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Dave Saemann
Fanfare, July 2012

This CD is a valuable souvenir of [Holst] at his best.

Rozhdestvensky begins The Planets with a Mars that is warlike and menacing, including superb contributions from the BBC brass.

In sum, Rozhdestvensky’s Planets is unique in my experience and grows on you with repeated hearings.

For Benjamin Britten’s Young Person’s Guide, the orchestra’s textures are marvelously clear, with well-judged balances. Tempos from one variation to the next are flexible, emphasizing the originality of the harmony and orchestration. The harp’s variation is particularly lovely. Rozhdestvensky’s superb technique brings out all the details in the variation for percussion. He takes the fugue rather quickly, seeming to find a relation to the finale of Bartók’s Concerto for Orchestra, and showing off the BBC Symphony’s virtuosity. The tempo broadens appealingly for the final statement of the theme. The excellent remastering engineer Paul Baily appears to have done fine work with his sources. The Holst sounds clear and full…Rozhdestvensky…is one of the marvels of his profession. His Planets shines quite unlike any others I know of. © 2012 Fanfare Read complete review

Gary Lemco
Audiophile Audition, June 2012

The ability of Russian-born musicians to transform their styles, like chameleons, into the national personae of others remains a pure example of artistic alchemy…Rozhdestvensky had made spectacular points with the British audience with British repertory, as is the case of the Holst The Planets Suite…

In both scores, the Holst and the Britten…the emphasis lies in non-sentimental readings of explicitly virtuoso vehicles for the extraordinary wind and brass players of the BBC. The extroverted colors of The Planets, especially its “Jupiter” sequence with its own grand hymn theme, assumes a hearty resonance, a full-blooded Technicolor spectacle that neither pines nor languishes in nostalgia. Rozhdesvensky’s pianissimi prove as potent as his lavish crescendos, especially in the last two bits of interstellar mystery, “Uranus” and “Neptune.” The quicksilver figures in “Mercury” convey Mendelssohn’s impishness colored by the convention of “jolly good fun.”

In both instances, the Holst and the Britten receive such a consistent level of focus and sonorous energy, it becomes virtually impossible to resort to others’ interpretations. Two old pieces of United Kingdom wine poured into Russian-crafted bottles! Sometimes less commentary is more: definitely Best of the Year vintage, these performances. © 2012 Audiophile Audition Read complete review

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