By Johan De Meij with the film by Dyan Machan
Featuring Bella Voce, The Premier Women’s Choir at Oregon State University, Sandra Babb Director
Johan de Meij’s Symphony #3 – Planet Earth was written as a sequel to Gustav Holst’s The Planets. De Meij’s symphony is an ode to Mother Earth in all its miraculous beauty and, like Holst’s work, it employs a full symphony and female choir.
The Symphony begins with a view of the ‘Lonely Planet’ from space, with angelic voices from the women’s choir and the dramatic sounds of planets and comets whirling around Earth. The fragility of the Earth’s natural beauty inspires poignant themes culminating in a hymn to Mother Earth (Gaia in Greek). Bella Voce, the premier women’s choir at Oregon State University, will join the Salem Symphonic Winds to bring this symphony to Salem. Read more below.
The daily newspaper Trouw wrote: “On Thursday evening De Meij’s première was grandly performed by the North Netherlands Orchestra (NNO) and the North Netherlands Concert Choir, conducted by Otto Tausk. The NNO has a reputation in this field.... De Meij knows how to compose, and he knows how to produce an effect. The audience in De Doelen gave him an enthusiastic applause afterward... To quote the Dutch writer Annie M.G. Schmidt: ‘What a planet!’”
De Meij’s wife, Dyan Machan, has created a film to accompany the symphony that takes the audience from earth’s creation to the present day. The film utilizes breathtaking images of our planet and all of its treasures, combined with those of a beautiful young dancer representing Gaia, to intensify the dramatic power of the symphony.
When the film and symphony premiered together for the first time in 2018 in Visp, Switzerland, concertgoers wept and came back to see it again.
“The film gives the orchestral score a whole new dimension. The interaction between music and film make the concert an intense and unforgettable experience.”
— Anthony Fiumara - Composer, Professor of Composition, Academy of Music and Performing Arts, Tilburg, Music Journalist
Symphony No. 3 – Planet Earth is supported by a grant of Transient Occupancy Tax from the City of Salem
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