In Friday’s (10/24) Seattle Times, Tom Keogh writes about the Northwest Symphony Orchestra’s family concert last Saturday, featuring “spectacular visual accompaniment” to Holst’s The Planets. “NWSO founder and music director Anthony Spain, who will conduct, has been working for months with Adrian Wyard, a former Microsoft program manager, on organizing images and video of Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn and Neptune to project during the performance. There will also be breathtaking, deep-space shots provided by local astrophotographer Andy Ermolli … ‘There is an array of fantastic images from telescopes, spacecraft from NASA, the European Space Agency and other organizations, and the Mars Rovers,’ says Wyard…. There’s a temptation with this kind of project to make it a science class. But … the music is driven by a mythological understanding of the planets, not a scientific one. ‘Venus is a bringer of peace in “The Planets,” but the real Venus is a hell with sulfuric acid rain.’ … Spain says, ‘Because of the vivid pictorial imagery and the captivating nature of the work, it is easy to see why ‘The Planets’ has had a lasting effect on listeners.’ ” Also on the program were works by Wagner and Alan Hovhaness.

Photo: Jupiter and one of its moons, as shown in the Northwest Symphony’s version of “The Planets”

Posted October 30, 2014