CRITIC’S CHOICE – CD, “THE PLANETS” Paavo Järvi and The Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra

Newly released Telarc/Järvi recording also features Benjamin Britten’s The Young People’s Guide to the Orchestra

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By Seán Martinfield
Sentinel Editor and Publisher
Photo by Lynn Imanaka

Telarc has just released their sixteenth collaboration with Music Director Paavo Järvi and the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra – Gustav Holst’s The Planets and Benjamin Britten’s The Young Person’s Guide To The Orchestra. The CD, produced by Robert Woods and engineered by Grammy Award winner Michael Bishop, is intensely grand in its musical scope and an unbounded trip for the imagination. Says Conductor Järvi, “The Planets and The Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra are probably two of the best known orchestral works to come out of England in the twentieth century. I have always been thrilled by the brilliant orchestra in both works and the powerful sound-images each uses to vividly bring to light the mysteries of outer space and the intricacies of the orchestra.”

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PAAVO JÄRVI, Conductor

Completed in 1916 before the discovery of Pluto and leaving Earth out of the picture, Gustav Holst’s The Planets is a mind-blowing meditation – best experienced when in the throes of surrender and (if not at the Symphony Hall) settled into an easy chair. The journey is not one NASA might plan. Rather, it is an astrological search and rescue. Holst’s seven movements reveal the attributes of the Roman gods in relationship to their governing planetary positions and how their particular concerns effect our psyche and physical state. That is, how seven of the known planets can screw up or yield us our daily bread. Take Mars, for instance.

Track 1. Mars, the Bringer of War
According to Holst, the God of War bursts onto the scene like an advancing Roman army straight out of the swords and sandals epics. It’s about armor, the flash of swords, red capes and blood everywhere. And with the bold use of the horn section and crashing percussion, there’s just no let-up until the passion, conflict – and perhaps, the chance brief encounter – is over. But it’s only a matter of time until the commander god stirs it all up again. Gustav Holst and Paavo Järvi know that much of the red planet’s pulsating energy is about the libido. Mars also rules your slightest hint of competition as much as he effects the outcome of a major sporting event. His influence concerns the strategy of dealing with a foe – and the challenge of a lover. At the conclusion of “Mars”, Holst has the heated deity in control of the competing force, pounding away until whatever It or It’s About is clearly consumed. The sustained final moments are an immolation.

“It is such a famous piece, but this is the first time I’ve conducted it with the Cincinnati Symphony,” said Mr. Järvi. “This music has real staying power… Holst paints a ‘sound picture’ of the planets – it’s both intriguing and charming.”

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Telarc’s 16 discs with Paavo Järvi and the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra have garnered critical acclaim, including their March 2009 release of Shostakovich: Symphony No. 10 and Tormis: Overture No. 2 . The September 2008 release of an all Mussorgsky program won a GRAMMY® for Best Surround Sound. Other recordings include the January 2008 release of a celebrated all Prokofiev CD, and the 2007 release of Rachmaninoff’s Symphony No. 2. In May 2006 the CSO’s Bartok and Lutoslawski: Concertos For Orchestra debuted on the Billboard classical chart at number 9.

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Add these Telarc recordings of Paavo Järvi and the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra to your Classical Library. Click on the titles to order on-line.
Dmitri Shostakovich: Symphony No. 10; and Veljo Tormis: Overture No. 2.
Mussorgsky: Pictures at an Exhibition, Night on Bald Mountain, Prelude to Khovanshchina.
Rachmaninoff: Symphony No. 2; Dances from Aleko; Scherzo.
Lutoslawski, Bartok: Concertos for Orchestra.

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Seán Martinfield
Sentinel Editor and Publisher
Seán Martinfield, who also serves as Fine Arts Critic, is a native San Franciscan. He is a Theatre Arts Graduate from San Francisco State University, a professional singer, and well-known private vocal coach to Bay Area actors and singers of all ages and persuasions. His clients have appeared in Broadway National Tours including Wicked, Aïda, Miss Saigon, Rent, Bye Bye Birdie, in theatres and cabarets throughout the Bay Area, and are regularly featured in major City events including Diva Fest, Gay Pride, and Halloween In The Castro. As an Internet consultant in vocal development and audition preparation he has published thousands of responses to those seeking his advice concerning singing techniques, professional and academic auditions, and careers in the Performing Arts. Mr. Martinfield’s Broadway clients have all profited from his vocal methodology, “The Belter’s Method”, which is being prepared for publication. If you want answers about your vocal technique, post him a question on AllExperts.com. If you would like to build up your vocal performance chops and participate in the Bay Area’s rich theatrical scene, e-mail him at: sean.martinfield@comcast.net.

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