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Gustav Holst: "The Planets"


Saturday, March 4, 2017 at 8:00 p.m.

Buckley Recital Hall, Arms Music Center


Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872-1958): Five Mystical Songs for

                                               baritone & orchestra (1911)

        Mallorie Chernin, Music Director of the Amherst College Choral Society,


        David McFerrin, guest soloist


Gustav Holst (1874-1934): The Planets (1916)


In its annual collaboration, the ASO joins forces with with the Amherst College Choral Society, Mallorie Chernin, Director, & Conductor, and the gifted guest baritone David McFerrin to perform the deeply spiritual Five Mystical Songs by English composer Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872-1958). Set to religious texts on universal topics of love, redemption and the Resurrection by the Welsh Anglican minister George Herbert (1593-1633) the Five Mystical Songs are powerful, authentic meditations on crucial aspects of our personal existence.  (Interestingly, Vaughan Williams was an avowed agnostic!)


Following intermission the ASO will be joined by women of the Choral Society to perform perhaps the most popular orchestral suite in the literature: The Planets (1916) by Gustav Holst (1874-1924).  Often mischaracterized as mere musical pictures of the seven then-known planets of our solar system (Earth is not represented), The Planets is better understood as depictions of different aspects of the human character, whether bellicose (Mars), jolly (Jupiter), or mystical (Neptune, in the most famous "fade out" in classical music other than Haydn's Farewell Symphony).  Holst himself grew weary of the immense popularity of The Planets, and demurred when asked to write an eighth movement inspired by Pluto when that body was discovered in 1930.





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