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CD Review

The Planets

Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra/Paavo Järvi
Telarc CD-80743 65m DDD
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Telarc has a habit of producing extremely fine recordings of trademark British works and this brand new CD from Järvi and the Cincinnati Orchestra is no exception.

Gustav Holst's "The Planets" remains probably his most popular work and here it receives the full orchestral treatment with an aggressive and direct "Mars the Bringer of War" setting off proceedings. "Venus" and "Mercury" are suitably ethereal whilst the boisterous "Jupiter" with its famous central theme sounds quite enthralling with the full orchestra in tow.

My favourite "planets" are the final ones where there is much time for reflection and sheer ethereal beauty. "Uranus" is as ungainly and unpredictable as one would expect whilst "Saturn" and "Neptune" are full of mystery. Järvi's version compares very well with the plethora of versions out there although I still retain Boult's classic 1942 wartime recording as my favourite alongside John Eliot Gardiner on DG (coupled with Grainger's astonishing "The Warriors").

Järvi also turns out quite a good version of Britten's "Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra" with its unabashed Purcellian rhythms and its kaleidoscope of colours. I haven't seen the notes or cover art for this CD as Telarc kindly sent an advance copy but on the sonic evidence alone, I was really enthused by the offerings here and am keen to hear more British stuff from this Ohio-based team.

Copyright © 2009, Gerald Fenech