Written between 1914 and 1917, Gustav Holst was initially inspired to compose THE PLANETS based on a conversation he had about astrology while on holiday in Spain with some friends in 1913. Intrigued by the concepts, he sought to write an orchestral suite for seven of these astrological signs based on the planets known to the world at the time, and imbue the music with the appropriate astological meaning. Rather than order the planets as an astronomer would, Holst ordered them in such a way as to attain maximum musical effectiveness. Scored for a large orchestra, fellow composer Ralph Vaughan Williams wrote in 1920, "Holst uses a very large orchestra in THE PLANETS not to make his score look impressive, but because he needs the extra tone colour and knows how to use it." Aside from the large orchestra, the final movement, "Neptune, the Mystic," includes a chorus of female voices that sing a soft wordless line offstage who continue to sing and fade away after the orchestra has fallen silent. While "Mars, the Bringer of War" and "Jupiter, the Bringer of Jollity" are the most popular and well-known movements, Holst's personal favorite was "Saturn, the Bringer of Old Age." Certainly Holst's most popular work, this critical edition by Clinton Nieweg and Gregory Vaught, is based on the composer's manuscript. Instrumentation: 4(3&4dPicc.4dAlto).3(3dBsOb)+EH.3+BCl.3+CtrBsn: 6.4.2+BTbn.2: Timp(2).Perc(3): Hp(2).Clst.Org: Str(9-8-7-6-5): Women's Chor.