The Planets – An HD Odyssey


Callum previews the April 26, 2014 CSO MasterWorks program, talks about rehearsal, and then “reviews” the concert:

This concert, which will be the final MasterWorks concert of the season, will be really awesome. The first piece will be Mozart’s Symphony No. 41. It’s called “Jupiter” – but Mozart didn’t originally call it that. It was titled that after he died. I think it was named Jupiter after the Roman god, not the planet, but they still included it in this program. I heard this piece played by the Canton Symphony Orchestra at Lions Lincoln Theatre conducted by Matthew Brown, who was the assistant conductor at the time. It was awesome. It says in the program notes “After moving from Salzburg to Vienna in 1781, Mozart had been singularly unsuccessful in his efforts to earn a living as a free-lance composer in the Austrian capital.” That is really sad because he was obviously an amazing composer, and he shouldn’t be in a situation like that.

Then on the second half of the concert, they are playing Holst’s Planets. The first movement is Mars, the Bringer of War. I noticed that in the Mario games, the Airship theme (especially the Super Smash Bros. Brawl version, which is my personal favorite) sounds very, very similar to this movement. The person who wrote the music was probably inspired by that movement. I think that makes sense because the Airship is a warship. Here’s a video of me playing a little bit of that Mario theme a few years ago. Then I start playing one of the keyboards with my foot (forgetting that I could have used the pedals on the organ)…


I really love this whole Holst piece. It is so awesome. Saturn, The Bringer of Old Age is another movement that stands out to me. It’s kind of scary. When I hear both Holst and Pink Floyd, they both remind me of space. In Neptune, the Mystic the chorus reminds me a little bit of some music from the game Portal 2, a track called Ghost of Rattman. My dad and I watched a video that we have about the planets narrated by Patrick Stewart. The music was Holst’s Planets, but redone in a version by Isao Tomita, a Japanese musician who played it on the Moog and other synthesizers. The synthesizer sounds were a bit dated, and some of them sounded really old and even funny, but some of that was intentional. In the video, when the rocket was launching, the sounds were made by his Moog. Part of Tomita’s version reminds me of Minecraft music because of the sounds he used. My awesome piano teacher, Matt Riddle, was playing his mini-Moog at the Going for the One concert in Cleveland on Friday, and it was really cool as always. I really want one someday, so badly. Robert Moog was an absolute genius. Here’s some video of Matt playing his Moog: Starship Trooper


My dad and I went to the rehearsal and stayed only for the Holst. I loved it though, and it was really cool. I loved the footage on the screen. I thought they were going to have the screen hanging over the front of the stage, above the orchestra, like they did for the Civil War themed concert a few seasons ago. But instead, they used the new screen that they added this year, which is really awesome. The orchestra played so well as always. They’re amazing. I really loved the women’s choir in the end of Neptune the Mystic because it was really creepy and mysterious. They were singing outside of one of the entrances to the hall. They had a TV out there so that they could see Mr. Zimmermann conducting. They sang really well, and it sounded really difficult to sing, with really weird harmonies.


So then we went to the concert, which ended up being sold out, which was awesome. I wish they would all sell out.  There were some instruments that I wasn’t used to seeing in the orchestra like an alto flute, bass oboe, tenor tuba, and keyboards. The orchestra played the Mozart so well. They sounded amazing. There were no trombones or tubas. There were only two trumpets, and two French horns. I was really surprised that I could hear the trumpets so well, and that they had such a full sound, because there were only two of them during this piece. There were no other percussionists up on stage for this piece other than the timpanist. The orchestra was playing, as usual, with such precision and accuracy, just like Mozart should be played. There was a really hard French horn part, but they did really well, as usual. During the last movement, which is really complex, my dad dared me to try to hear everything that was going on, and I failed. I tried to but it felt like my head was going to explode in the process, because there is so much going on all at once. I don’t think the human brain, especially my brain (because I have ADHD) can concentrate on everything and process it all at once. But obviously Mozart’s brain could. Anyway, this piece is so beautiful and awesome, and it got such a huge standing ovation. I remember thinking that if the Mozart got that big of a response, I couldn’t imagine the kind of response The Planets was going to get.

And then my most anticipated piece finally came after intermission. This piece is so awesome. My two favorite movements are Mars and Neptune. What made it even more awesome was the fact that the orchestra was so powerful. The Assistant Conductor, Rachel Waddell, made a good point during the pre-concert lecture. She said that no matter how great a recording is, it still cannot capture everything you hear in a live concert. During Mars, the low brass really showed off their power, and it was awesome. I don’t think I have ever experienced anything so powerful and ground shaking, sound and music and decibel wise. The whole stage was filled with musicians. I bet, for the low brass, that this piece (especially the first movement) is fun to play, because it is so powerful. Everybody laughed when the title Saturn, The Bringer of Old Age came up on the screen. Then Mr. Zimmermann turned around very slowly in his chair and looked at the audience and said “It’s not me.” That was really funny. I am definitely a Holst fan. And during the concert I was thinking… does that make me a Holster? I do wish there was less coughing during the piece. It seems like in every piece, during all the quiet parts, people start coughing all the time, but during the loud parts, it seems like they don’t. It really annoys me.

I am glad that the concert was sold out because it was so amazing, and it was great that as many people as possible heard it. The pictures were really cool. This concert was probably one of my favorite concerts ever. This piece got such a huge, long standing ovation, and they really deserved it. I loved this entire concert. Ms. Waddell also did an amazing job on the pre-concert lecture. I wore a bow tie to the concert because I am a Doctor Who fan, or a Wholian, and for anyone who might not know, it is one of the best shows ever, in my opinion. Plus, when I’m trying to take notes at a concert with a regular tie, it gets in the way, so that makes bow ties all the more practical. They’re also making a comeback (thanks to The Doctor). Anyway, I think everybody there loved that concert. I know I did, and so did my dad. I am really sad but happy at the same time. I am sad because it was the last concert of the season, and the next concert isn’t for a while. But I am happy because I can’t wait until next season. Next season is going to be really awesome. They are going to be playing really amazing music, as usual. I am also looking forward to the Zimmermann Symphony Center opening. I can’t wait until I can go inside. I hope to see you next season, and hope you have a great summer!

Here’s a great review of the concert on


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