Holst; The Planets (Guild GMCD7814)

Adrenaline pumps all through this disc, re-released now after being set down during just one remarkable day 25 years ago.

Part of the honour must go to recording producer Robert Matthew-Walker (also author of the excellent insert-notes) who captures so much of the detail coaxed from the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra by conductor Mike Batt (yes, he of the Wombles and Watership Down).

Holst's daughter Imogen wrote sniffily about Mars, but hearing this reading might have changed her mind; it's urgent, you can shudder at the wood of the bow tapping on violin strings, and the organ is an apocalyptic presence. Venus is poignant and searching, Jupiter simply teems, Saturn is a marmoreal march-past and Uranus sears, with remarkable horns and organ glissando.

Elgar's Pomp and Circumstance No.1 is a gratuitous encore (perhaps they still had time to fill!), with the composer's beloved trombones fizzingly to the fore.

-- Christopher Morley

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