Holst: The Planets - Previn

Holst: The Planets - Previn

Tower Records Definition Serie  TDSA-105

Stereo Hybrid

Classical - Orchestral

Holst: The Planets
Britten: Four Sea Interludes

London Symphony Orchestra Chorus
London Symphony Orchestra
André Previn (conductor)

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2 of 2 recommend this, would you recommend it?  yes | no

Analogue recording
Comments (6)

Comment by Tony Reif - June 25, 2019 (1 of 6)

The Tower website says this uses "the latest mastering sound source in 2019 (SACD layer, CD layer individually mastered)" which implies that The Planets is a new transfer from analogue, as Four Sea Interludes must be, since on SACD for the first time and doesn't seem to have been available as a download. And the Tower description says further: "Only [The Planets] has been released SACD single layer in the past, I think that you can feel the progress of the latest digitization and mastering to pull out the master." However, Tower also says the transfers were done at 24/96, but The Planets is available for download at 24/192. If The Planets really was a new transfer why wouldn't they have used the 24/192 files?

Is there any clarification in the SACD credits/notes?

Btw if you're looking for this on the Tower website it doesn't come up on an artist/title search so search on the cat #: TDSA-105.

Comment by Gleb Panaeff - June 26, 2019 (2 of 6)

Btw, LSO/Previn The Planets and other works by Holst has been issued long ago on an EMI DVD-Audio in beautiful quad sound at 24-bit/48kHz. Not sure how this pairing (Britten) was chosen.

Comment by DYB - June 30, 2019 (3 of 6)

The Tower remastering at 96 and digital downloads being available at 192 - the digital downloads would have to be distributed by the record label (here, EMI/Warner), while the Tower SACD is a Tower transfer. (Doesn't Tower commission its own transfers???) So these may literally be two different transfers. (Britten is not available for download with Holst.) It's odd that they came out at the same time; usually Tower releases seem to be exclusive for X amount of years.

Comment by Tony Reif - July 1, 2019 (4 of 6)

Well, I've just ordered it so maybe there will be more info in the packaging. Tower does normally commission its own, new transfers from the "home country", though they sometimes work with Japanese labels on the SACD mastering and maybe the choice of what to release, such as with Nippon Columbia for the Ancerl SACDs (renewing the Supraphon/Denon connection going back to the 1970s). But usually there is more specific info about the source of the transfers - not for their EMIs though. For keeping things clear it doesn't help that Google Translate has a lot of trouble with Japanese compared to European languages.

Comment by DYB - July 1, 2019 (5 of 6)

Let us know how the two compare! I'm interested in the Britten, so I may end up ordering the SACD as well.

Comment by Tony Reif - September 7, 2019 (6 of 6)

As mentioned before, both of these pieces are now available as 24/192 downloads but the packaging makes clear that the SACD transfer was done at 24/96. I don't have the downloads for comparison, but the Britten is much better than the 2003 Great Recordings of the Century: more spacious, dynamic, detailed and richer/truer in timbre. There was probably some noise reduction applied in 2003 because the hiss at the beginning of the Passacaglia is quite noticeable on the SACD, barely so on the CD. (And the highs certainly sound more extended on the SACD.) It's a beautiful performance of great music and the Abbey Road recording now sounds highly evocative.

As for The Planets, it's considered a classic performance and recording by many but it's not a piece I care for quite as much and I don't have any of the earlier audiophile releases to compare. It's still not clear from Tower's description as translated now whether it has been DSD mastered from the 2012 EMI transfer or from a new PCM transfer: "For this reprint, we used a master that was digitized at 96kHz / 24bit from the original master in the home country, and performed new mastering for the SACD layer and CD layer separately...SACD single layer has been released in the past only for [The Planets], but I think you can feel the latest digitalization that brings out the master and the progress of mastering." To my ear the sound is similar to the Sea Interludes, though a tad less resolving and refined. Reportedly the Bishop/Parker team did extensive multi-miking in the 70s but got better at it as they went - The Planets is a Kingsway Hall recording from 1973, a year before the Britten. It's certainly impressive and enjoyable, but neither of them offers the thrilling acuity and spatial depth of Ansermet's New Philharmonia Firebird from 1968, recorded in Kingsway Hall by Kenneth Wilkinson (see my comment).