I successfully squeezed in my 45 minute pool run in this evening after subbing a spin class in Niagara Falls and now HRH and I are sitting down to a bowl of mommy’s cashew chicken and another selection from our Cornball collection of anthems, ‘The Planets, Op.32‘ a soundtrack by Gustov Holst.
First of all, I knew nothing about this album other than I knew the second I saw it that it had to come home with me. I mean, look – look – at that album cover. The tights, the Tutankhamen necklaces and wristbands, the laser guns, the boots-slash-sandals, the exposed woman’s crotch – this shit is Simply the Tits.
Little did I know it would be another fine example of the “Space-Age Exotica” genre I’ve just started to acknowledge and appreciate only this afternoon.
‘The Planets’, is a seven-movement orchestral suite by the English composer Gustav Holst, written between 1914 and 1916. Each movement of the suite is named after a planet of the Solar System and its corresponding astrological character as defined by Holst.
Just look at this selection of tracks:
- Mars, the Bringer of War
- Venus, the Bringer of Peace
- Mercury, the Winged Messenger
- Jupiter, the Bringer of Jollity
- Saturn, the Bringer of Old Age
- Uranus, the Magician
- Neptune, the Mystic
I can barely contain myself I’m so giddy.
From its premiere to the present day, the suite has been enduringly popular, influential, widely performed and frequently recorded. The work was not heard in a complete public performance, however, until some years after it was completed. Although there were four performances between September 1918 and October 1920, they were all either private (the first performance, in London) or incomplete (two others in London and one in Birmingham). The premiere was at the Queen’s Hall on 29 September 1918, conducted by Holst’s friend Adrian Boult before an invited audience of about 250 people. This particular performance, however, was made in 1967 by the Vienna State Opera Orchestra and Academy Chorus.
Now what the fuck any of this has to do with those two camp space beings on the front cover, I have no fucking idea.
Truth is, I don’t give a flying shit either but it’s definitely all the better for having it.
However, what I did learn about this particular suite of music that I didn’t know, is that this is was the actual inspiration for composer John Williams to compose what we now regard as the popular Star Wars soundtrack, and I can definitely her that in this recording. Even the squatting space warrior chick is reminiscent of Princess Leia on the Return of the Jedi poster just…better. Likewise, do you think it’s some weird coinky-dink that the art director for this album is named Peter Whorf? I don’t think so.
Not bad for a $5.00 impulse buy, eh?
I know you’re jealous.