Holst. The Planets - London Philharmonic / Sir Adrian Boult - Nixa/Westminster 1954

Gustav Holst:  "The Planets" suite, op.32   
1: Mars, the Bringer of War  ~  2: Venus, the Bringer of Peace  ~  3: Mercury, the Winged Messenger      //    
4: Jupiter, the Bringer of Jollity  ~  5: Saturn, the Bringer of Old Age  ~  6: Uranus, the Magician  ~  7: Neptune, the Mystic.
2 files zip FLAC  Mega Download
London Philharmonic Choir -&- London Philharmonic Orchestra  conducted by  Sir Adrian Boult   
PYE/Nixa  NLP 903   CBS matrices: XTV20373 -1E / XTV20374 -1AB  (c.1956 LP/c.1954/5 recut: marginally superior to the original 1A/1A).
Recorded: 10-14 September 1953 - Walthamstow Town Hall                                                          1945 BBC SO / Boult - on HISTORICAL
Even The Record Guide, 1955, commented upon some noisy surfaces; so the manual editing has been extremely tedious.    
Very slight de-click applied due to some residual (now very minor) low-level 'surface-noise'.            Sleeve-note >>>


  1. Just played 'Jupiter' so far. Fantatstic! Thank you!

    1. ...or even 'fantastic!' Oops...

    2. This performance must be 'near definitive' (and is definitely superior in execution/concept than Sargent's Decca/LSO; despite some dodgy Horn-playing in this version + the Mad Percussion balance).

      Over 40 years back I bought the PYE 'Marble Arch' - an 'electronic stereo' - after reading Trevor Harvey's 'Gramophone' review.

      But this is the type of pressing that I should never bother tackling - as, judging by some Audacity file data, I think there were were 500 edits.
      The original pressing would've been even more troublesome (it also had greater 'overload' in a part of 'Mars') - but I don't believe this has been officially on CD - only a Dutton/Heritage LP transfer (??)

    3. Anonymous08 May, 2013

      This is a wonderful transfer. While I may be inclined to give this recording the edge, The Sargent performance with the LSO was one of the first classical recordings I ever owned. I would like to have it again, partly for sentimental reasons. Any chance of transferring and posting it?


    4. Glad you like it (probably because it's 'exciting' to listen to?!) - even though it's derived from a 'semi-agricultural' pressing...so not exactly the best source for a 'Pristine' transfer.

      Regarding the Sargent: there's 'Mr Pristine's' (PASC010) from some years back - but am not sure if there's now an 'official' CD.

      I've 3 different transfers - the 1954 original used until 1957/8 - then the 'commonplace' ACL re-cut - then another, c.1962; which may be the 'best' sounding.
      The recording is inherently a different balance - so lots of 'effects' you hear on this Boult don't make much of an impact on Sargent's more recessed sound.

      I don't really know about uploading it as if I was to do so then should upload the BBC version as well/instead (and which I prefer) from either of a couple of nice ASD issues..and these take quite some time/effort (this one, I half-joked, was equal to listening to the BBC 10CD audio-book of 'War & Peace': and have only heard CD1 of that set..)...but will check if any of my 4 copies are so 'defect free' that it may be feasible: but no promises.

  2. Anonymous05 May, 2013

    The Dutton transfer was released by PRT on PVCD 8381 a copy of which I purchased for a couple of quid in London as the MDT store near St Paul's circa 1990. I picked up quite a few PRT CDs of Nixa recordings featuring Boult and Barbirolli from the MDC and I guess the were bankrupt stock, either from some other retail store or from PRT itself.

    Alas, I didn't pick up PRT's CDs of Boult's recordings of the Brahms symphonies (which I already had on cassette) because I couldn't carry them. When I went back the following day to remedy matters the Boult Brahms sets had disappeared and none of the other MDC outlets had it in stock. Sad, but a learning experience...


    1. PRT = "Purveyors Of Re-Treads".
      So that '1985' CD could've been from some PYE tapes, 'tweaked' by Mr.Dutton.

      The Nixa/PRT Scherchen 'Messiah' CD's were being peddled by the Albanian 'Gramex' for a stunning price, circa 1986..

  3. This is another splendid piece of work by you! The LP I had many years ago was in such a poor state that I gave up trying to listen to it. Your edition reveals that it is an interesting version by Boult in his prime. Many thanks .

    1. Had intended transferring some RVW (Decca: Wasps, possibly 'Job'/ PYE: K.Cole, etc) and it was only the Tortuous removal of so many clicks/pops that meant I didn't then add the mono Perfect Fool - or the original stereo LP version + E.Heath..

