4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs

San Diego Symphony and the astral plane

A singularity-esque performance of Gustav Holst's The Planets

Visiting conductor Peter Oundjian
Visiting conductor Peter Oundjian

Sometimes, in a live performance, a conductor will downplay “the big tune” in a symphony performance. Sometimes, in a live performance, a conductor will elevate and revel in “the big theme.”

We gratefully received the latter on Saturday night at Symphony Hall. Of which big tune do I speak? This one is inextricably associated with a specific time and era in a clearly defined culture. However, there are a couple of tunes that are always associated with specific national cultures.

Video:

"I Vow to Thee My Country"

Music: Jupiter by Gustav Theodore Holst; event: Festival of Remembrance Royal Albert Hall

Music: Jupiter by Gustav Theodore Holst; event: Festival of Remembrance Royal Albert Hall

Nessun Dorma is the essence of Italian culture in musical form — although it used to be Vesti la giubba. Va pensiero can also stake a claim as the unofficial Italian cultural anthem. The Blue Danube will always be associated with the elegance of 19th-century Vienna. The Peer Gynt Suite is Norway incarnate — even though the famous Morning Mood is set in Africa.

For England there is Elgar’s Pomp and Circumstance. Jerusalem by William Blake is another, but there is no tune that lives and breathes Edwardian England more than the central section of Holst’s Jupiter. It is the central section of the central movement of the seven planets in Holst’s existential journey through space and time.

This tune holds the Holstian solar system together in much the same way as Jupiter the planet holds ours actual solar system together. According to my boorish knowledge of local astronomy, we should all wake up every morning and worship Jupiter for protecting the Earth from any number of interstellar threats.

When the Jupiter tune arrived, the gravity of the moment was not lost on the audience as all six horns intoned the stately procession of notes that connote the fullness of life as it basks in the noontime sun before succumbing to the relentless power of Saturn (time).

It has often been pointed out that The Planets is an astrological musical event as opposed to astronomical. At the top of the concert, visiting conductor Peter Oundjian explained the progression of the planets as an expansion of consciousness in the life of a human being. The progression starts with strife and war on Mars and ends in the mystical seas of Neptune.

Regarding Neptune, the effect of the offstage women’s chorus was damn near transcendent. The lights in the auditorium dimmed as the women’s voices evaporated into the mists of the astral plane. The effect was awe-inspiring. Maestro Oundjian held the silence — the silence that was tangible as it flowed in, around, and through each member of the audience.

As the auditorium erupted into applause I could still hear a shadow tone of the women’s chorus calling to my inner ear from the great beyond. I can’t help but think that Holst was on to something that defies the standard model of the universe.

On the whole — I haven’t even mentioned Dr. Atomic which opened the program — this concert was as good as we’ve gotten from the San Diego Symphony. Ever.

Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all

Previous article

Liquid Blue Live from the Whiskey, UCSD Artist Lecture: Cortez, Saturday Morning at the Zoo

Events January 21-January 23, 2020
Visiting conductor Peter Oundjian
Visiting conductor Peter Oundjian

Sometimes, in a live performance, a conductor will downplay “the big tune” in a symphony performance. Sometimes, in a live performance, a conductor will elevate and revel in “the big theme.”

We gratefully received the latter on Saturday night at Symphony Hall. Of which big tune do I speak? This one is inextricably associated with a specific time and era in a clearly defined culture. However, there are a couple of tunes that are always associated with specific national cultures.

Video:

"I Vow to Thee My Country"

Music: Jupiter by Gustav Theodore Holst; event: Festival of Remembrance Royal Albert Hall

Music: Jupiter by Gustav Theodore Holst; event: Festival of Remembrance Royal Albert Hall

Nessun Dorma is the essence of Italian culture in musical form — although it used to be Vesti la giubba. Va pensiero can also stake a claim as the unofficial Italian cultural anthem. The Blue Danube will always be associated with the elegance of 19th-century Vienna. The Peer Gynt Suite is Norway incarnate — even though the famous Morning Mood is set in Africa.

For England there is Elgar’s Pomp and Circumstance. Jerusalem by William Blake is another, but there is no tune that lives and breathes Edwardian England more than the central section of Holst’s Jupiter. It is the central section of the central movement of the seven planets in Holst’s existential journey through space and time.

This tune holds the Holstian solar system together in much the same way as Jupiter the planet holds ours actual solar system together. According to my boorish knowledge of local astronomy, we should all wake up every morning and worship Jupiter for protecting the Earth from any number of interstellar threats.

When the Jupiter tune arrived, the gravity of the moment was not lost on the audience as all six horns intoned the stately procession of notes that connote the fullness of life as it basks in the noontime sun before succumbing to the relentless power of Saturn (time).

It has often been pointed out that The Planets is an astrological musical event as opposed to astronomical. At the top of the concert, visiting conductor Peter Oundjian explained the progression of the planets as an expansion of consciousness in the life of a human being. The progression starts with strife and war on Mars and ends in the mystical seas of Neptune.

Regarding Neptune, the effect of the offstage women’s chorus was damn near transcendent. The lights in the auditorium dimmed as the women’s voices evaporated into the mists of the astral plane. The effect was awe-inspiring. Maestro Oundjian held the silence — the silence that was tangible as it flowed in, around, and through each member of the audience.

As the auditorium erupted into applause I could still hear a shadow tone of the women’s chorus calling to my inner ear from the great beyond. I can’t help but think that Holst was on to something that defies the standard model of the universe.

On the whole — I haven’t even mentioned Dr. Atomic which opened the program — this concert was as good as we’ve gotten from the San Diego Symphony. Ever.

Sponsored
Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

Mayor Faulconer shuts down One San Diego

Prepping for the governor race
Next Article

Vista de la Mission: angelic outpost in Kensington

Considered palatial for the time
Comments
0

Be the first to leave a comment.

Sign in to comment

Sign in

Art Reviews — W.S. Di Piero's eye on exhibits Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Best Buys — San Diego shopping Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits City Lights — News and politics Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Famous Former Neighbors — Next-door celebs Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town Here's the Deal — Chad Deal's watering holes Just Announced — The scoop on shows Letters — Our inbox [email protected] — Local movie buffs share favorites Movie Reviews — Our critics' picks and pans Musician Interviews — Up close with local artists Neighborhood News from Stringers — Hyperlocal news News Ticker — News & politics Obermeyer — San Diego politics illustrated Of Note — Concert picks Out & About — What's Happening Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Pour Over — Grab a cup Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Set 'em Up Joe — Bartenders' drink recipes Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Sports — Athletics without gush Street Style — San Diego streets have style Suit Up — Fashion tips for dudes Theater Reviews — Local productions Theater antireviews — Narrow your search Tin Fork — Silver spoon alternative Under the Radar — Matt Potter's undercover work Unforgettable — Long-ago San Diego Unreal Estate — San Diego's priciest pads Waterfront — All things ocean Your Week — Daily event picks
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
Close