There are so many fantastic pieces of music for orchestra, but Gustav Holst's Planets Suite is one of my favourites. Holst writes one movement representing each planet (except for Earth and Pluto, which hadn't been discovered when this piece was written). In these pieces you can hear a huge range of the different sounds an orchestra can make. This is Mars, the Roman God of War, and you can hear a lot of military music here, with the march rhythms in the strings and percussion and the fanfares from the very large brass section.

 

Venus is next on our trip through the planets (you may have noticed they do not come in the right order!) I have a theory that it was this piece that inspired John Williams when he was writing the music to the film Star Wars. Planets - Star Wars, it is quite easy to see the connection. The haunting calm of the opening french horn solo is similar to that used by Williams for Han Solo's theme. If you've never seen Star Wars - go and see it!

 

Mercury in Roman mythology was a winged messenger who would carry messages between the gods. You can hear him flying about in the sky in the quick playing from the strings darting up and down at great speed

 

The jolly giant, Jupiter is the largest planet and was the King of the Roman gods. The central theme of this movement beginning at about 3:00 has become very well known through out the world.

 

A very different character greets us as we reach Saturn on our trip through the solar system. In Roman myths Saturn was a god associated with old age and death. A very slow tempo and a plodding bassline give a very heavy and tired feeling to the music.

 

With Uranus we are dealing with a mysterious and unpredictable character. Changing mood very quickly the music shifts from fast string passages to long ominous brass chords.

 

We're well out into deep space by the time we reach Neptune. Twinkling stars and planets can be heard in the distance as a mystical choir echos from some distant galaxy to complete the piece.

 

Mars

There are so many fantastic pieces of music for orchestra, but Gustav Holst's Planets Suite is one of my favourites. Holst writes one movement representing each planet (except for Earth and Pluto, which hadn't been discovered when this piece was written). In these pieces you can hear a huge range of the different sounds an orchestra can make. This is Mars, the Roman God of War, and you can hear a lot of military music here, with the march rhythms in the strings and percussion and the fanfares from the very large brass section.

Venus

Venus is next on our trip through the planets (you may have noticed they do not come in the right order!) I have a theory that it was this piece that inspired John Williams when he was writing the music to the film Star Wars. Planets - Star Wars, it is quite easy to see the connection. The haunting calm of the opening french horn solo is similar to that used by Williams for Han Solo's theme. If you've never seen Star Wars - go and see it!

Mercury

Mercury in Roman mythology was a winged messenger who would carry messages between the gods. You can hear him flying about in the sky in the quick playing from the strings darting up and down at great speed

Jupiter

The jolly giant, Jupiter is the largest planet and was the King of the Roman gods. The central theme of this movement beginning at about 3:00 has become very well known through out the world.

Saturn

A very different character greets us as we reach Saturn on our trip through the solar system. In Roman myths Saturn was a god associated with old age and death. A very slow tempo and a plodding bassline give a very heavy and tired feeling to the music.

Uranus

With Uranus we are dealing with a mysterious and unpredictable character. Changing mood very quickly the music shifts from fast string passages to long ominous brass chords.

Neptune

We're well out into deep space by the time we reach Neptune. Twinkling stars and planets can be heard in the distance as a mystical choir echos from some distant galaxy to complete the piece.