airy, transparent, timbrally accurate, well-staged and with fearsome dynamic range. This Chandos is not like the older, more-distanced breed that you expect from this label; but it definitely rocks. I really can't find much to criticise about the sound - unusual for me.

On first hearing, I thought the performance was good but not great - four stars. When I upped the volume, however, the extra all-round impact made it much more like 4.5. For including fine readings of the neglected Beni-Mora and Japanese suites, however, I am inclined to go the whole hog and plump for five stars.

So, outstanding AND cheap. Seriously, what more do you want?

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Review by RWetmore March 12, 2011 (3 of 8 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:  
I agree with the other reviewers that this is an excellent performance and interpretation of the Planets. No gimmicks. Davis has always been underrated, IMO. I particularly like the more yielding tempo in Jupiter, as I feel most conductors rush through it. I'm only listening in stereo and the sound is excellent with full dynamic range, but I feel the softer passages are a little too soft and as a result lose some lifelike air and nuances. Very well recorded though.

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Review by analogue May 6, 2011 (9 of 14 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:  
Hmmmmmm. First Channel Classics found ways to make their recordings sound better and now it seems that Chandos has achieved the same thing.

I noticed this difference with the most recent Wagner sacd Chandos released. It was fantastic to say the least. And now with the second in the series of Holst...it shines very well.

I will not go into a very detailed description of the various pieces of music on this album. I will only say that most of us are familiar with Holst through his planet compositions. This sacd features other suites of music that should definitely be given a chance as they are excellent. From start to finish.........whether you know the individual pieces or not.....this disc is a great listen.

As for the Planets suite...in my opinion it sounds better than the Mobile Fidelity sacd that is rather costly now a days. The performance may or may not be the same given your preference but not the sound quality. I find this particular dsd recording better than the analogue tape transfer from Mofi.

As there is no compression with this sacd volume must be turned up rather loud. But be forewarned........the sound can be a little explosive so be judicious in your volume setting. After a listen or two you will get the volume set correctly.
Perhaps headphone listening might be your choice if the volume thing concerns you.

The sound on this disc is warmer than one usually hears on a Chandos disc.

The recording of this album is where it shines however. Much improved. There are textures, soundstage and a very solid mid-range.

Congrats to Chandos for caring.

Highly recommended.

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Review by TheProf August 22, 2011 (3 of 6 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:    
The other reviews say it all. Incredible recording, superb multichannel dynamics, natural, accurate, in short almost perfect. One slight moan - but I am nit picking here, is the organ bass in 'Saturn' is good but not quite as wonderful as the old Montreal recording by Charles Dutoit - but when I listen to that it sounds awfully 'digital' if you know what I mean. This is a must have - and good value as well.

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Review by jeffreybehr February 28, 2012 (6 of 7 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:  
For decades, Boult's 1978 recording with the LPO has been my favorite of this work, but it now has serious competition, sound- and performance-wise.

The sound is EXCELLENT--wide ranging, dynamic, not too close*. One minor quibble--the bassdrum is loud but quite indeterminate of pitch, to the point that one could almost not recognise it as a bassdrum. (For excellence in bassdrum recording, listen to the above-mentioned Boult 'Planets'.) Orchestral playing is excellent.

Davis's performance is very much like Boult's, at least in Uranus, probably my favirite movement. Mercury and Jupiter are slower than Boult's; I LOVE the former and will learn to love the latter. Overall very good; I expect this will become my most-listened-to 'Planets'...of MANY.

If you love 'The Planets', buy this one.

* I was reminded recently of DG's horrible orchestral recordings when playing Abbado's Beethoven-symphony DVD-As. The 3rd started out sounding OK, but I soon realized that there was NO sound of the hall, and then I heard that high-frequency harshness that DG is infamous for--YUK! Only the 5th fairly spacious and somewhat listenable, but I gave all 3 discs to my buddy. BTW, all were recorded in the Philharmonie, and I'm becoming convinced that halls with audience seating behind the orchestra don't have much sound of their own...the sound of the hall sort of disappears. Witness Ondine's multichannel recordings of the Philadelphia in Verizon Hall.

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Review by Luukas February 4, 2014 (2 of 5 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:    
This Chandos' SACD release is second volume of Holst's orchestral works series. I heard many recordings of Holst's "The Planets" (Vladimir Jurowski (LPO), Sir Colin Davis (LSO), Sir Simon Rattle (Emi Classics, now Warner) and this SACD is very good. Andrew Davis' earlier recording with BBC Symphony Orchestra (Apex) was stunning (BBC Radio give 'Budget Choice' award), but this is much better. Chandos label's sound quality is stunning (specially in Jupiter and Uranus) and Neptunus movement's end is very effective. This is only good SACD release of this work. Spectacular!

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