Holst : The Planets

I enjoy classical music but it doesn’t form the bulk of my music collection. One collection of classical music I am particularly fond of however is Gustav Holst’s “The Planets”. The music takes you on a magical journey of war, peace, mystery and serenity all wrapped up in a package we are all familiar with – our solar system. I first heard The Planets as a child on vinyl and have enjoyed it ever since.

It was therefore with great pleasure that I was able to see my first ever live performance of The Planets at the town hall in Leeds, performed by the Leeds University Music Society orchestra. Heather and I got tickets at the last minute but I’m so glad we did as the performance was breathtaking. I knew the music practically note for note but even so I was still amazed by the sound. It filled the hall and the orchestra really used the building to the best possible advantage. Jupiter is my favorite piece and was played to absolute perfection. You could have heard a pin drop when it ended – everyone was so caught up in it.

My favorite part of the whole concert however had to be Neptune, right at the end, where a choir sing a set of notes that fade out that are really rather desolate and haunting. They made use of the concert hall however in this performance by the choir filing out while still singing and then walking along the corridors at the top so although getting fainter by the second it seemed to be filling the room more. Magic just doesn’t do this performance justice.

I must praise the Music Society orchestra for their superb level of skill and commitment. This was quite simply the best charity concert I have ever been to and I will most certainly be supporting them in their classical music efforts next year.


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