Unlike the previous movements of Holst’s orchestral suite The Planets, which are static in the sense that each depicts various aspects of a single trait, this one moves through a series of “events” that bring the music to conclusions not envisioned at the beginning. There is a profound hollowness and sense of defeat in the harmony of the opening chords, and an even deeper despair in the motif sounded beneath them by the double basses. But the elderly voice of wisdom is soon heard in the B minor theme for the trombones, and at the end the mood is one of acceptance, reconciliation and consequent serenity.

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