The Planets, Op. 32, is a seven-movement orchestral suite by the English composer Gustav Holst, written between 1914 and 1916. Each movement of the suite is named after a planet of the Solar System and its corresponding astrological character as defined by Holst. With the exception of Earth (the centre of all yet influentially inert astrologically), all the astrological planets known during the work’s composition are represented.
From its premiere to the present day, the suite has been enduringly popular, influential, widely performed and frequently recorded. The work was not heard in a complete public performance, however, until some years after it was completed. Although there were four performances between September 1918 and October 1920, they were all either private (the first performance, in London) or incomplete (two others in London and one in Birmingham). The premiere was at the Queen’s Hall on 29 September 1918, conducted by Holst’s friend Adrian Boult before an invited audience of about 250 people. The first complete public performance was finally given in London by Albert Coates conducting the London Symphony Orchestra on 15 November 1920.
The work is scored for an exceptionally large orchestra:
Woodwind: 4 flutes (3rd doubling 1st piccolo; 4th doubling 2nd piccolo and a “bass flute in G”, actually an alto flute), 3 oboes (3rd doubling bass oboe), an English horn, 3 clarinets in B-flat, a bass clarinet in B-flat, 3 bassoons and a contrabassoon
Brass: 6 horns in F, 4 trumpets in C, 3 trombones (2 tenor and 1 bass), a “tenor tuba” (euphonium in B-flat) and a bass tuba
Keyboards: a celesta, and an organ
Percussion: 6 timpani (2 players, 3 drums each except in “Uranus” having 4 drums for 1st and 2 drums for 2nd), a bass drum, a snare drum, cymbals, a triangle, a tam-tam, a tambourine, a glockenspiel, a xylophone, and tubular bells
Strings: 2 harps, 1st and 2nd violins, violas, cellos, and double basses
Voices: (“Neptune” only), 2 three-part women’s choruses (SSA) located in an adjoining room which is to be screened from the audience
The suite has seven movements, each named after a planet and its corresponding astrological character (see Planets in astrology):
1.Mars, the Bringer of War
2.Venus, the Bringer of Peace
3.Mercury, the Winged Messenger
4.Jupiter, the Bringer of Jollity
5.Saturn, the Bringer of Old Age
6.Uranus, the Magician
7.Neptune, the Mystic
The Planets (Los planetas) op. 32, es la obra más conocida del compositor inglés Gustav Holst y fue compuesta entre 1914 y 1918. Es una suite de siete movimientos a cada uno de los cuales Holst le dio el nombre de un planeta (y su correspondiente deidad en la mitología grecorromana).
The Planets, como reza su subtítulo, es una suite “para gran orquesta”. Instrumentos nada habituales, como la flauta baja o el oboe barítono o bajo y unos nutridos efectivos de percusión (bombo, batería, platillos, Triángulo (instrumento musical), tambor militar, pandereta, gong, campanas, xilófono y glockenspiel, así como dos timbalistas) y metal (6 trompas, 4 trompetas, 3 trombones, tuba tenor y tuba bajo) forman, entre otros, la nómina de la suite. Es quizás la orquesta más grande empleada jamás por Holst.
La suite está formada por los siguientes movimientos:
Marte, el portador de la guerra.
Venus, el portador de la paz.
Mercurio, el mensajero alado.
Júpiter, el portador de la alegría.
Saturno, el portador de la vejez.
Urano, el mago.
Neptuno, el místico.