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Out of this world

The Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra is reaching for the heavens this weekend with "Celestial Classics." Two pieces are featured -- Mozart's "Jupiter" Symphony and Gustav Holst's "The Planets."

Both are magnificent in their own way. To a classical music fan, Mozart's 41st Symphony, nicknamed the "Jupiter," is a marvel from beginning to end. The slow movement is incredibly moving, the minuet strangely haunting, and the finale is the great compressed fugue that ends the piece -- 20 seconds or so of dizzying grandeur.

It's a piece that's impossible to follow -- so maybe the best thing is to change the mood completely, which is what "The Planets" does.

JoAnn Falletta, the BPO's music director, points out that the pieces are not so much about the planets as the gods whom the planets were named for. "Every movement is a little snapshot of the god," she says. "Mercury is this quicksilver movement, shows the god who's the messenger, darting here and there. Jupiter, the king of the gods, he's like an old English gentleman, in charge of estates. There's Mars, the bringer of war. And Uranus is about a magician. He's kind of a little bit of an evil magician."

"Celestial Classics" takes place at 8 p.m. Saturday and 2:30 p.m. Sunday. For info, call 885-5000.

-- Mary Kunz Goldman

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