There's something sexy about space. All that darkness and void filled with objects that defy comprehension. It's mystery has inspired speculation from the first moments man dared to look up after munching a few grams of prehistoric mushrooms. It's believed the starry sky caused Egyptians to build pyramids where they did, and it's also what made Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey so horrifying.
In the early 20th century, English composer Gustav Holst took all that wonder and grace and and gave it a soundtrack. Titled "The Planets", the English composer showed a majestic appreciation for our distant neighbors and completely encapsulated a moment in history when the first threads of space's mysterious veil unraveled at the touch of great minds including Albert Einstein, Erwin Schrödinger, and Max Planck.
You too can be touched by the sensual beauty and mystery pf space when the Cleveland Orchestra brings "The Planets" to life like never before, Friday and Saturday at the Arsht Center.
Since Holst first wrote the symphony, humanity's understanding of the stars has grown so exponentially, some recent discoveries reach into the very distant beginnings of the universe. Particularly, the recent discovery of gravitational waves, and the Higgs Boson particle a couple of years ago, are discoveries Holst and his contemporaries couldn't have even conceived. Shows like recently revived Cosmos, hosted by Hayden Planetarium director Neil deGrasse Tyson, or the popularity of physicist superstar Stephen Hawking have only proved the ever-lasting impression that black void holds on our imaginations.
So when the Cleveland Orchestra announced they would be performing "The Planets" at the Adrienne Arscht Center, they included a very awesome twist: they would "perform the piece with high definition NASA images from space projected above the Orchestra on a large screen."
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The performance marks the closing of the symphony's 2014 season. The final night's conductor will be Giancarlo Guerrero. There will also be special performances of Mozart's "Overture" to "The Abduction from the Seraglio", and percussionist Colin Currie will perform a composition written by Jennifer Higdon that's been described as a "fast-paced fun-filled concerto."
This should tickle the fancy of every nerd, dork, or geek familiar with Holst's piece, or even those who just love putting their eye to the stars. Any spaceophile who spends hours on NASA's web pages can attest that their images are masterpieces in and of themselves. Those images coupled with Holst's masterpiece, and performed by one of the country's best symphonies, should be nothing short of luminary.
The Cleveland Orchestra performs Gustav Holst's The Planets, featuring high definition NASA images projected above the Orchestra on a large screen. Friday, March 21, and Saturday, March 22, at the Adrienne Arsht Center, 1300 Biscayne Blvd, Miami. The shows begin at 8 p.m., and tickets are $88 to $170 plus fees via arshtcenter.org. Call 305-949-6722 or visit arshtcenter.org.