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Recorded in 1993, this performance of Holst’s evergreen The Planets headed by the multi-talented Mike Batt receives its first release in 2018. Most movements were recorded in complete takes, which results in the odd corner where slickness and accuracy are sacrificed.

This Planets succeeds best in the slow, lyrical movements: ‘Venus, the Bringer of Peace’ boasts some truly lovely moments and excellent solo contributions from horn and oboes. But ‘Jupiter, the Bringer of Jollity’ is low on juice, and ‘Mars, the Bringer of War’, whilst fast, is also a little hurried in places. ‘Neptune’ is the triumph, its prolonged, rapt atmosphere appropriately rarefied and the ladies of the John McCarthy chorus well placed in the sound picture.

The filler is Elgar’s first Pomp and Circumstance March, a touch on the dull side with little sense of celebration about it.

COLIN CLARKE Read the full review on Agora Classica


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