This month in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing I am taking a look at pieces inspired by space and science. The Listen Here buttons connect to Spotify where you can listen to pieces.
Colin Matthews - Pluto the Renewer
When Gustav Holst finished his iconic work "The Planets" in 1917, Pluto had yet to be discovered. Six years ago, British composer Colin Matthews was commissioned to round out the set. He called his composition "Pluto, the Renewer."
In the meantime, of course, we're back to eight classical planets again. Pluto has been booted out of the planetary club. Thanks though to the New Horizons probe and it’s awe inspiring images Pluto continues to inspire.
Phillip Glass - Einstein on the Beach
It is well known that Einstein was fond of music, playing the violin and piano while enjoying Bach and Beethoven’s work. But as someone who was left cold by Debussy and Wagner, one can only imagine what he might have thought of Glass’s first opera, Einstein on the Beach. The work gets rid of usual orchestral arrangements of operas in favour of simply synthesisers, woodwind and voices, and has four acts, stretching over five hours, without a specific plot, but making reference to events throughout Einstein’s life.
Gustav Holtz - The Planets Suite
As he entered his forties, Gustav Holst became fascinated with spirituality and astrology, It resulted in The Planets, an orchestral suite in seven movements, one of the most famous orchestral pieces in the history of British classical music. Each movement is named after a planet in the solar system, from the vicious ‘Mars, the Bringer of War’, through to the triumphant ‘Jupiter, the bringer of Jollity’. It takes influence from Holst’s life and events of the time – 'Mars' was written shortly after the outbreak of World War I.
Here is an audio representation of the the real sounds of our planets.