Jump to content

The Planets by Gustav Holst


Recommended Posts

Which are you favorite 'planets' from The Planets Suite by Holst, and in which order?

Mine:

1) Uranus, the Magician

2) Mars, the Bringer of War

3) Jupiter, the Bringer of Jolity

4) Saturn, the Bringer of Old Age

5) Neptunes, the Mystic

6) Mercury, the Winged Messenger

7) Venus, the Bringer of Peace

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Replies 127
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

Mars is the only one I'm familiar with. I have all of them, I think I'll listen now. Isn't it odd that he didn't write one for Pluto? Or was it not discovered by then?

Nope. It would take another 15 years ;).

He could have written one for Earth, though ;) (LotR composer Johan de Meij has now.)

Link to post
Share on other sites

Pluto had not yet been discovered. And what a serendipitous turn of events that was, considering its current status. ;)

"The Planets" was the first orchestral piece I ever intentionally listened to repeatedly for enjoyment, I think. I have a hard time picking favorites...at one point, I would have offered Jupiter without hesitation, but my respect for the other pieces has grown immensely. I suppose I'll just group them into three categories, from favorite to least favorite. If you just put these all in the order they're listed without the three groupings, that'd probably still be accurate...but I really do have a hard time ranking Mars beneath Jupiter, for instance.

1. Jupiter, Mars, Saturn

2. Uranus, Mercury

3. Neptune, Venus

Link to post
Share on other sites

1) Uranus, the Magician

2) Saturn, the Bringer of Old Age

3) Jupiter, the Bringer of Jolity

4) Mars, the Bringer of War

5) Neptunes, the Mystic

6) Venus, the Bringer of Peace

7) Mercury, the Winged Messenger

They are all pretty fantastic, though

Link to post
Share on other sites

Mars was my senior year high school concert band contest piece and I had the trumpet solo in that, so I have a very soft spot in my heart for it. I've also be very fortunate to conduct it in concert as an adult. During a rehearsal of it, my bass clarinet player was complaining about the difficulty of it and asked the question "Why couldn't you have picked a different planet?" So I responded, "Well, I could have picked Uranus (said your anus)" Took 10 minutes for the band to stop laughing.

Anyways:

1) Mars

2) Jupiter

3) Uranus

4) Venus

5) Mercury

6) Saturn

7) Neptune

Link to post
Share on other sites

The rest is definitely worth buying. I don't know which recording is "best", but I really like the one I have. It's from the 80s, actually - IIRC, I think John Williams conducted it. I can't find this specific album online, though, and I don't have the jewel case with me to examine it for details.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Oh and you have not heard The Planets until you've heard the James Levine CSO version. As discussed here

Even Steef complimented classical music with that one. :lol: Seriously, get it, if nothing else then for Levine and the CSO's....breathtaking performance of Mars. The bringer of war has never sounded that heart-attack inducing.

The Levine is the definitive recording IMO, overall. All the other ones are either performed like ketchup or mixed in with that irritating back row concert acoustics that is...dreadful. And seeing as most of us here are soundtrack fans, Levine's is up there with the best of Bruce Botnick in terms of recording quality and mixing.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Jupiter is like an even more fantastic version of the "Journey to the Island," which to begin with is great.

I never really thought to compare those two...I mean, they both alternate between major-key passages of grandeur and more lighthearted intimacy, but actually listening, they're quite different experiences, for me at least.

Apples and oranges really.

Very much so. Jupiter and Mars sit at opposite ends of the "loud music" spectrum, and both work fantastically in their own ways, which makes comparing them quite difficult.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Yes, but this Thread also makes me curious to know: which recording is generally considered the best?

Many consider Dutoit the best, and it's damn good indeed. I also really like the Karajan recording a lot, more than I'd expected.

I have that one and it's by far my favorite. It's the most "romantic" I think of the recordings available.

Oh and you have not heard The Planets until you've heard the James Levine CSO version. As discussed here

Even Steef complimented classical music with that one. :lol: Seriously, get it, if nothing else then for Levine and the CSO's....breathtaking performance of Mars. The bringer of war has never sounded that heart-attack inducing.

