Cosmic composers: how scientists helped reinvent Holst’s Planets suite

Picnics on Mars, sunsets on Uranus, sculptures on Venus … 100 years after Holst unveiled his epic masterpiece, musicians are reimagining it using the latest scientific discoveries

Composers have long been known to travel far and wide for inspiration. Mendelssohn headed to the remote Scottish isle of Staffa to write his Hebrides overture, while Messiaen found music in the mountains of Utah. Deborah Pritchard decided to take a trip to Mars.

“It was majestic, with all these red hills and valleys that are very similar to the ones on Earth,” says the award-winning composer about her voyage. “To be able to see the landscape was extraordinary.”

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