LSM Newswire

Monday, October 27, 2008

WSO Deconstructs the Planets

WSO Deconstructs Music, Science, Mythology in The Planets

OCTOBER 27, 2008 - Music is inspired by a variety of, sometimes opposing ideas. In 1914, composer Gutav Holst drew on his interests in astrology and astronomy to create The Planets, now one of the most popular classical works by any British composer. On Thursday, October 30 and Saturday, November 1, the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra presents The Planets in a new way, exploring both the science and mythology behind Holt's famous piece. The science aspect will be represented through visuals of the solar system, displayed throughout the piece to enhance the musical imagery. Volunteers from the Manitoba Museum Planetarium and the Manitoba branch of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada will also be available in the lobby prior to the performance to provide audience members an even more interactive experience. "We will have telescopes and other equipment on hand for people to try," said Scott Young, Planetarium Manager. "We hope to give people a better idea of what astronomy is all about and, in turn, get them excited about what we do."

The astrological origins of The Planets will be explored at Thursday's Musically Speaking concert, where conductor and host Alexander Mickelthwate will deconstruct each of the piece's seven movements. Each distinct movement represents the astrological perceptions of a planet: Mars (Bringer of War), Venus (Bringer of Peace), Mercury (the Winged Messenger), Jupiter (Bringer of Jollity), Saturn (Bringer of Old Age), Uranus (the Magician) and Neptune (the Mystic). Thursday night's concert also gives Manitobans a second opportunity to experience this season's new Musically Speaking format. Concertgoers are invited to an after-party on the Piano Nobile mezzanine featuring live entertainment, this week, from local rock/alternative band HundredFold.

For the Saturday Masterworks concert, The Planets will be paired with the world premiere of Red Zen, a new piece by WSO Composer in Residence Vincent Ho. According to Ho, like The Planets, his piece was also inspired by a fusion of ideas. "The creation of Red Zen was part of my ongoing creative and spiritual journey in discovering the confluence of Eastern and Western musical languages," said Ho. "So, my piece should match well with The Planets, a piece that combines music with science and mythology." The Planets Plugged In plays Thursday, October 30 at 8 p.m., followed by The Planets on Saturday, November 1 at 8 p.m. Tickets range from $25 to $61 and are available through the WSO box office at 949-3999 on online at

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