Learning to Listen: Gustav Holst's The Planets


Learning to Listen: The Planets (full program audio)

58:56


February 10, 2014
Holst: The Planets - Mars
by MPR
Holst: The Planets - Mercury
by MPR
Holst: The Planets - Jupiter
by MPR
Holst: The Planets - Neptune
by MPR
jupiter
This true-color simulated view of Jupiter is composed of 4 images taken by NASA's Cassini spacecraft on December 7, 2000.
NASA/JPL/University of Arizona

It's easy to be deceived into thinking the title to Gustav Holst's epic orchestral suite, The Planets, was inspired by astronomy.

However, Holst was an amateur astrologist, and enjoyed thinking about how the heavenly bodies interact with our Earth.

Each planet has a corresponding astrological character, and these characters were of inspiration to Holst.

"Mars: The Bringer of War" and "Neptune: The Mystic", for instance.

To see how well these descriptors match their planetary homes, I spoke with Dr. Mordecai Mark MacLow, Curator of Astrophysics at the American Museum of Natural History.

Dr. MacLow talks about Mars: {% fetch file="http://www.publicradio.org/tools/media_player/get_player.php?audio=minnesota/classical/programs/learning_to_listen/2014/02/10/clip1_l2l_maclow_mars_20140210_128&type=EMBEDDED" %}

How does Venus compare to the Earth? {% fetch file="http://www.publicradio.org/tools/media_player/get_player.php?audio=minnesota/classical/programs/learning_to_listen/2014/02/10/clip1_l2l_maclow_venus_20140210_128&type=EMBEDDED" %}

I am still telling friends about what Dr. MacLow said about Mercury: {% fetch file="http://www.publicradio.org/tools/media_player/get_player.php?audio=minnesota/classical/programs/learning_to_listen/2014/02/10/clip1_l2l_maclow_mercury_20140210_128&type=EMBEDDED" %}

Dr. MacLow explains how Jupiter protects our Earth: {% fetch file="http://www.publicradio.org/tools/media_player/get_player.php?audio=minnesota/classical/programs/learning_to_listen/2014/02/10/clip1_l2l_maclow_jupiter_20140210_128&type=EMBEDDED" %}

Learn about Saturn's rings from Dr. MacLow: {% fetch file="http://www.publicradio.org/tools/media_player/get_player.php?audio=minnesota/classical/programs/learning_to_listen/2014/02/10/clip1_l2l_maclow_saturn_20140210_128&type=EMBEDDED" %}

Why Uranus and Neptune are called "Ice Giants": {% fetch file="http://www.publicradio.org/tools/media_player/get_player.php?audio=minnesota/classical/programs/learning_to_listen/2014/02/10/clip1_l2l_maclow_uranus_20140210_128&type=EMBEDDED" %}

Hear the story of Pluto's reclassification: {% fetch file="http://www.publicradio.org/tools/media_player/get_player.php?audio=minnesota/classical/programs/learning_to_listen/2014/02/10/clip1_l2l_maclow_neptune_20140210_128&type=EMBEDDED" %}