Planets, The (Schrijvers)

From Wind Repertory Project
Gustav Holst

Gustav Holst (trans. Schrijvers)

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General Info

Year: 1916 / 2005
Duration: c. 55:00
Difficulty: VI (see Ratings for explanation)
Original Medium: Orchestra
Publisher: Molenaar Edition
Cost: Score and Parts (print) - €562.34


1. Mars, The Bringer of War - 7:45
2. Venus, The Bringer of Peace - 8:35
3. Mercury, The Winged Messenger - 4:50
4. Jupiter, The Bringer of Jollity 8:50
5. Saturn, The Bringer of Old Age - 9:40
6. Uranus, The Magician - 6:00
7. Neptune, The Mystic - 7:55


Full Score
C Piccolo I-II
Flute I-II
Oboe I-II
English Horn
Bassoon I-II-III
E-flat Soprano Clarinet
B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-II-III
E-flat Alto Clarinet
B-flat Bass Clarinet
B-flat Contrabass Clarinet
B-flat Soprano Saxophone
E-flat Alto Saxophone I-II
B-flat Tenor Saxophone
E-flat Baritone Saxophone
Flugelhorn I-II
B-flat Trumpet I-II-III
Horn in F I-II-III-IV-V
Trombone I-II-III
Euphonium I-II
String Bass
Harp I-II
Percussion I-II-III

(percussion detail desired)


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

Together with his friend and follow composer Ralph Vaughan Williams, Holst played a major role in reenergizing English concert music by injecting it with the spirit, and at times the letter, of the country's folk music. Both composers also created music in a more cosmopolitan style, such as this engaging, brilliantly scored suite for orchestra. The Planets is widely thought of as Holst's most popular composition, much to his chagrin.

When it came to outside interests, Holst usually concerned himself only with those that stimulated his creative imagination. During a tour of Spain in 1913, a fellow traveler, author Clifford Bax, introduced him to astrology. Soon afterwards, Holst wrote a friend, “...recently the character of each planet suggested lots to me, and I have been studying astrology fairly closely."

The large-scale orchestral suite that resulted from this interest depicts the astrological characters of seven planets in our solar system (he didn’t include Earth since it is astrologically inert, and Pluto had yet to be discovered). These characters differ from their mythological personalities, although Holst's portrait of Venus manages to conjure both her mythological beauty and her astrological peacefulness.

- Program note by Kathy Boster

The Planets, composed for orchestra in 1915, is a suite of seven tone poems, each describing symbolically a different planet. The work has insistent odd meters of five and seven beats, thick streams of parallel triads, and an opulent instrumentation. The entire suite was first performed for a private audience in 1918 and in public, without Venus and Neptune, in 1919.

- Program Note from Program Notes for Band


State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

  • Northeastern State University (Tahlequah, Okla.) Wind Ensemble (James Adams, conductor) – 17 November 2017

Works for Winds by This Composer

Adaptable Music

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