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Holst: The Planets (FLAC)

Dutoit: Holst - The Planets, Op.32 (FLAC)
Dutoit: Holst – The Planets, Op.32 (FLAC)

Composer: Gustav Holst
Orchestra: Montréal Symphony Orchestra
Conductor: Charles Dutoit
Audio CD
Number of Discs: 1
Format: FLAC (tracks+cue)
Label: Decca
Size: 216 MB
Recovery: +3%
Scan: cover

01. Mars, the Bringer of War
02. Venus, the Bringer of Peace
03. Mercury, the Winged Messenger
04. Jupiter, the Bringer of Jollity
05. Saturn, the Bringer of Old Age
06. Uranus, the Magician
07. Neptune, the Mystic

The Planets align

Considering that I am a musician and lifelong audiophile with extremely eclectic taste and a library of over a thousand high quality recordings, I rarely write reviews. Dutoit’s recording of the Planets on Decca has been a favorite of mine for so long now that I’ve decided it is due time to publicly share my sentiments about this monumental recording.

There are many variables that affect the ultimate outcome of a musical recording. The quality of performance is not limited to that of the musicians and conductor, but that of the engineers and post production team as well. When the later fulfills their responsibilities in superlative fashion, you get a sense of how much artistry is involved on the technical side. And in the rare case that a watershed musical performance coincides with engineering brilliance, a truly landmark recording results. No other recording that I have heard surpasses Dutoit’s Planets in that regard.
With a capable audio system, this recording provides an experience that is simply sublime. The dynamic range is tremendous. If you cannot hear the quietest passages, this simply means that your volume knob needs to be adjusted. Mars, as recorded here, is and should be terrifying, and much of Saturn ethereal and dream like. The dynamic decisions are Holst’s, and Dutoit takes him at face value. Criticism of early CD releases surely did not apply to Decca, as no evidence of distortion is heard even in the triple forte brass sections. The overall balance is superb, and the low frequency content, all the way down to the 20Hz organ pedal tones, is the stuff of legend in audiophile circles. Conductorial decisions such as those involving tempi are in my opinion perfectly fitting for the music.

Turn off the lights, turn up the volume, and let Dutoit and Holst take you on a journey of galactic proportions.

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