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Record Box

Galactic timelessness

KEITH BRAMICH listens to
planets, old and new


Hyperion    CDA67270

Holst: The Planets with Colin Matthews: Pluto. (p) 2001 Hyperion Records Ltd

 

Some frivolity and fun-poking was, I suppose, inevitable, when Manchester's Hallé Orchestra commissioned British composer Colin Matthews (born 1946) to add Pluto -- the extra planet (or is it just an asteroid?) discovered four years before the death of Gustav Holst (1874-1934) -- to the earlier composer's famous orchestral suite The Planets.

Pluto -- The Renewer is, however, anything but frivolous. Bold, spacious, and at times frightening [listen -- track 8, 2:15-3:16], it portrays the elements on a universal scale, matching the grandeur of Holst's earlier creation. Writing in the booklet accompanying this excellent Hyperion CD, Matthews describes his mixed feelings on being asked to add new music to a work which 'is a very satisfying whole and one which makes perfect musical sense'. One doesn't feel that Matthews has compromised his style, and yet the music comes close to the sound world of The Planets, and has something of that same galactic timelessness.

Following this complete Planets Suite with the world première recording of Matthews' new finale is a late Holst work -- clear and beautiful -- the Lyric Movement (1933) for viola (here Timothy Pooley) and such a small orchestra that (especially when compared with the music on the rest of this disc) it seems almost chamber music [listen -- track 9, 10:47-11:45].

 

Copyright © 12 December 2001 Keith Bramich, London, UK

 

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CD INFORMATION - HYPERION CDA67270

PURCHASE THIS DISC FROM CROTCHET

PURCHASE THIS DISC FROM AMAZON

COLIN MATTHEWS AT FABER MUSIC

 

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Record Box is Music & Vision's regular Wednesday series of shorter CD reviews