Prepare to feel the force at 
space-age musical celebration

Also Sprach Zarathustra has become associated with the film 2001: A Space Odyssey
Also Sprach Zarathustra has become associated with the film 2001: A Space Odyssey

More than 100 musicians and singers will be joining forces in a spectacular ‘Space Odyssey’ concert in Leamington this weekend.

Warwickshire Symphony Orchestra and St Michael’s Singers are performing a particularly space-age concert at All Saints’ church tomorrow from 7.30pm.

The orchestra will play Strauss’s other-worldly tone-poem, Also Sprach Zarathustra, for the first time. The space theme is then continued when the orchestra is joined by the ladies of St Michael’s Singers, Coventry, for Holst’s The Planets.

Composed in 1896, Also Sprach Zarathustra was forever linked with ‘all things space age’ by the inclusion of its Sunrise theme in Stanley Kubrick’s 1968 film, 2001: A Space Odyssey, and since then those first 22 bars have become synonymous with space travel. Holst’s suite, completed in 1916, is a tribute to astrology, and he brings out the different personalities of each of the featured characters; Mars, the bringer of war; Venus, the bringer of peace; Mercury, the winged messenger; Jupiter, the bringer of jollity; Saturn the bringer of old age; Uranus, the magician; and Neptune, the mystic.

The concert, which starts the orchestra’s 76th season, is conducted by Roger Coull, WSO principal conductor, with Paul Leddington Wright directing the ladies’ choir. Both pieces use huge orchestra forces including harps, organ, quadruple woodwind, additional brass and a vast number of percussion instruments.

Raymond Joyce, chair man of WSO and principal horn player, said, “Both of these pieces are instantly recognisable from their inclusion in TV, adverts and film, and the theme from Jupiter will be known to many from I Vow To Thee My Country’.

“But this is a great opportunity to discover the rest of these extraordinary and beautiful works.

“It is a rare treat for these masterpieces to be performed as they require such enormous forces.”

Tickets cost £12 or £5 for concessions and are available from Presto Classical in Leamington, from www.wso.org.uk or by calling the ticket secretary on 850385.