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Gustav Holst “The Planets”

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Mars, the Bringer of War

At the very beginning I see nothing but darkness, and the only thing I hear is silence. Then the music begins and a little ray of light getting stronger and stronger allows me to see a planet covered in red whirling fog. No matter how hard I try, I do not see the planet itself as the fog gets darker and looks like the rivers of blood. The waves form vague images of soldiers marching along the roads, horsemen riding fast in front of the army, flags that are left on the battlefield. There is an atmosphere of aggressiveness, but sometimes the faces of the soldiers I see are lighted from within with dignity, pride and love for their country. I understand that they can be defending their beloved ones.

Venus, the Bringer of Peace

The next moment the fog turns from red to some tender apricot shades of pink and I see a small baby sleeping in the cradle. His mother is sitting next to him and watching him with a happy smile on her lips. She is so delighted that her baby is well and healthy that she begins to dance silently as she does not want her baby to wake up. Her dance is very slow and elegant. Her movements are full of comeliness and happiness. However, the little baby opens his eyes and his mother begins singing him a very beautiful lullaby. The words of this lullaby emerge in the air and gracefully fall onto the paper lying on the table.

Mercury, the Winged Messenger

The picture sinks in the fog and the next moment I see a winged messenger who swiftly flies in the air among the clouds. He is accompanied by a small flock of pigeons that carry letters in their beaks. They fly very fast and when they gt closer to the earth, they fly over the woods and rivers, but it is not possible to see the landscapes in details as their speed is so high that they pass everything in a second and the images blur. At the end of this journey I see soldiers that are sitting under the trees and reading the letters. Their tired faces slowly become calm and happy.

Jupiter, the Bringer of Jollity

The fog covers this picture and shows me a new image. It is a very big celebration in a city. The soldiers have returned from the war with a victory and they are marching along the main street, but their march does not look like the one at the beginning of the musical composition. It is not a march of aggression and determination, but of joy and power. The crowds in the streets are shouting and throwing flowers to the soldiers. The military orchestra is playing and the sounds of trumpets tell the world that the victory is here. It is time to celebrate!

Saturn, the Bringer of Old Age

However, not everyone is blooming with happiness in this street. An old man is sitting near the window and watching soldiers pass his house. He is not smiling and his face is gloomy. He sees everything in black and white colors. He does not seem to understand what is going on in the city as he is extremely absorbed with his thoughts, but suddenly he catches the sight of a young soldier kissing a cheerful blonde and holding a small boy in his arms. The old man thinks of the same situation when he returned from the war and was as happy as this man to see his family alive. They were standing near the church when they saw him coming back. The picture gets brighter and brighter. The old man recalls his youth and smiles.

Uranus, the Magician

The fog covers the planet again and I see an artist. He is working at a painting depicting some unknown mysterious planet. He is desperate as he is not satisfied with the results of his work. He throws everything from the nearby table and shouts, but later a Muse, who looks very similar to the woman with a baby we saw earlier, comes to him and he sees the whole painting very clearly. He starts working very quickly as he does not want to miss a thing. He creates the worlds on his canvas as if he is a real magician.

Neptune, the Mystic

Then the focus gets closer and I understand that I see that very planet the artist had just been painting. I am walking through a mystic wood full of small lights and moving trees and plants. As I pass them, they turn their leaves and flowers towards me. Sometimes I see amazing blue and purple butterflies that whirl over narrow springs with glitter crystal water. I walk and walk, but there is no end to this path and I realize that it is the path to eternity.

The music gets quieter and slowly fades away. The fog returns and hides all the images I have just seen, but then it dissipates and I see the Earth, our planet, our home. I understand that all the planets I have just visited can be not somewhere in the space, far away from us, but here. Our own planet can have different faces and it can turn into Mars, who cares only about wars, or it can perform the role of Uranus, who creates new world with the help of his magic. Our Earth is rich and versatile, and the most important thing is to take care of our home as it is not likely that we will be able to leave it and live somewhere on Venus or Mercury. The Earth is our home.

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