on December 18, 2003
This is probably my alltime favorite orchestral work, and my most overplayed CD. The Orchestre Symphonique de Montreal does a superb job of interpreting Holst's most famous work.
Mars, for example, with its wide dynamic range, beginning with a very low pianissimo and hitting its climax later (as this movement should), is captured with all the tension and intensity worthy of "The Bringer of War." I played this CD at work one time, and one of my passing co-workers quipped, "boy, this sounds like Star Wars." I don't think he was aware of how appropriate of a description it was!
I also need to mention the segue between Tracks 6 and 7, the transition between Uranus and Neptune. The change is barely perceptible. Uranus ends very quietly, and Neptune begins equally so -- almost to the point where I can't tell one from the other. I have to respect an ensemble that can make this transition in this manner.
Overall, this is a very enjoyable album. If you've never heard this work before, I'd tell you to begin here.