This really is one of the best "Planets" I've ever heard, if not THE best. The transition from the cruel, marching onslought of Mars, to the lush, welcoming orchestral sweetness and warmth of Venus is the most touching bridge you can hear placed between such opposing musical ideas. And the other movements continue to bring the listener further and further inward. The music really is astounding. The only thing that I really don't understand here is why Steinberg chose to be so sloppy with his Mars tempos. In fact, Mars is the only section here that really bothers me. It doesn't pack the usual emotional weight, because you don't get the subtle undertones of fear and dread in the build-up. In fact, there are moments when the orchestra sounds completely arrhythmic, like they themselves don't know where they should be at the moment. I don't understand those reviewers who say that a faster Mars makes for a more exciting Mars. I couldn't disagree more, but that's just my opinion. Still, it's a wonderful piece of music, and a great recording despite its flaws. Jupiter (my personal favorite movement of the piece) truly is played with jollity. I almost imagine a drunken, giddy banquet, interspersed with brief moments of solemnity and brotherhood. Saturn truly creaks and wheezes with the rheumatism and meandering sentiment of old age. Uranus sizzles with magical meanness and mischief, and Neptune sparkles with mysterious promise, beckoning us from the depths of the unknown. Plus, a wonderful placement of Richard Strauss' "Thus Spake Zarathustra" rounds out the package, making this disc choc-full of content at over seventy-five minutes long! How much more star-gazing could you ask for? The Planets were truly in allignment when Steinberg recorded this one.