The English composer Gustav Holst wrote, between 1914 and 1916, a seven-movement orchestral suite – The Planets, Op. 32. Each movement of the suite is named after a planet of the Solar System and its corresponding astrological character.

The first movement of the suit has the title „Mars, the Bringer of War“ and was written in 1914 (by strange coincidence, the year that really brought the war – the First World War started at 28 July 1914).

Holst conceived the idea of The Planets in 1913, partly as a result of his interest in astrology. The writer and journalist Clifford Bax introduced Holst to astrology, in the spring of 1913, in Majorca. Then, Holst became a devotee of the subject, studying natal charts of his friends. He also read the works of the British astrologer Alan Leo (1860-1917), author of „Practical Astrology“, „How to Judge a Nativity“, „The Key to your own Nativity“ or „What is the Horoscope and How is it Cast“.

In astrology, Mars – planet named after the ancient Roman god of war – is associated with energy, strength and impulsiveness and governs all kind of competitions and physical activities. Mars is a personal planet, the ruler of Aries and Scorpio (where is his domicile), having exaltation in Capricorn, detriment in Libra and Taurus and fall in Cancer.

Holst: Mars, the Bringer of War

Mars the Bringer of War