• The University of Oviedo and the OSPA "put into orbit" a cultural program centered on "The Planets" by Holst

    March 13, 2013

    The program includes a concert and a movie festival in the Niemeyer Center and a series of conferences in the University Services Building of Avilés

    From left to right, Alejandro Calvo, Vicente Domínguez y Ana Mateo.

    The Symphonic Orchestra of the Principality of Asturias and the Office of the Vice-Rector for University Extension and Communication of the University of Oviedo create "In Orbit", a complete cultural program centered on "The Planets" suite by Gustav Holst, that includes music, conferences and movies.

    The trajectory of "In Orbit" will pass over Avilés from March 22 to April 14. The programed musical and filmic activities will be based on the Niemeyer Center, while the conferences will take place in the University Services Building.


    The Niemeyer Center will host, on April 5 and 6, the symphonic show "The Planets", with master Rossen Milanov directing the performance of Symphonic Orchestra of the Principality of Asturias (OSPA) of the suite by the famous English composer. This will be the soundtrack that will accompany the impressive visual choreography created by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory of the NASA and Hatch Productions.

    The Spanish audience will be able to watch for the first time a fascinating documentary whose high-resolution images had been taken by the unmanned spacecrafts Mariner 10, Vikings I and II, Magellan, Voyagers I and II and the Hubble telescope. All those images have been combined with a delicate animation to create an extraordinary visual experience.

    The symphonic orchestras of the United States, Canada, Germany, France and Ireland have performed Holst's suite in this production. In Spain, it will debut at the Conference Hall of the Niemeyer Center on April 5 at 8 PM, and the following day, as a "Concert in Family", at 12 PM. The entry price is of €10 for adults, €5 for children.

    The movie is based on the seven movements of Holst's work:

    Mars, Bringer of War: A trip over Mount Olympus, a mountain three times bigger than Mount Everest, and through the Mariner Valleys, four times deeper than the Great Canyon. The movie shows the rarely-seen Martian landscape, so that the audience may let their imagination run wild in the unknown, accompanied by the musical power of this piece.

    Venus, Bringer of Peace: Though it is seen as a shining star in the sky from Earth, Venus is a terribly hot world. The movie takes us over Gula Mons, the Artemis Crown and the amazing landscape of Aprhodite Terra, with euphoric sounds of the wooden wind, sustained by harps and celestas, and captivating oboe solos.

    Mercury, Winged Messenger: Charred by its proximity to the Sun, the Mercurian surface is constantly bombarded by asteroids and comets. The music rises as the audience promenades and enjoys the spectacular solar flares, over the Beethoven Quadrant and the Bach crater.

    Jupiter, Bringer of Jollity: While the most well-known movement of the suite is played, the audience will be able to let themselves be taken by the Great Red Spot and its violent storms, and enjoy its Galilean satellites: Io, Europa, Ganymede and Calisto. A marvelous panoramic of the splendor of Jupiter, with a fragment whose cinematographic plasticity can be traced in soundtracks by John Williams, James Horner or Hans Zimmer.

    Saturn, Bringer of Old Age: Known by its characteristic rings, Saturn is shrouded in mystery. The movie reveals the color of its rings, its moons and craters, accompanied by the atmospheric and asphyxiating ostinato of flutes, harps and bassoons. All the low instruments go through a martial fanfare, as in a funeral march, while the planet reveals its geographical treasures.

    Urano, the Magician: A motive of trumpets, trombones and tubas open the piece dedicated to this planet, which appears on screen as a pallid blue-greenish ball, with a captivating dense atmosphere. A surprising journey through the moons of this planet and their amazing changes of hue.

    Neptune, the Mystic: Holst manages an aesthetic distance in this piece thanks to the disappearance of a familiar musical language. With this abstraction we observe the planet most distant to the Sun. The end of the journey inspires reflection on the majestic explorations of space crafts like the Voyager 2. The enormous infinites of space before our eyes, with a cold orchestral color.


    Three classics of the Science Fiction genre are included in the program:

    • "Another Earth", by Mike Cahill (April 3)
    • "2001: A Space Odyssey" , by Stanley Kubrick (April 11)
    • "Moon", by Ducan Jones (April 14)

    The movies will be shown at the projection room of the Niemeyer Center, at 8 PM. The entrance will be free until the room is full, with prior invitation.


    The program is completed with a series of conferences in the University Services Building of Avilés, from April 22 to March 10:

    • Miguel Bobo, Música y planetas: la Harmonía de las esferas (22 de marzo)
    • María Encina Cortizo, Los Planetas de Gustav Holst: pistas para una audición (25 de marzo)
    • Luigi Toffolatti, Planetas cercanos y planetas lejanos. ¿Muchas nuevas "Tierras" en la Vía Láctea? (26 de marzo)
    • Israel López Estelche, El Universo como modelo en la música de la segunda mitad del siglo XX: De Stockhausen a Björk (9 de abril)
    • Alejandro G. Villalibre, Cuando Darth Vader conoció a Gustav Holst. La influencia de Los Planetas en la música de cine (10 de abril)

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