Saturday, October 16, 2010

Beyond the Planets

Now Gustav Holst, Jupiter from his Suite The Planets. Let's just listen and let our imagination travel skywards...
That was presenter Rob Cowan's link on his BBC Radio 3 breakfast programme yesterday morning. If the quest for inclusiveness involves piecemeal classical music, so be it. But Rob, do the pieces really need to be so Classic FM? Could not the link have led to the first movement of the life-affirming Fifth Symphony of Holst's pupil and fellow mystic Edmund Rubbra? I can guarantee it would not have lost a single listener; instead it would have sent the imagination of many listeners already familiar with the The Planets travelling towards a wonderfully rewarding discovery in the form of Rubbra's symphonies.

* Chance Music on July 7, 2010 paired contemporary American composer Kyle Gann's vision of the planets with Holst's own four hand piano arrangement of his suite. The moving piano arrangement of Holst's Jupiter, which can be heard at the end of Chance Music, would have been another way of avoiding the Classic FM synodrome without risking a single listener. Read more about the alternative Planets here and listen to them here.

** Header image is my 1980 Chandos LP of Rubbra's Fifth Symphony in a quite magnificent performance by the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra conducted by Hans-Hubert Schönzeler. The recording has been transferred to CD (plus Tippett's Little Music for Strings) but, alas, the striking LP cover art has gone. CD or download are £4.99 on Amazon UK. It will be the best 'fiver' you will spend for a long time.

*** More on Rubbra in Leo Black's invaluable Edmund Rubbra, Symphonist. (ISBN 9781843833550)

Also on Facebook and Twitter. All recordings mentioned were bought at retail. I note that I bought the CD transfer of Hans-Hubert Schönzeler's Rubbra 5 in the Virgin Megastore in the Manchester Arndale Centre on December 12, 1996 for £7.99. Classical music has never been so cheap as it is today. Edmund Rubbra, Symphonist was a requested review sample. Report broken links, missing images and errors to - overgrownpath at hotmail dot co dot uk

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