"The obvious hook for this release is "Pluto," Cohn Matthews’ fascinating, recently composed appendix to Hoist’s "The Planets," that takes over where Hoist left off in "Neptune." Despite Matthews’ dissonant idiom, the supplement makes sense; it conjures up images of meteor bombardments, swirling solar winds and other effects that suggest a plunge into the unknown terrors and splendors of outer space. This is the second recording of Pluto but the first at a bargain price, and it is fortuitously attached to an outstanding performance of the original "Planets," astutely paced, full of vehemence and mystery, superbly recorded. You also get an early Hoist rarity, "The Mystic Trumpeter," an 18-minute set ting of Walt Whitman’s words that looks backward to Wagner and forward to "The Planets." For those who don’t mind a challenge to tradition, this is a must- buy."
R.S.G. - Los Angeles Times - November 2002
"The Planets, as we know and have loved it for years, is given a fine performance here. ’Mars’ is savage, ’Venus’ gentle and lyrical, and ’Mercury’ properly fleet. ’Jupiter’ is joyous and bracing, ’Saturn’ fittingly sounds like a creaky processional, but with a terrifying climax in mid-section and a lovely Debussian ending; ’Uranus’ is humorous, but with fantastic timpani-led dramatic interjections. The start of the Walt Whitman poem is basically an ode to love, and its conclusion is one of the most poetic, humanistic expressions I have ever read. The strangely beautiful, distant-sounding fanfares are marvelously atmospheric. Soprano Claire Rutter has a lovely voice and sings with all the passionate expression that the poem requires. A very rewarding release."
Gerald S Fox - American Record Guide - October 2002
"A super-budget price rival to Mark Elder’s recent recording of The Planets and a real rival in three senses: it is stirring and splendidly played, it includes Collin Matthew’s striking appendix to Holst’s suite and it adds a rarity that this composer’s admirers will want to investigate. Here the new Naxos has a distinct edge."
Michael Oliver - International Record Review - June 2002
"Here is Naxos doing its best gig - giving us a solid performance of a famous piece of music at a bargain price and then throwing in an irresistible bonus."
Tiger Hashimoto - San Francisco Examiner - April 2002
"On the whole, David Lloyd-Jones and the Royal Scottish National Orchestra turn in a more satisfying and characterful performance of The Planets plus Pluto than we heard on Hyperion’s disc containing the latter’s premiere... Actually, what makes this disc worth owning isn’t The Planets, but The Mystic Trumpeter, a gorgeous Whitman setting for soprano and orchestra that deserves far more attention on disc than it has received to date. Claire Rutter delivers the text with excellent diction and generally lovely tone...Naxos earns the thanks of all Holst fans for reviving this neglected work in such an impressive performance."
David Hurwitz - ClassicsToday.com - April 2002
"It’s the most impressive performance of The Planets I’ve heard for quite a while. The RSNO is on excellent form, and David Lloyd-Jones controls the pacing and brings out the character of each movement with exceptional skill. Mars is urgent and compelling, Jupiter has grandeur without inflation, the humour or Uranus is suitably dark, and even the pallid central section of Venus comes across rather well. Best of all is Saturn which builds slowly but inexorably to a cathartic climax then melds into luminous stillness. Added to this is a fine performance of The Mystic Trumpeter - perhaps the finest of Holst’s long-neglected early works."
Stephen Johnson - BBC Music Magazine - April 2002
"The Mystic Trumpeter, a wonderfully romantic setting of Walt Whitman’s poem."
Ivan Hewitt - The Times (Play Magazine) - March 2002
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