Mercury: The Winged Messenger


The music and reading for Mercury were both quite dry and un-interesting compared to Mars and Venus.  It seems as though even less is known about Mercury than Venus, and the fact that it is more comparable to the moon than it is to Earth makes it less appealing.  There was not much to the article, suggesting that Mercury is a lowly planet at the bottom of the totem pole.  It is small, its temperatures are extreme, and it is mysterious.  Everything that is known about Mercury is unexplainable, including it metallic core and its formation.  Without something to compare it to, it is hard to know much about the planet other than assumptions and hypotheses, which could just as easily correct or wrong.  Hopefully more information can be obtained about this strange planet when the Messenger spacecraft is able to attain orbit around the planet sometime this year.  However, this will only provide a means to map the planet, when what is really needed is for spacecraft to land on the planet and send samples back to Earth that will shed a small light onto the mystery that is Mercury.

Gustav Holst’s piece for Mercury was light and jumpy, and I could easily picture a “winged messenger” darting around from place to place.  The music was steady without many sudden key changes or abrupt changes in tempo.  The one drawback would have to be the constant sharp note that I heard just before the minute mark (which may have just been my computer; I could not tell).  Regardless, it was out of place with the rest of the music and made me want to stop listening for just a few seconds.  Despite that, this was my favorite planet piece so far because it is a lot cheerier and a lot simpler than the other pieces.  It is easy to understand what Holst was trying to accomplish when writing the piece-that Mercury is quick and fleeting.