Get ready to blast off with one of the most recognizable pieces of music ever written. The Saskatoon Symphony Orchestra will take audiences on an exploration of deep space with its performance of Gustav Holst’s The Planets this Saturday.
“This music is big, it’s bold, crazy, and some of the most important music ever written.” says SSO executive director Mark Turner. “The Planets is one of those works that’s more than just good music, it inspired an entire generation. Most young musicians play at least one of these pieces in high school and it’s the music that inspired other composers like John Williams (Star Wars) and Hans Zimmer (Gladiator).”
“This music is big, it’s bold, crazy, and some of the most important music ever written.”
Each work in the seven movement suite depicts a different planet in the solar system. The SSO will heighten the experience by projecting NASA footage edited specifically for the music behind the orchestra as it performs.
“It’s a powerful experience to see the planets as the music is expressing them,” says Turner. “The video has been built from satellite imagery and footage from the Mars rover. It gives you a sense you are there, moving over the terrain, experiencing it first hand.”
In a symphony first, the orchestra will pair The Planets with Canadian composer Heather Schmidt’s Lunar Reflections. The five-moon suite will be interwoven with the Holst movements as part of the celestial journey.
“If you’re putting The Planets on a program, you either have to let it stand alone or pair it with something that can hold its own and make sense,” says Turner. “We made it our goal this year to have a living female composer on each program and this was a natural and deserving fit.”
In a special partnership, the Saskatoon chapter of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada will be on hand in the lobby so concert-goers can learn more about our universe. Members will have telescopes set up for audiences to see and be on hand to answer questions about the science of it all.
This evening is a chance for new audience members to experiment with orchestral music because many of the pieces are so easily recognizable.
“Elements from The Planets especially movements like Mars and Jupiter are instantly recognizable and used in television and movies today,” says Turner. “This is music that changed the way we hear and experience music in the 20th century and it still endures more than 100 years after it was written. We can’t wait for audiences to explore space with us.”