School Students Perform Their New Musical Planet
Following the Cathedral’s recent concert of music and poetry themed around Holst’s Planets, a group of school students performed their own brand new musical planet, ‘Planet Three Eleven Thousand‘, in the Cathedral recently.
Produced in the course of nine workshops led by Howard Moody, Artistic Director of La Folia, with poet Martin Figura, students from Exeter House School and Salisbury Cathedral School developed their own responses to three of the planets from Holst’s masterpiece – Mars, Jupiter and Neptune. The resulting ‘grand finale’ workshop in the Cathedral Quire was a bold piece of music-making that left the Cathedral’s Assistant Director of Music, who had himself transcribed Holst’s Planets for organ, stunned:
John Challenger said: “It was one of those incredible days and it’s possibly the most signifcant thing I’ve been part of since being in Cathedral music – and that’s quite a long time!”
According to La Folia’s Artistic Director, Howard Moody, Holst’s music provided some wonderful riffs that became starting points for improvisations in the workshops: “We focussed on Mars, Jupiter and Neptune – anger, joy and mystery. For the Exeter House students, the three titles became a place of colour – green, yellow and red. Mars was anger from inside out. Their Jupiter was a place ‘where I wake up spinning, dancing,’ while mysterious Neptune became ‘rainbow dreams, autumn smiles, hand in hand. Peace and calm.’
“The Cathedral School students’ songs came from a place of imagination ‘inside our heads. We can fly’. When I asked for a title of such a planet that can be constantly rediscovered, the result was ‘Planet Three Eleven Thousand.’ Of course!”