The season’s final Bravo concert, “Astral Edge,” promises a warp-drive thrill ride. The other-worldly appeal of Gustav’s Holst’s “The Planets” is sure to ignite imaginations on the journey.
Holst’s suite, written more than a century ago and enduringly popular, works like a familiar tug on the ear, through its influence on the likes of composers John Williams, Frank Zappa, Hans Zimmer and more.
This symphonic saunter through the solar system, more astrological than astronomical, highlights the personalities of the planets and what they “bring” or represent — from “Mars, The Bringer of War” to “Venus, The Bringer of Peace” to “Mercury, The Winged Messenger.” Different orchestrations intrigue the ear and exhilarate the senses.
“Neptune, The Mystic” evokes the wonder, transcendence and hope that the heavens hold. Wordless female voices become a mysterious and ethereal instrument. For this performance, women from The Mississippi Chorus and the Mississippi College Singers combine to form a women’s chorus for that movement (and for Claude Debussy’s “Nocturnes,” also on the program).
This music with no words, just sustained notes, can be a challenge for the singers. “As sopranos, we always get up there very high,” says Sherry Boyer, The Mississippi Chorus executive director and singer. “We’re sustaining a high G and then a couple of places, we’re getting up to an A, but it has to be pianissimo, it has to be quiet. And, for a singer to sing that high, for that long, it’s hard. At that softness, it’s difficult. But, absolutely, stunningly beautiful, when it comes together.”
In “Neptune”, “(Holst) actually indicates in the score that the choir is to be in a separate room, and at the end, there’s a long fade-out, musically, and the doors to the room gradually close on the choir’s sound,” says Mark Nabholz, The Mississippi Chorus artistic director and MC Singers conductor, who is preparing the combined women’s chorus for the performance.
This was considered the first music to use the fade-out, common to our contemporary ears now but truly innovative at the time. It leaves us with the mystery and sense of the vastness, out there at the astral edge.
Astral Edge Concert
4.13.19 / Thalia Mara Hall / 7:30 pm / Jackson, MS
Mason Bates, Mothership
Claude Debussy, Nocturnes
Gustav Holst, The Planets
This stellar selection sparkles with techno beats and ethereal effects and features the Women of The Mississippi Chorus and Mississippi College Singers.
Tickets $26 & up: buy here >
Student tickets only $5
Concert sponsored by:
Selby and Richard McRae Foundation
J. Keith Robbins III, MD