The Levine is the definitive recording IMO, overall. All the other ones are either performed like ketchup or mixed in with that irritating back row concert acoustics that is...dreadful. And seeing as most of us here are soundtrack fans, Levine's is up there with the best of Bruce Botnick in terms of recording quality and mixing.

Agreed 100%

There are also several concert band recording of it that are quite good too.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Much as I love Jupiter I have heard it played badly by so many youth orchestras that it's not in my top 3 anymore. Mars is of course fantastic and paved the way for many a film composer. Next I put Saturn. This contains some of the creepiest and downright scariest music ever composed IMO. I think Goldsmith might have listened to a few bars of Saturn before composing some of the earlier scenes from Alien. Next Venus. It's just beautiful. Mercury and Jupiter next. Finally Saturn and Uranus, both fantastic. The whole piece is a towering achievement. Now apart from that and the St Pauls Suite and a few church songs WHAT THE HELL ELSE DID HOLST WRITE? :lol:

Link to post
Share on other sites

Ride of the Valkyries is like Also sprach Zarathustra and Peer Gynt: Most people have never heard the real thing.

Now apart from that and the St Pauls Suite and a few church songs WHAT THE HELL ELSE DID HOLST WRITE? ;)

A Choral Symphony and a Hymn of Jesus, neither of which ever made an impression on me.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Both Military Suites are awesome to play. I can't pick favorites, they're both great.

I always forget which one it is - and I should know as a band director - but the one with The Blacksmith Hymn is the one I don't like. We did it once in graduate school using a railroad tie in the percussion section in stead of an anvil or a break drum and everyones ears nearly bled.

Link to post
Share on other sites

That's the third movement of the Second Suite, "Song of the Blacksmith." That one's hard to play because of how frequently the meter changes, meaning the low brass and percussion need to be on the ball to keep the beat going steadily. You know how often THAT'S going to happen.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Any multi-disc set of classical music you can get cheaply is bound to be a good starter set of classical music. Though that set claims to be 101 greats and only lists 99 tracks. Perhaps "Pictures at an Exhibition" includes both Hut on Fowl's Legs and The Great Gate of Kiev sewn together as one track (the only way to listen to it), but claimed to be two pieces like on every other CD. I'd be wary about other pieces like The Sorcerer's Apprentice, William Tell, and the 1812 Overture, which are often abridged for sets like these because they're rather lengthy pieces, and the albums are touting variety and quantity of pieces on sets like this.

The Classical Thunder set by Time-Life is a very fine set, also, if you can get your hands on it, though it sticks to the more bombastic pieces.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Nah. I love playing the middle portion to William Tell, the part that reminds me of commercials for breakfast waffles, to those who have not heard it before. They've no clue what it is until the trumpet kicks in the Lone Ranger's music. Awesome transition.

But if the introduction to the whole Overture (the low part) isn't played fast enough, the...whole...thing...........just...................................drags......

............................................................................

Link to post
Share on other sites
That's the third movement of the Second Suite, "Song of the Blacksmith." That one's hard to play because of how frequently the meter changes, meaning the low brass and percussion need to be on the ball to keep the beat going steadily. You know how often THAT'S going to happen.

First trumpet does too. OYE! Took me a week to get the pattern down.

Link to post
Share on other sites

For an introduction to classical music I wouldn't go with anything really jaunty. Pieces like the 1812 Overture get a bad rap for being pompous and frilly. It's excellent music, of course, but to the uneducated listener it's going to sound like such a cliche. For Tchaikovsky I'd rather go with Swan Lake; it's well known but not bombastic. I'd also get some really ethereal music. Neptune, the Mystic (as I mentioned before), some Chopin, any Debussy... early music, if you think he's up for it, like Machaut and any Renaissance madrigal (Rore, Marenzio and Gesualdo come to mind). Subtle music like that doesn't sound like a good introduction but I know girls who swoon when they hear Clair de Lune (Debussy).

Link to post
Share on other sites
I know girls who swoon when they hear Clair de Lune (Debussy).

I sleep when I hear Clair de Lune. No joke - my wife played it for her senior recital in undergrad. I was out like a light. But, she also did the whole cycle that Clair de Lune is in and Debussy in general puts me out.

If you're going to introduce someone to opera, don't take them to see Wagner either. Start them off subtle, Marriage of Figaro or something along those lines.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Guidelines.