Earth was not created in a day. And the same applies to Gustav Holst’s interplanetary symphony which took him about three years to write. The composer employs a massive orchestra and rich orchestral colouring to portray each planet in his musical psychogram. Mars, the Bringer of War, rages with mechanical brutality, while Venus brings peace and an acceptance of life. Mercury, the Winged Messenger, darts here and there with quicksilver speed, while powerful and sovereign Jupiter brings jollity and reassurance. Saturn plods by with heavy tread, while Uranus with its contrasting changes in tempo remains enigmatic and extrovert. And because Pluto, the most distant planet had not yet been discovered, it is Neptune, the great unknown, which is lost in time and space in an endless ostinato of female voices. Zubin Mehta and the Los Angeles Philharmonic present this astronomical journey with precision and exhilaration, leaving neither time nor space for astrological speculation. As always, the excellent DECCA recording quality guarantees an unimpeded view of this musical galaxy.
Recording: April 1971 at Royce Hall, Los Angeles by James Lock and Colin Moorfoot / Production: John Mordler