Gustav Holst

color photo of Pluto
NASA / Wikimedia Commons

You could say that Pluto is the Rodney Dangerfield of planets.

Classical 101 Holiday Special: An English Pastorale

Dec 18, 2017
Max Pixel

What I'm calling An English Pastorale is an hour of music I've selected that I hope will suit the mood of the holiday season without sticking exclusively to Christmas music. Think of it as a brief break from some of the familiar carols and tunes we hear so much this time of year.

An English Pastorale airs at 7 a.m. Sunday, Dec. 24 and 2 p.m. Monday, Dec. 25 on Classical 101.

English composer Gustav Holst took us on a musical journey across the solar system, from Mercury to Neptune, in his symphonic suite The Planets.

In an unexpected part of our own planet, more down-to-earth original manuscripts by Holst that were missing for more than 100 years have been found in New Zealand.

And they were almost thrown out.

In a recent blog, I wrote about Colin Matthews' composition Pluto, the Renewer, which he added to Holst's The Planets in 2000. (Pluto May Be Small, but it SOUNDS Big, July 15, 2015)

However, it has been revealed that someone else got there first.

Leonard Bernstein.

Yes, the conductor/composer who taught many to love music with his Young People's Concerts with the New York Philharmonic beat Matthews there by some 28 years.


NASA's New Horizons interplanetary probe has been much in the news recently as it approached it's rendezvous with Pluto in the outer reaches of our solar system.  As you most likely have read, when the New Horizons probe was launched in 2006, Pluto still had planet status.  It has since been reduced to what was called a "dwarf planet," sliding down the chart faster than a B-list celebrity.