- Audio CD (May 1 1987)
- Number of Discs: 1
- Label: Universal Music Canada
- ASIN: B0000041S7
- Average Customer Review: 16 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #13,796 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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Charles Dutoit often sounds better on disc than he does live. The reason for this is simple: he loves to play to the audience, and the result is all kinds of wild gesticulating that the orchestra knows perfectly well to ignore. Sometimes they ignore him completely, to the peril of the performance at hand. In the studio, however, there is no audience and the conductor is free to focus on the music. Dutoit has a real affection for The Planets and his performance is vital, insightful, and recorded in resplendent digital sound. The Montreal Symphony has a particularly powerful trombone section, which adds just that extra drop of energy to "Mars,"Jupiter," and "Saturn." A fine disc. --David Hurwitz
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The recording is clear and crisp, I loved the variation from slow to bombastic!
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.
But the reading of the work is what makes this shine. Dutoit and the OSM have a few of my favorite recordings, such as this one and the Stravinsky Firebird (both available in a wonderful boxed set of CDs from Dutoit and the OSM if you're looking for a great buy!), and while I'm not as fond of some of the romantics, I do love what he does with Debussy and Ravel. But this is the best recording Dutoit and the OSM have released. It stands clearly above most of the other recordings in my collection, and is the reference against which all Planets will be judged.
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