      Thankfully I only have a few of these earlier PYE pressngs - almost as bad as the Nixa's...but the 'transformation' achieved by editing is enormous...and trust anything remaining isn't too annoying (the 'processing' of the matrices left behind some background noise).

      As a performance it certainly surpasses the NPO and 'odd' LPO 1979 version, though have never listened to his Vienna recording (have a new stereo copy on World Records) - mainly as Karajan's VPO Decca was such a flop.

  4. Anonymous07 May, 2013

    Well worth the effort, Tin Ear. thank you. I would agree that in spite of the general enthusiasm by critics for the earlier BBCSO recording, and the mono sound, this is probably the best of all the Boult performances, but then they are all worth listening to (including the Vienna - give it a listen, it has felicities not heard elsewhere). I don't believe there really was a "Boult way" with this work: whereas they are all out of the same basic mould, he approaches each recording with a fresh mind.

    Back around 1959, having been bought a Dansette record player for Christmas, I saved up my pocket money and dithered between this and the Sargent on ACL. I chose the Sargent, because I had just seen him conduct it. I acquired this Boult later (the GG pressing was rather dim) and when they appeared picked up as many of the PRTs as I could - but I also missed out on the Brahms, and regretted it.

    Andrew Smith

    1. You are certainly correct regarding variations in Boult recordings (the 1945 has slower tempi, in places); but it's a bit too late to query him on his chosen tempi (over 60 years) - unless there's some literature on that topic.

      But as I really dislike the (badly played/highly rated) VPO/Karajan - and as the VSOO/Boult got distinctly poor reviews (for the playing..) then haven't been too tempted (and only fairly recently acquired from a mainly WRC 'collection' of dubiously worthwhile (but mint) records!).

      Have never seen the Pye/Brahms - other than my 'Marble Arch' of no.1 - which is rather good...but probably superflous compared to Beinum/COA on Decca: which would be 'a' reason for Boult's Pye series, generally, not being bought by many @ the time/afterwards..

      This version of 'Planets', from memory, sounds rather better than my 'Marble Arch' - but would assume any CD should be better - though it's possible that the original tapes were inconsistent, as parts of 'Jupiter' are rather inferior in tonal quality.

    2. Anonymous13 May, 2013

      This is probably Boult's best LP version of Planets beautifully transferred by yourself. I understand that the master tapes have irretrievably deteriorated (along with the Berlioz stereo Overtures). The Brahms Symphony 1 Marble Arch deceived me for some time. There were two versions issued on this label. MAL555 recorded 21 & 10/1959 mono issue only (Stereo on GSGL10105). I love this performance and learned my Brahms 1 from it. The earlier version recorded 6-25/11/1954 was issued later on MAL730 with symphonies 2,3 & 4. The LPO was going through a particularly bad patch during the early 50s with scrappy playing and poor ensemble. No doubt this was the reason for poor sales.
      While the Beinum/COA is definitely a distinguished performance, there is a rightness and cohesion about Boult that I could not easily give up. Of course his later EMI versions outclassed these. Many thanks for the time and effort you have put into all your transfers and for the pleasure you have given us.

      Best wishes Howard Cooper

    3. Anonymous13 May, 2013

      Please excuse my finger slip on previous comment 21 & 10/1959 should read 21 & 23/10/1959. MAL555 is a Miller International recording & MAL730 is a NIXA original. Both recorded at Walthamstow Assembly Hall.
      Sorry again Howard Cooper

    4. Hello Howard.

      Mine is MAL 730 - which retains the 1956 LP (NCL 16000) coupling (!!) of the 'Tragic' overture.

      Boult's performances do stand-the-test-of-time with their manifest integrity (though don't rate his 'concerto' Decca/LPO's too highly..and the orchestra sometimes appeared to be 'more enthusiastic' under other conductors during the earlier period).

      So long as any remaining defects don't intrude (or my editing can't be 'heard'), then I'm satisfied.

      I only have the mono of the Berlioz (on G.Guinea) - but the chances of the GSGC (or most other stereos on that label) being 'much kop' is, possibly, rather remote..

