Learning to Listen: Gustav Holst's The Planets

by Emily Reese, Minnesota Public Radio
February 10, 2014

St. Paul, Minn. — 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:
How does Venus compare to the Earth?
I am still telling friends about what Dr. MacLow said about Mercury:
Dr. MacLow explains how Jupiter protects our Earth:
Learn about Saturn's rings from Dr. MacLow:
Why Uranus and Neptune are called "Ice Giants":
Hear the story of Pluto's reclassification:

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