The Planets

Last night, rather a late night hence posting today, was a truly out of this world experience. A programme of planet themed music in the first half followed by The Planets in the second half offered a superb selection of music.

The Fulltone Orchestra was made up of over 70 musicians from all across Wiltshire and beyond. There are some amazingly talented musicians in the group. Since January we’ve had rehearsals most weeks in a hall and a couple in Marlborough College, where last week I experienced the organ for the first time.

The college chapel is beautiful and the atmosphere was superb with over 450 people coming to hear us play. They obviously enjoyed what the heard, at the end they gave us a standing ovation!

There’s a very well placed camera/monitor for the organist to see what’s going on. Good job really, the first note of the evening came from an organ pedal along with the bass bassoon. That was the short but perfectly formed Also Sprach Zarathustra – sound only video below.

The second piece I played was The Blue Planet, an extract is below. Following the interval we played The Planets. The organ has a relatively small part to play, just 50 bars, but they must be important otherwise why would they have been written?! Shame I missed the glissando in Uranus…. but even with Chris there supporting and counting with me I wasn’t 100% sure where I was and it could have been a disaster going wrong, so better to miss it.

In Neptune, the organ, harp and choir are mentioned in the description:
When Holst scored this work as a piece for piano duet, he used an organ to represent this planet – the piano, he thought, couldn’t portray a planet as mysterious as Neptune. Beautiful harp and string melodies slide over each other, until Holst brings out the crowning glory: a mystical choir, which gives the music an other-worldly quality. I did manage to play that movement properly!

I’m hoping there will be video of the whole event. If I’m able to share it I will. You might not see me playing but you should hear me!


  1. Very well done Anna. Playing organ with full orchestra is extremely demanding and you obviously did a great job.


  2. There is nothing to beat the sound of a large orchestra on full throttle. It must have been stunning in those wonderful surroundings.


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