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Reviews: Gustav Holst: The Planets, John Williams: Star Wars Suite

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Reviews: 2

Review by mwgfrg November 7, 2012 (13 of 14 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
Some time ago, while commenting on the Japanese SACD issue of the Rattle/Berlin Philharmonic Planets, I mentioned the possibility of an SACD reissue of Mehta's famous late analog Decca recording, a TAS and audiophile favorite of the late '70s. Well, here it is, and it still sounds as sumptuous and as well played as ever. It is a broad, sweeping and quite idiomatic recording (not, perhaps, quite as much as are the Boult recordings, or even the Andrew Davis, but better than most), with beautiful string playing and thunderous brass. In a direct comparison, it approaches without quite matching the Decca original LP or Japanese and German audiophile LP reissues I subsequently acquired; there seems to be a bit less bass and hall sound, and the upper strings are not as beautifully projected as on the LPs. Certainly this SHM-SACD transfer is clearly superior to the Western and Japanese RBCDs of this performance I have owned. At least to me it is solidly competitive with the much later Grainger and Andrew Davis digital versions. Unquestionably expensive, the same clumsy and oversized cardboard packaging all these Japanese Universal SHM-SACDs have, and a filler I could probably do without, an SACD transfer of the Star Wars music which is certainly enjoyable but does sound a bit threadbare and second-rate in this company--but with all of that, yet another memorable SACD Planets.

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Review by analogue November 27, 2015 (6 of 6 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
Like many sick in the head lovers of classical music this is actually the third different Shm Sacd of Holst that I bought. I have already reviewed the Ozawa sacd which is awesome and I also liked the Karajan Shm Sacd version as well but slightly less. I was very curious about this Mehta recording and performance as it did have a fan base connected to it.

I am very happy that I have this disc in my collection as it is indeed a very good version to experience. It also includes Mehta's take on john Williams Star Wars suite. Not the entire piece mind you.....about 5 tracks or so.

I think it would be futile to try and comment in detail any differenced between this Holst performance and the others I have heard and own. True to the fact that every composers has their own taste and reads the notes should not surprise anyone that there are little differences here and there. If a person owned one version of any classical piece and was only familiar with that discs sound..........they would be in shock how another version compares. Suffice it to say that Mehta, being his own independent human being with his own taste and mind.........there will be little tonal variations and tempo differences between this recording and other versions. I t is inevitable.

With regards to sound too one might quibble if they own one or two versions. The stereo system set up might also prevent one from experiencing this version to its fullest potential. Many variables to consider.

On my stereo system this version of Holst is not only striking but gives ones speakers a real work out. The volume must be played loudly but there is also a risk of potential damage as Mehta is not shy in the least and his performance is very potent at times. He clearly has his own opinion as to how to read the notes and perform each piece. This sacd is vivid and powerful when the music calls for it to be, with dynamic low end pulses and full volume brass that jut out of the soundstage in the best ways.

I call this type of recording full bodied and excellent version to own and should be in everyone's collection.
Yes......I know........where does one stop this madness??? What is ones great version will make for another to simply yawn. Ones immense soundstage is another's tepid front wend attack.

With regards to the Star wars tracks I like them. Others will only like the original Williams version and be prejudiced to anything but said original tape performances from 1977. This being that Williams is still alive and that his work is already on tape EXACTLY as to how it should sound. Its not as if he had died hundreds of years ago before recording technology and we only have his notes to consider. While I love soundtrack music I am also easy to please and accept this version .the sound is good on this release.

Highly recommended. A great Holst sacd to own.

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