21 Sep 2018 to 22 Sep 2018
Holst wrote the terrifying first movement of The Planets in 1914, as Europe stood on the brink of war. ‘Mars’ rolls over the landscape like a tank – who can stand against it?
In 1944, as World War II dragged on, a Shakespeare film adaptation was commissioned from Laurence Olivier to boost British morale. Olivier’s portrayal of an idealised Henry V – inspiring outnumbered troops and leading them to victory – was enhanced by a magnificent orchestral soundtrack from William Walton.
But all heroes are flawed. Beethoven wrote his Third Symphony as a tribute to Napoleon – until Napoleon proclaimed himself emperor, whereupon Beethoven scrubbed out the title page in disgust. He dedicated his heroic, victorious symphony “to the memory of a great man”.