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Detail of the cover of a manuscript (not in Holst's hand) of The Planets used by Frederick Stock for the U.S. premiere

Detail of the cover of a manuscript (not in Holst’s hand) of The Planets used by Frederick Stock for the U.S. premiere

Gustav Holst‘s suite for large orchestra, The Planets, was conceived to be “connected with astrology rather than astronomy. There is no ‘program’ attached to the work beyond that which is associated with the subtitles of the movements,” according to Felix Borowski’s note in the CSO’s program book.

The first complete performance of all seven movements was given in London on November 15, 1920, with Albert Coates conducting the London Symphony Orchestra. Less than two months later, on New Year’s Eve, Frederick Stock led the Chicago Symphony Orchestra (the offstage women’s chorus was omitted) in the U.S. premiere of The Planets at Orchestra Hall.

December 31, 1920, and January 1, 1921

December 31, 1920, and January 1, 1921

“His rhythmic figures are fascinating, curious, and irresistible. The demonic insistent martial pulse of the first fragment, ‘Mars, Bringer of War,’ was the most vital sample,” wrote Ruth Miller in the Chicago Tribune. “The Planets should be a most dependable and successful addition to the orchestra repertoire.”

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The CSO and Maestro Muti perform a program featuring Prokofiev’s Suite from Romeo and Juliet and Dvořák’s Symphony No. 9 (From the New World) at the historic Teatro di San Carlo for a capacity audience. Taking the podium to announce the evening’s encore—Giordano’s Intermezzo from Fedora—Muti noted “although, I’m 100% Italian, I’m 200% Southern Italian.” After the concert, Maestro Muti and his wife hosted the musicians of the Orchestra and distinguished guests for a post-concert dinner featuring traditional Neapolitan cuisine. On Sunday morning before the concert, Maestro Muti and three CSO musicians—Jennifer Gunn, piccolo; Charles Vernon, trombone; and Gene Pokorny, tuba—share an informal performance with young men and women at a juvenile justice center in nearby Nisida. The program was presented by the Negaunee Music Institute with assistance from the administrative staff of the Teatro di San Carlo. #CSOonTour 📸@toddrphoto
Musicians and staff travel from Paris to Naples. Called Napoli in Italian, its name is derived from the Greek word Neapolis meaning "new city.” The city is the birthplace of Riccardo Muti, as well as the birthplace of pizza! This tour stop includes the CSO’s first return to the world renowned Teatro di San Carlo with Maestro Muti since 2012. That appearance marked its first European tour appearance in Naples. 📸@toddrphoto
Riccardo Muti and the CSO spend less than 24 hours in Paris for a concert at the Philharmonie de Paris with a program featuring works by Wagner, Hindemith and Dvořák. The last time they performed in this hall was during their most recent tour to Europe in January 2017. #CSOonTour 📸@toddrphoto

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