The Planets by Gustav Holst, one of the most popular and difficult works for full orchestra, will be presented by Redwood Symphony under the direction of Maestro Eric Kujawsky at 8 p.m. Nov. 23 in the Main Theater of Cañada College, 4200 Farm Hill Blvd., Redwood City.
The program also will include one of Mozart’s greatest works, Piano Concerto No. 23, with soloist Jeffrey Jones, as well as Rimsky-Korsakov’s Dance of the Tumblers and Raymond Scott’s Powerhouse. Don’t recognize that name? Scott’s wonderfully quirky and original jazz band music was sold to Warner Brothers in the 1930s, where it was discovered by Carl Stalling, who in turn adapted Powerhouse for use in many of his scores for the classic Looney Tunes and Merry Melodies shorts.
The Planets, taken on its own, is an incredibly effective and brilliant showpiece for an augmented orchestra that includes rarities like the alto flute, organ and a wordless women’s choir. Add to that the mysteries and mysticism surrounding astronomy, astrology and Greek/Roman mythology and you have a work that has captivated imaginations for nearly a century.
Each of the seven movements reflects a planet in our solar system and evokes that planet’s astrological or mythological significance. Earth isn’t included, and Pluto hadn’t been discovered yet (but then it's been voted out of the club any way). Mars, The Bringer of War, is a terrifying march in 5/4 time, one that ends in utter annihilation. Uranus, the Magician, is a kind of Sorcerer’s Apprentice on steroids with two timpanists battling it out.
Tickets from $10-$30 are available at RedwoodSymphony.org. Kujawsky’s pre-concert talk will begin at 7 p.m.
Redwood Symphony is an all-volunteer orchestra dedicated to the performance of ambitious, contemporary repertoire as well as the great orchestral classics. Its August 2012 performance of the Berlioz Requiem at Davies Symphony Hall in San Francisco was critically acclaimed.