Planets" in Sight and Sound
the following article
written by Anna Kennedy OCA Member
1st and 2nd were the dates of two outstanding performances of Holst's
"The Planets" by the Pacific Symphony Orchestra, conducted by
guest conductor David Lockington, at the Orange County Performing Arts
The Orange County
Astronomers were invited by the PSO to set up telescopes and show some
of the patrons the real planets. Liam Kennedy (OCA Webmaster and Trustee)
did the reconnoitering about a month ago and predicted where Jupiter and
Saturn would be in the early evening in March. There are a number of tall
buildings and other large objects which could have made viewing impossible.
Thankfully their position was perfect.
From the Plaza level, under the arch, the planets were positioned for
an excellent view from under Richard Lippold's stunning "Fire-Bird"
On each of the two
evenings, four members of the OCA set up their telescopes and hundreds
of patrons filed by for a peek at Saturn's rings and Jupiter's moons.
For many, this was a first experience of looking at the planets through
had traveled to distant parts and seen Saturn from places like Antartica.
Some were surprised that they could look for free. OC Astronomers makes
an impression yet again. When the Plaza cleared for the start of the concert,
the hosts, dressed in their familiar maroon jackets, slipped out in ones
and twos for a peek.
on the second evening, the clouds started to gather before many concert-goers
had arrived. This time, though, the hosts had advance notice that the
telescopes were up, and flocked out at around 6:15pm. Alas, they were
pretty much the only ones to see anything. Even so, there was much interest
in the telescopes themselves and in OCA.
Thanks go to Russell
Sipe, Liam Kennedy, Maury Bennett, Richard McNeil (and wife), Richard
Saunders, Paul Kreitz (and wife), Bob Fritz and Dick Greenwald for the
donation of their time and telescopes.
The PSO provided a
thankyou of two tickets to a future concert for each person who brought
a telescope. That was a complete and welcome surprise.
For more information
on Holst and "The Planets", see http://www.classiccd.co.uk/reference/works/h/holst-planets.html
The OC Astronomers
are not the only ones to seek a connection between music and the heavens.
Throughout the ages, philosophers, architects and mathematicians have
looked for music in the Universe.
taught that each of the seven planets produced by its orbit a particular
note according to its distance from the still centre which was the Earth.
The distance in each case was like the subdivisions of the string referred
to above. This is what was called Musica Mundana, which is usually translated
as Music of the Spheres. The sound produced is so exquisite and rarified
that our ordinary ears are unable to hear it. It is the Cosmic Music
which, according to Philo of Alexandria, Moses had heard when he received
the Tablets on Mount Sinai, and which St Augustine believed men hear
on the point of death, revealing to them the highest reality of the
Cosmos. (Carlo Bertelli, Piero della Francesca, p. 60.) This music is
present everywhere and governs all temporal cycles, such as the seasons,
biological cycles, and all the rhythms of nature. Together with its
underlying mathematical laws of proportion it is the sound of the harmony
of the created being of the universe, the harmony of what Plato called
the "one visible living being, containing within itself all living
beings of the same natural order"."
For more, see http://www.aboutscotland.co.uk/harmony/prop.html
letter of thanks from the PSO to the OCA is here