“If Venus were a melody, it would not be a lyrical flute line followed by violin and cello solos,” writes Tara Dooley in Friday’s (1/15) Houston Chronicle. “Gustav Holst got it wrong when he composed his famous suite, The Planets. Venus is anything but lovely. It’s more like a furnace with sulfur clouds and crushing atmospheric pressure. ‘Holst’s planets are absolutely nonastronomic,’ said Houston Symphony Music Director Hans Graf. ‘Houston would have a problem with that.’ … With the help of filmmaker Duncan Copp and state-of-the-art space images, the Houston Symphony has created The Planets—An HD Odyssey. The production is a musical and visual performance piece that features a high-definition movie of Venus, Mars, Jupiter and the other movements of Holst’s suite. The new movie debuts Thursday in Jones Hall in a live Houston Symphony concert of the work. Performances continue next weekend before the orchestra takes its new production to Florida and New York City’s Carnegie Hall. … In addition to the live performances, the Houston Symphony created a DVD of the movie and music for sofa-side viewing. Graf also expects the movie to be used by other symphonies in live performances.”

Posted January 20, 2010