Holst: Uranus, The Magician from "The Planets" (Solar System Suite, Part VIII)

Christopher MacIntyre
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The Planets, Op. 32, is an orchestral suite by the English composer Gustav Holst, written between 1914 and 1916.

From its premiere to the present day, the suite has been enduringly popular, influential, widely performed and frequently recorded. However, it was only some years after the work was completed that The Planets was first heard complete in a public performance.

The concept of the work is astrological rather than astronomical (which is why Earth is not included): each movement is intended to convey ideas and emotions associated with the influence of the planets on the psyche, not the Roman deities. The idea of the work was suggested to Holst by Clifford Bax, who introduced him to astrology when the two were part of a small group of English artists holidaying in Majorca in the spring of 1913; Holst became quite a devotee of the subject, and liked to cast his friends' horoscopes for fun.

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