Evening Masterwork: Holst’s “The Planet” Suite

Gustav Holst, 1874-1934

The Planets Op. 32 by Gustav Holst

Evening Masterwork for June 24, 2020 – 7:00 PM on Classical WSMR 89.1 and 103.9

It may come as a surprise but Gustav Holst’s orchestral suite The Planets is not about the actual planets in our solar system – rather, he has composed music that takes on the personality of the planets in an astrological sense. There are a couple stories about what exactly inspired the suite to begin with: first, before Holst began work on The Planets he attended a concert featuring Arnold Schoenberg’s “Five Orchestral Pieces,” and initially Holst was going to title The Planets “Seven Orchestral Piece.” Holst also came in contact with a book called “The Art of Synthesis” by Alan Leo, who was an astrologer, and that book was divided into chapters titled after the planets, and described each of their astrological characteristics. This was truly the inspiration for Holst’s suite, and he readily offered this interpretation. The Planets suite by Gustav Holst: our Evening Masterwork tonight at 7 on Classical WSMR.