On Saturday, the 15th of October 2022, I performed alongside the West London Sinfonia with the Tiffin Girls’ School Senior Choir. There were four main pieces of repertoire, my favourite being ‘The Planets’ by Gustav Holst.
Gustav Holst, a famous English composer, was most known for composing ‘The Planets’. ‘The Planets’ comprises seven separate pieces: Mars, Venus, Mercury, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune respectively.
Each piece is unique and different yet manages to link well.
It begins with Mars. The Romans believed Mars to be the god of war, a god who triumphed in every savage and violent act he committed. This steady piece starts by creating an uneasy atmosphere, gradually leading to an inevitable, powerful climax demonstrating true power and overwhelming strength. Coincidentally, this piece also resembled the Darth Vader theme from Star Wars, a dark and powerful music piece with an overwhelmingly minor chord progression.
Soon after, the tense and dark atmosphere dissolved into a calming piece called venus. The imminent and overpowering percussion and brass elements are immediately silenced and dulled down to make way for a calm sea of melodic violin harmonies.
The following four planets: Mercury, Jupiter, Saturn and Uranus, were filled with such unique forms of music varying in mood and atmosphere, allowing the audience to connect and enjoy the music.
The last piece of music was Neptune, played by the West London Sinfonia, with members of the senior choir of Tiffin Girls’ School, Godolphin and Latymer Junior Chamber Choir, and Notting Hill and Ealing High School Semichorus.
The combination of both the choir and the orchestra was ingenious. The high sequence melody repeated by the choirs resonated through St John’s Smith Square and tied together so well with the gentle pianissimo enigmatic chords.
Overall, the experience was phenomenal; a special mention to Philip Hesketh, who conducted the entire orchestra while managing to orchestrate the involvement of the choirs.