As a collection of lesser-known orchestral works by the composer of The Planets, this disc of Holst recordings by Adrian Boult with the London Philharmonic and the London Symphony from the early '70s has a grade-A selection. Many of the works may be unfamiliar to all but those deeply immersed in Holst -- A Fugal Overture is sometimes recorded but this is the only extant recording of the Japanese Suite -- but they are all representative of the protean composer's huge range of interests, and Boult, one of the grand old men of British conductors, is an extremely persuasive advocate for all of them. With the LPO, Boult's A Somerset Rhapsody is wonderfully pastoral with loads of lush colors, his Beni Mora, oriental suite, is brightly colorful with plenty of rhythmic energy, his Hammersmith, prelude and scherzo for orchestra, is marvelously evocative and tremendously powerful, and his Scherzo is robustly rhythmic and strongly contrapuntal. With the LSO, his A Fugal Overture is slyly brilliant and vigorously dynamic and his Japanese Suite is suitably atmospheric and entirely convincing. Listeners unfamiliar with the composer will want to check out his terrifically popular and tremendously impressive The Planets. But for those who already know the work -- and anyone who's ever seen a movie about space will have at least heard echoes of it -- this disc will be a splendid way to find out what else Holst did with his time as an orchestral composer. Lyrita's stereo sound is rich, clear, deep, honest, and a model of what recorded orchestral sound should be.
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AllMusic Review by James Leonard
|Beni Mora, oriental suite for orchestra, Op. 29/1, H. 107|
|Japanese Suite, for orchestra, Op. 33, H. 126|