Universe of Sound: The Planets

You’ve got a lot to look forward to this summer, what with the Olympics (who’s got tickets?), the Proms, Wimbledon and the Queen’s Jubilee. Well, now you can add another exciting day out to your ever-growing list of activities – Universe of Sound: The Planets, a new free digital installation by the Philharmonia Orchestra at London’s Science Museum.

It launched yesterday (May 23rd) and will be on until July 8th, six whole weeks of magical music-making where visitors to the gallery can experience the feeling of being in an orchestra for themselves, be it as a musician, composer or even the conductor.

Visitors can record performances and post and share them online, see massive 360-degree projections of the Philharmonia performing Holst’s masterpiece conducted by artistic adviser and principal conductor Esa-Pekka Salonen and play both real and virtual instruments, as well as chatting to musicians from the orchestra itself, who will be at the exhibit every day.

“The Planets is a rousing piece of music and it’s something that almost everybody knows, even if they don’t know what it is. It’s really exciting to do something with this piece and combine it with the wonders of technology,” Mr Salonen said.

This all ties in very nicely with the Phil’s concert at the Royal Festival Hall on July 8th, with The Planets and the world premiere of Talbot’s World, Stars, Systems, Infinity both on the programme. Musical demonstrations, interviews and large-screen projections – presented by Paul Rissman – will all be included to help concert-goers really get to grips with the Holst piece.

What do you think of The Planets? Timeless or terribly overplayed?

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