While I was driving to work yesterday I heard Holst’s Jupiter playing on the radio. The Planets is one of the albums I like to play while writing, but I particularly I love this piece.
Of course, the tune stuck in my mind, so I played it at school during snacktime while I was working at my desk, and to my surprise, my class of first graders loved it! They had me play the whole Planets suite from Mercury to Neptune. Twice.
“The Planets Op. 32 is a seven-movement orchestral suite by the British composer Gustav Holst, written between 1914 and 1916. Its first complete public performance occurred during World War I on 10 October 1918 in Birmingham, with Appleby Matthews conducting. However, an earlier invitation-only premiere was held on 29 September 1918 in the Queen’s Hall in London, conducted by Adrian Boult.
The concept of the work is astrological rather than astronomical (which is why Earth is not included). . . . Each movement is intended to convey ideas and emotions associated with the influence of the planets on the psyche, not the Roman deities.
The Planets as a work in progress was originally scored for a piano duet, except for “Neptune”, which was scored for a single organ, as Holst believed that the sound of the piano was too harsh for a world as mysterious and distant as Neptune. Holst then scored the suite for a large orchestra, and it was in this incarnation that it became enormously popular.”