Friday, May 20, 2022

The Planets (Great Music)

THE PLANETS (Gustav Holst, English, 1914-1917)

Each movement of Holst's seven-movement orchestral suite The Planets is named for one planet and reflects musically that planet's supposed character. (Earth and the not-yet-discovered Pluto--now no longer a planet, I think--were not included.) The whole thing can be performed in less than an hour. The titles of the movements hint at their style:

  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

Though some critics were disapproving, the piece has remained popular with audiences since its first full public performance in 1920. Holst himself conducted two of the at least 80 recordings of the work.


(Image courtesy Wikimedia Commons; CTTO)

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