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Walking on the Moon

Holst The Planets.


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I remember when i first heard the planets symphony (in record form, or it may have been cassette), entranced isn't the word, especially Neptune with all the womanly choirs.

Just listening to Venus just now, had forgotten how amazing that was, then i played Mercury, then i thjought about what was known in Mr Holst's time about the planets, a quick search tells us he was born in 1874 and died in 1934, but i know notihng about astronomical history so it was interesting to look at what information was available to him as an artist, what did he base Mercury on for instance? In modern times being Mercurial (not that it's used often these days) means that you are a little unreliable, change-with-the-wind, bit of an airhead, stuff like that. When you listen to Mercury it has that kind of flighty cadence! It's all very quick and light and cagey.

So i found myself wondering where this characterisation of planets came from, Mars being equated with war, Venus with love etc. I'm roughly versed in Roman history which tells us they took their gods from thje Greeks abd the Greek inheritance is fairly obscure beyond Pelaginas (spelling?).

I've just realised it's late here in the UK and i'm rambling coz i've had one too many. Basciically i just love the planets by Holst, especially Neptune.


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It doesn't matter where the inspiration came from, it's one of the best pieces of music of all time. There is nothing like it and it's like nothing else. A sort of Kate Bush of the classical world :smile:

I've had many different versions over the years. My favourite for a while has been the Decca Montreal/Dutoit recording (1987).

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Just for the record, (pun not intended), a 'new' version also includes Pluto, (and orchestral pieces for some of the asteroids/minor planets).

Pluto and the 'new' pieces were composed in 2000. I did listen to the premier of it a few years later, (including the 'original') on BBC Radio 3 or Classic FM.

Edited by Philip R
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1 hour ago, Knight of Clear Skies said:

I have a bit of a soft spot for Mars, and the middle section of Jupiter that bizarrely yet somehow appropriately turns up in Conan the Barbarian.

Holst's lesser known NGC suite is a bit a drag though, taking 3 days to perform.

Yes i cant help listen to part of Jupiter and not think of the cannibalistic orgy scene in Conan. But then there are other bits of it that provoke such nostalgic reactions in me i feel it should be adopted as the national anthem.

Regarding the origins of the Greek gods many of them were derived from earlier Egyptian gods, reamed and revamped to suit their needs. In turn the Egyptians gods were largely acquired from gods of those they conquered and governed and added to their own pantheon of deities. The Egyptians saw no conflict or had no issue with running new gods alongside their own even if the gods performed the same role, they were just simply absorbed into the religious practices.


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11 minutes ago, symesie04 said:

 they were just simply absorbed into the religious practices.

As were many aspects of ology carried over into the onomy.

( I think I am safe to mention that ? as I am not the first to mention the  ology in this thread. !  ) (do ologers spend as much time dis.ing onomers as we do they ? :( )

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