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Holst – The Planets

How this all came to pass is that, this weekend, I’ve done some major rearranging of furniture and adjusting how we use the living space in the house. Part of the shifting about involved finding a new home for the stereo. And, after getting it all set up again, of course I had to test it out. I pulled a record from the stacks at random and… here we are.

Sitting down to write, in the aftermath of playing this record, I realized that I honestly cannot even begin to discuss classical music with any sort of knowledgeable patter. So, I won’t even try. Over the years I’ve heard tons of it, but I only know what I like. And I loved this.

Of course, as we surely all have, I’ve heard The Planets before. My lovely wife has a CD of it, one of those $5 HMV discs that always seem to be in everyone’s collections. But this copy is on vinyl, Zubin Mehta and the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra on London Records Viva! (VIV 21, 1971/1982). I don’t often review vinyl (though I intend to!) so this has been a real treat.

And what to say? This is glorious music. It is lifting and bright, and achingly beautiful even when it surges with terrible power. Close your eyes and you really can let your mind be in outer space, wheeling past planets and constellations. Anyone out there who’s trying to write music evocative of outer space should just give up. It’s already done and it’s right here.

This is incredible music, gorgeously played. I am so glad I did this, tonight.

NB: Because I know you’re going to want to run out and get you some of this, I did some digging on Discogs and can’t even find this version that I have here. Mine looks to me like a 1982 re-release of a 1971 original. But they don’t even list 1982. Ah well, any version will make you happy, I promise.

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