The best and oddest science-inspired music
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In February 1930, a young astronomer called Clyde Tombaugh confirmed what some researchers had suspected for some time: the solar system was home to a ninth planet, orbiting far beyond Neptune. The discovery was met with an enthusiastic reception, as people the world over began offering up names for the new rock. Eventually, Pluto – the suggestion of an 11-year-old girl from the UK – won out.
But one man might have been forgiven for not welcoming the discovery. Between 1914 and 1916, Gustav Holst wrote his famous Planets suite. He lived until 1934 – but evidently he lacked the energy to bring his composition up to date in his final years. In fact, it wasn’t until 2000 that The Planets gained an additional piece.
British composer Colin Matthews was asked by the Halle Orchestra to write an addendum for the planet Pluto. The new piece was well received– but barely six years after it was premiered, the International Astronomical Union elected to demote Pluto from its planetary status, making Matthews’ work redundant.