This coupling of "The Planets" and "Zarathustra" is a major release for two reasons. First of all, it offers magnificent performances of these orchestral warhorses, and secondly, the audio is stunning . . . Back speakers contain much audio information, not particularly directional, but creating the effect of a fine, resonant hall. This "Zarathusra Sunrise" is one of the best you'll ever hear. Don't miss this one, even if you have the original CD issues which surely do not match grandeur of what is heard here. DGG, let us have more, quickly!
Record Review /
Robert E. Benson,
Classicalcdreview.com / 01. May 2018
. . . [Holst / "The Planets"]: William Steinberg came very fresh to the score . . . [his reading] is along the lines of the performances by Adrian Boult, Holst's favourite interpreter of the work . . . In 'Mars' my usual preference is for performances which are paced in such a way as to emphasise the implacable nature of the music . . . The DG recording is tremendously immediate so that, for example, the strings' col legno playing really makes its mark . . . Steinberg leads a truly driven performance and the BSO respond with tense playing. At this pace the moment when Holst applies the brakes immediately prior to the 5/2 episode is a juddering halt at the edge of a precipice. The 5/2 passage itself is full of menace: Steinberg makes the music grow inexorably until the explosive return to 5/4, which is gripping: here we experience a war machine moving at pace; dare one say a blitzkrieg? The end is shattering . . . If Steinberg is very convincing in "The Planets" then he's even more impressive in "Also sprach Zarathustra". Perhaps this shouldn't surprise as he had a lifetime's experience of conducting the music of Richard Strauss . . . Steinberg's recording of "Also sprach" is a very considerable one. Indeed, I think it's touched by greatness and the resplendent sound in which its now presented on BD-A makes it a particularly compelling experience . . . DG are to be congratulated in giving these splendid performances the BD-A treatment and I'm thrilled to have them in my collection.
Record Review /
MusicWeb International (Coventry) / 01. June 2018