Holst’s The Planets is a seven-movement orchestral suite unlike anything that had been written before it. Today’s video is from The Melodica Men, with their uh – unusual – performance of Mars, Bringer of War.
If you loved science fiction and you remember the world as it was before Star Wars, then The Planets was something you listened to while reading your favorite science fiction books.
Each movement of The Planets is the thematic embodiment of one of the seven planets known at the beginning of the previous century. Mars, Bringer of War is one of the more recognizable movements from this work, inspiring inspiring modern film composers including John Williams, Hans Zimmer, James Horner, Jerry Goldsmith and Howard Shore. Mars, Bringer of War was the first movement finished – rather poignantly heralding the beginning of World War I.
In this video, Joe Buono and Tristan Clarke rather hilariously take on this iconic piece. While it is a comedic delivery, from a musical standpoint the performance is rock solid, and frankly, rather amazing.
About the Melodica Men
What started off as two guys playing toy instruments for fun is now an internationally-acclaimed musical duo. Joe Buono and Tristan Clarke became friends while studying music at the Peabody Conservatory, and they have been playing melodica together since May 2016. A melodica is like a cross between a keyboard and a harmonica because you have to blow air into it to make the reeds inside vibrate.
In July 2016, the Melodica Men funded their tour of Seattle and Paris by busking in the street. In September 2016, their “Rite of Spring” video went viral and gained over 1.5 million views in one day. In December 2016, they played their solo debut with the Jacksonville Symphony at the Holiday Pops concert series. Since then, they have been soloists with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, featured on ABC’s “The Gong Show,” briefly seen on NBC’s “America’s Got Talent,” and have gained 230,000+ social media followers and over 30 million views worldwide thus far. You can find the Melodica Men on Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram.
Behind the scenes, the Melodica Men are pioneering a new way of learning music as a language through the melodica. Pilot programs in elementary schools began in January of 2018, and they have an online curriculum at their web site that will help you learn to play the melodica yourself. You can find out more about their music education mission on Patreon.
Tristan is a graduate of the Juilliard School and plays principal trumpet with the Jacksonville Symphony. Joe has earned two Masters degrees from the Peabody Conservatory and is currently teaching and composing.
That’s right – these men are learned musical scholars.