The Royal Philharmonic bring a space themed odyssey of classical works and film music to The Bridgewater hall this season. Headlined by Holst’s The Planets, you will be transported through Strauss, Bach, Beethoven and John Williams before arriving at the English composer’s vivacious suite. Although it was originally written with the inspiration of astrology, The Planets will be accompanied by a series of images from our solar system, captured by NASA space probes. The footage will be shown in HD on a large screen above the orchestra and has been edited by award-winning producer/director Duncan Copp.
The evening concert begins with Also Sprach Zarathustra, Richard Strauss’s immense orchestral tone poem made famous by the opening sunrise shot of Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey. The large scale of this piece, which grows from a single bass note, sets the tone for the rest for the programme to follow. Directly after this impressive opening is Johann Strauss II’s, more light-hearted, Blue Danube. Also used in 2001 this well known and well loved piece offers a breath of fresh air in the concert.
You will be taken on a journey through our skies with Holst’s decadent orchestration and memorable tunes.
Following this tribute to the 1968 epic is Stokowski’s orchestral arrangement of Bach’s Toccata and Fugue as well as the second movement from Beethoven 7. These two dark works with brooding personalities pave the way for John Williams’s main theme from Star Wars to lift the mood with its triumphant brass. Although it may be based on a fictional version of space, this joyfully bright score is a celebration of imagination.
Finally, before Holst’s suite, there will be a showing of interviews from NASA to really put you in the head space of someone travelling through the solar system. The Planets is a collection of short pieces, one for every planet – with the exception of earth, in which the personality of each sphere is captured. From the ferocious rhythmic war song of Mars and eerie mysticism of Neptune to the free jollity of Jupiter. You will be taken on a journey through our skies with Holst’s decadent orchestration and memorable tunes.