Early twentieth century English composer Gustav Holst made his mark in human history when he created The Planets. His most famous work, and also his finest, The Planets are innovative, creative, and inspire the child-like wonderment of the universe that we all contain somewhere in our psyche. Each movement of this orchestral suite is named after a planet and the celestial underpinnings. They are named as such:
I. Mars, The Bringer of War
II. Venus, The Bringer of Peace
III. Mercury, The Winged Messenger
IV. Jupiter, The Bringer of Jollity
V. Saturn, The Bringer of Old Age
VI. Uranus, The Magician
VII. Neptune, The Mystic
“Jupiter” is the most extroverted composition Holst managed to write in his lifetime. It is a spectacular gem because it rejects the typical early 20th century English style that tended to be complacent and heavily influenced by English folk music. Originally Zeus in Greek Mythology, Jupiter later received that title from the Romans as the Jovial King of the Gods. The orchestral instrumentation is thereby grand, brassy, bold, and undeniably optimistic.
I would also like to congratulate the International Astronomical Union for their recent vote demoting Pluto to a dwarf planet; Holst’s suite is thereby still accurate, as we did not know about Pluto in 1916!
Stream: “Jupiter, The Bringer of Jollity” from The Planets