Holst’s The Planets

Bernard Herrmann


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SKU: QR549 Categories: ,

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Quartet Records, in collaboration with Decca Classics and Universal Music Enterprises, presents a remastered CD edition of the unique, fascinating and controversial Bernard Herrmann recording of Gustav Holst’s THE PLANETS.

Recorded during his post-Hollywood period when he was based in London, it was one of several albums he conducted for Decca Records’ Phase Four series, featuring both his own music and that of other composers. THE PLANETS has always been considered something of a cursed album, yet it is loved by his fans for an interpretation that is more Herrmann than Holst.

The recording was not universally acclaimed when it was released. This was in part because several recordings of the work already on the market were considered classics, thus setting a very high bar for new entries. Some listeners, however, found the heavy tread of Herrmann’s “Mars” an actual plus, its mechanistic bombast far more threatening and imposing than the composer’s own recorded performance. Herrmann’s slow trek through the “big tune” in “Jupiter” was more widely criticized, but Herrmann was far from the only conductor who favored slower tempi in the later stages of their career—including in some of the Phase Four recordings of his own music. Nevertheless, Herrmann’s THE PLANETS sold well.

Although reissued several times on LP in the 1970s, Herrmann’s recording of THE PLANETS was only released on CD in Australia in 2011 as part of a Holst compilation on Decca Eloquence.

This new, first-ever solo CD edition has been restored and mastered by Chris Malone from the original master tapes transferred by UME in the UK, and features brilliant, extensive liner notes by classical and film music writer Frank K. DeWald alongside the original LP liner notes by renowned musicologist Harry Halbreich.


  1. Mars, The Bringer of War (8:43)
  2. 2Venus, The Bringer of Peace (10:04)
  3. Mercury, The Winged Messenger (4:34)
  4. Jupiter, The Bringer of Jollity (9:06)
  5. Saturn, The Bringer of Old Age (9:31)
  6. Uranus, The Magician (6:54)
  7. Neptune, The Mystic (8:11)

Total Disc Time: 57:06