Last night we were invited by a couple we know from our church to go to the St. Louis Symphony to see a performance of "The Planets". I was not familiar with the music, but we were asked because they found out that Bob is a classical music lover. Years ago we had season tickets for the chamber orchestra and we went for a few years and had seats in the orchestra seating area closest to the stage. Last nights performance our seats were in the terrace circle, all the way at the top. The photo of the orchestra was similar to how it looked from our seats. The performance was truly beautiful. I felt that what made it so beautiful was that there are so many unusual instruments.
The first instrument that caught my eye was the Celesta. The sound of the celesta is akin to that of the glockenspiel, but with a much softer and more subtle timbre. This quality gave rise to the instrument's name, celeste meaning "heavenly" in French.
The following information is copy and pasted from Wikipedia.
The elaborate orchestration of The Planets produces unusual, complex sounds by using some abnormal instruments in the large orchestra (similar to Gustav Mahler's Symphony No. 6 of 1906), such as a bass oboe, two timpani players, celesta, xylophone, tubular bells, and organ. Holst had been influenced by Igor Stravinsky, who used four oboes and four bassoons in his The Rite of Spring (1912–13), and by Schoenberg's 1909 composition Five Pieces for Orchestra.
• Woodwind: 4 Flutes (3rd doubling 1st Piccolo; 4th doubling 2nd Piccolo and a "Bass Flute in G", actually an Alto flute), 3 Oboes (3rd doubling Bass Oboe), an English Horn, 3 Clarinets in B-flat, a Bass clarinet in B-flat, 3 Bassoons and a Contrabassoon
• Brass: 6 Horns in F, 4 Trumpets in C, 3 Trombones (2 Tenor and 1 Bass), a Euphonium in B-flat and a Tuba
• Keyboards: a Celesta, and an Organ
• Percussion: 6 Timpani (2 players, 3 drums each except in "Uranus" having 4 drums for 1st and 2 drums for 2nd), a Bass Drum, a Snare Drum, Cymbals, a Triangle, a Tam-Tam, a Tambourine, a Glockenspiel, a Xylophone, and Tubular Bells
• Strings: 2 Harps, Violins One and Two, Violas, Violoncellos, and Double basses
• Voices: ("Neptune" only), 2 three-part women's choruses (SSA) located in an adjoining room which is to be screened from the audience
I went to the concert not knowing anything about this performance, but today I have spent some time learning more. I fell blessed to be exposed to learning and experiencing new things.