Have you heard Gustav Holst's "Mars, Bringer of War"? Of course you have; you just may not know it. This über-rousing, ominous march has been ripped off (or "closely adapted") by movies such as Aliens, Bram Stoker's Dracula, 300, and countless others for battle scenes, foot chases, or whenever the filmmakers need to create a feeling of impending doom. The immenseness of this piece and the entire "Planets" orchestral suite must have come from spending countless hours pondering the heavensHolst was an avid astrologer. The English composer's 1916 suite features seven movements, each of which is named after a planet and conveys the corresponding Roman deity's personality, such as the bellicose and violent "Mars;" the exuberant and jovial "Jupiter;" the pastoral and lovely "Venus," and so on. The epitome of classical music for people who don't like classical music, this accessible, exhilarating suite is not to be missed. Virtuoso pianist Emanuel Ax opens the show with Chopin's Piano Concerto No. 2.
Thu., Sept. 20, 7:30 p.m.; Fri., Sept. 21, 11 a.m.; Sat., Sept. 22, 8 p.m., 2007