Lockdown Lesson 4


The names of the movements in the order you heard them are:

  1. Mars, the Bringer of War (I)
  2. Saturn, the Bringer of Old Age (V)
  3. Jupiter, the Bringer of Jollity (IV)
  4. Venus, the Bringer of Peace (II)
  5. Uranus, the Magician (VI)
  6. Mercury, the Winged Messenger (III)
  7. Neptune, the Mystic (VII)

How many did you get right?

Even though Pluto had been discovered by the time Holst wrote the planets, he didn’t include it in the suite – possibly because the idea of a new planet confused astrologists. A few years ago, NASA declared that they no longer consider Pluto a planet, so perhaps Holst was on to something!

However, back when Pluto was considered a planet, some composers and conductors wrote an 8th movement, in honour of Holst (although possibly against his beliefs!).

Here is one, an improvisation by Leonard Bernstein and the New York Philharmonic Orchestra. An improvisation means the music is not written down or planned before hand – they are making it up on the spot! Because of this, the piece is named Pluto, the Unpredictable! Prepare for some very strange music…