    5. Anonymous14 May, 2013

      Hello again Tin Ear.
      Mention of the Berlioz Overtures reminded me that they were issued on 2 LPs, 4 Overtures on each. Beatrice Et Benedict,Le Corsaire,King Lear & Rob Roy on GSGC 14084 and Benvenuto Cellini,Carnaval Romain, Le Francs Juges, & Waverley on GSGC 14083. 6 Overtures were later put on to one PRT disc and electronically stereoised. They sound terrible. The Penguin Guide rated the GGs as outstanding performances with the caveat that the woodwind were too distantly balanced. I had these performances on reel tape copied from library discs but my reel to reel player is worn out so I can't play them. Your comment about GG pressings is is very true but they did vary enormously. I have the Boult Elgar 2 (Stereo) & various Barbirollis which are quite decent. Maybe the later the pressing the better. At least these are unlikely to have been played by 10grm rock crushers. BTW Some of the Pye issues appeared on 45rpm discs. I have Boult's Mars & Jupiter on an extended play. Perhaps the faster speed may help when de-noising.
      Best Wishes Howard Cooper

    6. It's a definite Shock to compare an original CCL mono of RVW 2/Barbirolli to the 1964-ish GSGC)- but the much later PRT (Green/Red label) do contain good transfers (their cassettes are appalling..)- but they added reverb (ie: Boult/Walton 1, I think).

      The Tchaikovsky 4/Barbirolli is OK' (the RVW 8, etc, isn't) as original GSGC, but suspect 'serious collectors' quickly learned not to buy them in the '60's due to 'feeble/washed-out' sound-quality.

      Not my favourite label - but I don't have too many in any event (and recall that I returned Dohnanyi PC1 (Vazsonyi/NPO/Pritchard) to H.Stave's in 1972 (Boult was the intended conductor) due to a dreadful pressing (have a decent copy nowadays)...

    7. Anonymous15 May, 2013

      I thought that Kittenfish might like to know that Sargent's LSO Planets is on Youtube. There is no indication of the transfer used but it is very reverberant. The original Kingsway Hall recording was judged extremely well by the engineers so I suspect someone has uploaded Mr Pristine's version with added Gluten-gebouw acoustic. If downloaded, it might serve until a more honest transfer becomes available. This is not a hint Tin Ear, I can only guess at your workload.
      It would seem that the less than top class playing from the LPO & LSO at this time may be put down to losing their best players to Legge's Philharmonia & Beechams RPO.
      Best Wishes Howard

    8. Hello Howard.
      Any 'workload'is purely self-inflicted.
      No..the Decca LP transfers aren't, from memory, at all 'reverberant' - merely 'recessed' - so 'added acoustics' must be all the rage! (I was Stunned when Mr Pristine 'offered up', recently, the Callas/EMI 'Cav' set in 'a new acoustic' - as the 33CXs are about the most reverberant LP's going (so that's another 'bootlegged from CD' - as with the current Geezerking Debussy??!!

      I promise to come-to-a-decision - but would prefer to upload 'something different' - such as Collins' New SO RVW/Elgar - never on CD, I think, correctly?? (LXT 2699: did the scans ages back..as with the Sargent/Planets...now a sort of 'aide memoire'...

    9. Anonymous12 June, 2013

      Hello Tin Ear
      I thought you and readers might like to know that the 1973 live Prom of Boult's Planets with the BBC S.O.has been released as a FREE disc with the July issue of BBC Music Magazine. If you want it you need to get it NOW. I have not yet listened to it since the original broadcast but seem to remember a little more spontaneity than in his recordings, but I still think your transfer of the Pye/Nixa version is to be preferred in spite of more ancient sound. Anyway, it makes a nice addition to the Boult canon. BTW Boult's 2nd disc of Berlioz Overtures is available over on Random Classics with other Pye Boults.
      Best wishes Howard

    10. Only ever bought one of those BBC mags...and am darned if I could recall which (or any..) R3 Proms broadcasts I listened-to 40 years back!

      Only have Vol.1 of the mono GG Berlioz (the original owner probably bought that due to the 2 'more obscure' works - and Beecham's single disc [have the original Philips/US Columbia] didn't include 'Waverley'.

      Maybe someone will upload the 1973 Planets to SympathyShare??

  5. Anonymous09 May, 2013

    Just wanted to add my thanks for yet another thoroughly enjoyable transfer of a great recording.

    Best wishes,


    1. Hello Jim,
      Boult's invariably are 'popular' (and have plenty, pre 1963): but there can be few not transferred to CD (I'd be interested in how this compared to the old PYE CD..) but LP's such as the RVW Symphony 4 / Wasps had particularly fine Decca transfers - and certainly are among those I'd choose to listen to 'more than once'.

  6. Gracias, sonido perfecto.

    1. No es la mejor condicion LP que tengo ... ;~))

  7. Replies
    1. Certainly - considering that these 'Nixa' LP's look as if they have been manufactured on someones kitchen-table!


Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.