Appendix 9: Music for the Planets

cd cover

The Planets


Most of the music on The Nine Planets is taken from the recording of The Planets op. 32 by Gustav Holst by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by André Previn (Telarc 80133); the Pluto piece is from a different recording (see below). Click to play excerpts from each movement:

  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

  8. Pluto, the Renewer

Other planetary music:

Haydn: Symphony No. 43 in E flat major ("Mercury"), H. 1/43
Haydn wrote over 100 symphonies most of which, like this one, are not very memorable. Available only in box sets with other obscure works.
Mozart: Symphony No. 41 In C Major K. 551 ("Jupiter")
By far the best piece of music on this list. This is one of Mozart's best. And that's saying a lot!
Berners: Triumph of Neptune
Hovhaness: Saturn, Op.243
Lully: Le Grand Divertissement Royal de Versailles, devertissement / comedie, LWV 38 Les suivants de Neptune
I know nothing about these three.
Dvorak: Rusalka
One song in this opera is about the Moon.
Mathews: Pluto: The Renewer
Holst completed "The Planets" in 1917, before the discovery of Pluto. Though he lived until 1934, a few years after Pluto's discovery, he never added a final movement. Colin Mathews rectified that omission with this new piece which I have used on the Pluto page. It is available along with another recording of The Planets by The Hallé Orchestra conducted by Mark Elder.

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Bill Arnett; last updated: 2004 May 28