Steinberg - Strauss Also sprach Zarathustra - Holst The Planets - Audiophile Audition
13 June 2012Audiophile Audition
These recordings were two gems on the Yellow Label during the early
1970s during which time the Boston Symphony Orchestra made a series of
very highly-regarded recordings in Symphony Hall. These include Kubelik
in Smetana's Ma Vlast, Steinberg in Hindemith and Tilson Thomas in Piston, Ruggles and a lovely rendition of Tchaikovsky's First Symphony, all bathed in that wonderful rich acoustic.
Steinberg was at the Boston Symphony's helm for all too short a time, but he left a recording of Also Sprach Zarathustra
which, like Krauss's in Vienna and the composer himself, took a
bird's-eye view not making exaggerated points along the way. Holst's The Planets
gets a well-considered reading for the most part. The orchestral
playing is superb, only moments of ill-disciplined, or ill-fitting,
trumpet-playing causing one to wish a section had been re-taken. Mars is too quick, though it is exciting, and one or two moments don't quite make the effect needed, Venus
a bit bland, for example, but I'm open to accusations of nit-picking.
For all that, I wouldn't be without these readings - they were among a
small handful of full-price LPs I bought as a student. These 24/96
files allow the listener to appreciate what fine work DGG did in Boston;
while the DGG Originals CD is a very good transfer, the improvement in
resolution makes an upgrade a most worthwhile proposition.
Related LinksBoston Symphony OrchestraWilliam SteinbergStrauss: Also sprach Zarathustra / Holst: The Planets