Gustav Holst was a child of the late 19th-century British Empire, and his orchestral work The Planets was written during the disastrous first two years of World War I, when that empire faced its greatest threat. The music reflects the composer’s sense of longing to find values that were deeper, older and more universal. Holst is famous as a pioneer of the so-called English musical renaissance, but in this suite he looks far beyond the island of Britain and finds inspiration in the ancient cultures of Greece and India, in the myths and fancies of astrology and theosophy, and in the revolutionary musical discoveries of Debussy and Stravinsky.
Chicago Symphony Orchestra
Charles Dutoit, conductor
Women of the Chicago Symphony Chorus
Duain Wolfe, chorus director
Simon McBurney, actor
Gerard McBurney, creative director
Filmed at Orchestra Hall in March, 2008