holst's the planets

#36- The Master of Tension: Holst’s ‘The Planets’

The trio discusses The Planets, Op. 32, a seven-movement orchestral suite by the English composer Gustav Holst, written between 1914 and 1917.

When you first listen to this, you might just be recollecting it— The Planets comes with a long list of imitations churned out by film composers. Karl says, “It’s the form of 20th-century film score.”

You’ll immediately recognize Holst’s ability to create tension with certain musical cues. As an avid astrologer, he brings each of the planets and their corresponding astrological character alive with different styles of orchestration.

The whole score has become a modern classic. But how does it compare to Beethoven? Scott says, “Modern writing shies away from nobility… Beethoven is fine feeding you a steady diet of pure beauty and nobility. This doesn’t have that hope in it that I hear in Beethoven.”

Still, The Planets remains one of the most accessible entrances to classical music. Tune in for more music and ideas, brought to you by onlinegreatbooks.com.

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