Owain Arwel Hughes / Cambridge Singers / Royal Philharmonic Orchestra

The Planets

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The Planets, Gustav Holst's most popular orchestral work, was composed between 1914 and 1916, and reflected the astrological associations of the seven planets known at the time, not including Earth. The suite had no movement for Pluto, which was not discovered until 1930, well past the point where Holst had any interest in revising the work. However, Colin Matthews took up the challenge in 2000 and supplied his own composition, Pluto, the Renewer, which appears on this recording by Owain Arwel Hughes, the Cambridge Singers, and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. While the astronomical Pluto was demoted to the status of a dwarf planet by the International Astronomical Association in 2006, there's no reason for Matthews' brilliant addendum to be mothballed, because it provides an option for Pluto loyalists and adds interest to this well-known score, though Holst's choral fadeout at the end of Neptune is regarded by many as the most beautiful ending. Matthews connects the two movements, though in this performance, there is enough silence between the tracks that traditionalists can make their choice at the press of a button. Holst's A Somerset Rhapsody is provided as filler, though its bland English folk melodies stand in marked contrast with the vibrant colors of The Planets, which is the main attraction of this CD.

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