|HOLST: The Planets,
Op. 32. ELGAR:
Serenade for Strings, Op. 20.
Frauenstimmen Staatsopernchor Stuttgart; SWR Radio Symphony Orch/Roger
HANSSLER CD 93.043 (F) (DDD) TT: 62:10
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ENGLISH STRING MINIATURES (Volume 4)
The final issue of Schwann/Opus (Vol. 12, published 2001) listed
29 recordings of The Planets (not counting non-orchestral versions).
A decade ago I authored a Basic Library for Stereophile covering
35 recordings which included many fine performances since deleted (Colin
Davis/BPO, Haitini/LPO, Ozawa/BSO, Steinberg/BSO and Svetlanov/Philharmonia,
to mention just a few). There have been many since then, some of
which have already disappeared - and now we have this new version,
recorded live in Stuttgart's Liederhalle in June 2001. It is not a serious
contender in the Planets discography. Norrington is
surprisingly unimaginative - and the important organ part is virtually
inaudible. Those low pedal notes are important, particularly at the
climax of Uranus (the organ glissando in the same movement
can't be heard), and to set the mood in the final movement, Neptune. Elgar's
Serenade brings the total playing time of this full-priced CD up to
HOPE: Momentum Suite (Dance, Intermezzo, Momentum).
BRIDGE: Two Pieces (arr. P. Hindmarsh) (Valse - Intermezzo;
Scherzo Phantastick). CARSE: Two Sketches (A Northern
Song; A Northern Dance). TOMLINSON: Graceful Dance. HOLST: A Moorside Suite (Scherzo; Nocturne; March). DELIUS: Two Aquarelles. LEWIS: English Suite
(March; Meditation; Jig; Jaunt).
Northern Sinfonia/David Lloyd-Jones, cond.
NAXOS 8.555070 (B) (DDD) TT: 62:14
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Naxos' CD, the fourth in their English
String Miniatures series, is an absolute delight. Many of these
captivating pieces here receive their premiere recordings. David
Lloyd-Jones (whose Naxos recording of Planets [see REVIEW]
is quite superior to Norrington's), leads the virtuoso Northern Sinfonia
in superlative performances of these enchanting pieces - nothing
earth-shaking here, but constant listening pleasure - and at budget
price. Try out the third movement, Momentum, from Hope's Momentum
Suite, Graceful Dance by Tomlinson, or Jig and Jaunt from
Lewis' English Suite, and you'll be hooked. Superb