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jakeem

Centennial of Holst's "The Planets"

35 posts in this topic

On 9/29/2018 at 1:50 PM, misswonderly3 said:

I love Holst's "The Planets" suite. I learned a bit about classical music from my parents, especially my father, who played from his classical record collection all  the time.  I remember him playing "The Planets" and talking to me about the different planet compositions, the personality, so to speak, of each planet.  And as we know, the planets are named after Greek and Roman gods, so each musical piece kind of reflects the character of the god the planet is named after. My two favourites are "Jupiter", because it's so triumphant and happy sounding, and "Saturn", because it's mysterious and eerie.

It's not surprising this music has been used, either directly or via influencing sountrack composers, in movies. 

By the way, Frank Zappa loved the "Planets" suite and made musical allusions to it sometimes.

edit: I was mistaken, it's not "Saturn"  that's the "mysterious" piece, it's "Neptune" . (Aren't you all glad I corrected that? ?

Ditto! Miss Wonderly said all I could have tried to say, most eloquently.

Thanks for Jakeem for the original anniversary information post also!

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Saturn is a fave. Old Age is equated with Wisdom, assuredly. The opening is wonderfully contemplative, I nearly see an old being who knows everything, not from studying anything but by sheer absorption. The ending veers toward the Spiritual plane, a sort of apotheosis of the embodiment of Higher Consciousness. I can hardly listen to Jupiter without wanting to run around the block a few times. So exhilarating! (Well, now that I am approaching old age [without the wisdom, alas] I may curtail to a half a block but mentally no drop in feeling). I hope this isn't sacrilegious (since we are in the ethereal vein) to say that had Holtz written a Pluto, the music of Neptune would have fit. This latter as is conveys such a feeling a deep space. And who is more spacey deep-wise that good old Pluto. I could have been a planet immortalized by great music, instead I'm just a dog. Mercury consists of musical fragments of great zest and verve. I would to if I were that close to the Sun.

My favorite recording is Stokowsky/L.A. Philharmonic) in a 1956 recording. It's on the Tube but is not just done justice, fedality (sp?) wise. I have a restored version on CD. This was recorded with the term "Living Presence" on the LP which sounds like a catchword. But it meant something. The recording was a relatively simple process with few microphones. The recordings do in fact with this designation attached sound much less as having piped through the electronic process and comes off as if you were in the hall, relatively speaking that is. Stokowsky in perfection IMO in his rendition.

This was hands down Holtz most famous work. He is very nearly a one-hit wonder. The distant second place finisher would be the St Paul's suite, written for a Girls' School in England. Quite a different thing altogether.

 

 

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Anyone who enjoys English music should investigate more of Holst's music. The St. Paul's Suite is only one example, but a good place to start.

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I believe my introduction to Holst was this trailer for the 1984 drama "Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes."

Directed by Hugh Hudson ("Chariots of Fire"), the film starred Christopher Lambert, Andie MacDowell (although Glenn Close dubbed her voice), Sir Ralph Richardson (who received a posthumous Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor), Sir Ian Holm, James Fox, Ian Charleson and David Suchet.

Sounds as if the trailer was narrated by the late voiceover specialist Don LaFontaine ("In a world...).

 

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6 hours ago, kingrat said:

Anyone who enjoys English music should investigate more of Holst's music. The St. Paul's Suite is only one example, but a good place to start.

I never really considered "The Planets" to be strictly English music, just very well composed orchestral music.  

And Edward White's "Puffin' Billy" (used as the theme music for "Captain Kangaroo") also doesn't sound(to me) particularily "British" or English( if you will).  ;)

Sepiatone

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18 minutes ago, Sepiatone said:

I never really considered "The Planets" to be strictly English music, just very well composed orchestral music.  

And Edward White's "Puffin' Billy" (used as the theme music for "Captain Kangaroo") also doesn't sound(to me) particularily "British" or English( if you will).  ;)

You mean the "Captain Kangaroo" theme wasn't written for the show?

By the way, my older brother swears that "Captain Kangaroo" used to feature a song by Bing Crosby about Daniel Boone.

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51 minutes ago, jakeem said:

You mean the "Captain Kangaroo" theme wasn't written for the show?

By the way, my older brother swears that "Captain Kangaroo" used to feature a song by Bing Crosby about Daniel Boone.

Although I have a pretty sizable collection of Crosby recordings (and was a Captain Kangaroo viewer as a child), I didn't remember this song, so I did some research.  I think the one your brother is referring to is "An Incident on Rogers Creek" from 1957.  Some of the YouTube commenters mention that Captain Kangaroo played it:

By the way, thanks, Sepiatone, for noting that "Puffin' Billy" was used as the Captain's theme song.  I, too, thought the piece was written for the show.  I just listened, and it's great to hear it again!

And to get back to Holst, Jupiter is my favorite of "The Planets," although I enjoy the others, too.  As to versions, I have the von Karajan/Berlin Philharmonic and the William Steinberg/Boston Symphony recordings.  Von Karajan was the first version I knew, so it has remained my favorite, although I like the Steinberg/Boston version very much, too.  In fact, it's hard to imagine not liking any well-played version of Jupiter.

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24 minutes ago, BingFan said:

Although I have a pretty sizable collection of Crosby recordings (and was a Captain Kangaroo viewer as a child), I didn't remember this song, so I did some research.  I think the one your brother is referring to is "An Incident on Rogers Creek" from 1957.  Some of the YouTube commenters mention that Captain Kangaroo played it

Wow! Thanks, BingFan!

I did a little research, too, and it turns out that the song was on Crosby's 1957 album for children titled "A Christmas Story: An Axe, An Apple and a Buckskin Jacket."

Image result for bing crosby a christmas story -- an ax, an apple and a buckskin jacket

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24 minutes ago, jakeem said:

Wow! Thanks, BingFan!

I did a little research, too, and it turns out that the song was on Crosby's 1957 album for children titled "A Christmas Story: An Axe, An Apple and a Buckskin Jacket."

Image result for bing crosby a christmas story -- an ax, an apple and a buckskin jacket

Thanks for finding that record -- I don't think I've ever seen it before.  I love old album covers -- esp. Bing's!

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22 hours ago, BingFan said:

 

By the way, thanks, Sepiatone, for noting that "Puffin' Billy" was used as the Captain's theme song.  I, too, thought the piece was written for the show.  I just listened, and it's great to hear it again!

 

Back in the late '70's, a buddy of mine at work told me the theme was some classical piece, although he(at the time) couldn't recall just which one.  Took me until 1990 to discover just which piece was used by actually writing a letter( then being the "pre e-mail" days) to BOB KEESHAN and recieving a handwritten reply( still framed and hanging on my wall!) informing me of what it was. 

And incidentally,  considering "Jupiter", it was used as the opening theme for a local TV station's Saturday night movie presentation program around from '78-'82 or so...

Sepiatone

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