Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Put It Back in the Holst-Er

The downgrading of Pluto to sub-planetary status has pretty much settled the hash of the English composer Colin Matthews. A few years ago, he was commissioned to write a new movement for Gustav Holst's famous "The Planets": that composition features a movement for each of the then-recognized planets, and Matthews added one for Pluto. This movement was recorded a few years back and has now received a second recording, as part of Simon Rattle's interpretation (with the Berlin Philharmonic) of "The Planets."

The addition of a new, musically-unrelated movement to a famous work was never a good idea, so it's a good thing that the "Pluto" movement won't become a concert staple. But the odd timing -- of having a recording come out just as Pluto gets demoted -- is, ironically, gaining a lot of attention for "Pluto," as this article explains:

Matthews could have warned them about this ages ago. His programme notes for the world premiere mentioned Pluto's questionable status, "but because I had been commissioned to do it I couldn't turn around and say, 'Hey, it isn't a planet'."

And over at Classics Today, David Hurwitz has an Onion-esque take on it.

No comments: