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Vienna Philharmonic: Holst's "The Planets"

Our first featured CD for the year comes from the vault. In a 1962 recording, the great Maestro Herbert von Karajan conducts Gustav Holst's masterpiece, The Planets. He leads the Vienna Philharmonic and Vienna State Opera Chorus.

The Planets covers the night sky in 7 movements, which may seem strange given that there are 9 planets… or more correctly, 8 planets and the newly demoted planetoid, Pluto. But at the time, Pluto had not yet been discovered, AND, since the work is more astrological than astronomical, Earth is not included. Holst was a believer in astrology, and his intention was to convey the influences of these heavenly bodies on the psyche.

Rounding out the CD is another classic from a few years before The Planets. Richard Strauss composed his tone poem on the great lover Don Juan in 1888. And after it's late 1889 premiere, it quickly became an international success.

And our quick pick this week brings us back to current day with a late 2008 release from pianist Simone Dinnerstein. Her sophomore album "The Berlin Concert" features music from Bach, Beethoven and contemporary composer, Philip Lasser.

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