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Gustav Holst
 
 

Gustav Holst
 
 
Gustav Holst, original name Gustavus Theodore Von Holst (born Sept. 21, 1874, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, Eng.—died May 25, 1934, London), English composer and music teacher noted for the excellence of his orchestration. His music combines an international flavour based on the styles of Maurice Ravel, Igor Stravinsky, and others with a continuation of English Romanticism.

The son of a Swedish father and English mother, Holst studied at the Royal College of Music in London. His solo instrument was the trombone, and for some years after leaving the college he made his living as a trombone player in the Carl Rosa Opera Company and in various orchestras. He became music master at St. Paul’s Girls’ School in 1905 and director of music at Morley College in 1907. These were the most important of his teaching posts, and he retained both of them until the end of his life.

Holst’s pioneering methods, which entailed a rediscovery of the English vocal and choral tradition (folk song, madrigals, and church music), were influential in musical education in many English schools. Many of Holst’s smaller choral works, folk-song arrangements, and instrumental pieces (e.g., the St. Paul’s Suite for strings [1913]) reflect the musical interests he sought to promote as a teacher. In this activity he shared much common ground with Ralph Vaughan Williams, his friend and contemporary. Holst’s stubbornly independent, exploring mind had need, however, of a musical language less limited and more flexible than that offered by the English folk-song school. He found fresh creative stimuli in the new European music (e.g., the innovations of Stravinsky), whose impact Holst registered in his orchestral suite The Planets (1918); and also in Hindu literature, which gave rise to his “Sanskrit” period (1908–12), during which he composed the opera Savitri and four sets of choral hymns from the Ṛigveda. The cosmopolitanism of Holst’s style, rare in English music of his period, lends him a special historical significance. In such works as Egdon Heath for orchestra (1927), the Choral Fantasia (1930), and the Fugal Concerto for flute, oboe, and string orchestra (1923), he anticipated many trends associated with later English composers who were to turn away from the self-consciously national style bred by the folk-song revival.



Holst, caricatured as "The Bringer of Jollity", by F Sanchez, 1921
 

Holst’s works include the opera Sita, composed during 1899–1906; The Hymn of Jesus, for chorus and orchestra (1917); Ode to Death, for chorus and orchestra (1919); The Perfect Fool, an opera (1923); Choral Symphony (1923–24); the opera At the Boar’s Head (1925); Double Concerto for Two Violins and Orchestra (1929); and Hammersmith, for orchestra (1930).

Encyclopædia Britannica
 
 
 
Gustav Hoist had a striking originality as a composer and breadth of interest as a thinker. He was born in Cheltenham to musical parents of Scandinavian and German extraction, and studied at the Royal College of Music in London. There his friendship with Ralph Vaughan Williams was considerably inore stimulating to him than composition lessons with the ultra-traditional composer Charles Stanford. He conceived as well a passion for Wagner,
whose style looms large in Hoist's apprentice works, and an interest in Hindu philosophy and literature.
After a few early years playing orchestral trombone, Hoist turned to teaching as his mainstay. From 1905 until his death he was director of music at St Paul's Girls' School in London, and the St Paul's suite for strings of 1912 is only the best known of many works that he wrote for amateur music-making, in which his involvement was serious and wholehearted. The folk song collecting of Vaughan Williams and Cecil Sharp also excited Hoist; in 1906 to 1907 he wrote A Somerset rhapsody, based on traditional tunes.
The most notable of many works springing from Hoist's preoccupation with Hinduism was the chamber opera Savitri dating from 1908, based on an episode from the epic poem Mahabharata: its economy and intensity are exemplified in the arresting and dramatic opening, where Death sings, offstage and unaccompanied.
Hoist's heavy teaching schedule meant that composing was confined to weekends and holidays: the orchestral suite The planets consequently took him from 1914 to 1916 to write. It achieved almost overnight success for its bewildered composer, who never considered it his best work. One can imagine, however, the impact of the terrifying martial music of "Mars" on audiences immersed in the horror of World War I, He evoked a dif-
ferent but equally imaginative sense of timelessness in the offstage women's chorus dying away at the end of "Neptune."
The hymn of Jesus of 1917, for choir and orchestra, also met with success. Quite distinct from the traditional English oratorio, Hoist's setting of his own translation of part of the apocryphal Acts of St John evoked, by means of dancing rhythms and astonishing clashes of harmony, an exultant and mystical experience.
Success gave Hoist more time to compose, but his -works of the 1920s puzzled audiences and critics alike: even the loyal Vaughan Williams felt unable to summon up more than "cold admiration" for the ambitious Choral symphony (1923—4). One of the best pieces from this later, introverted period is the orchestral tone poem Egdon Heath, based on a passage from Thomas Hardy's novel The Return of the Native. Hardy's description of the heath as "like man, slighted and enduring; and withal singularly colossal and mysterious in its swarthy monotony" accords well with the quiet power and lean textures of this restrained and hypnotic music.
Hoist received numerous awards during his last years and was appointed a visiting lecturer at Harvard University. He died in May 1934.
 
 
 
 
The Best of Holst
 
1. Marte, O Mensageiro Da Guerra
2. Vênus, A Mensageira Da Paz
3. Mercúrio, O Mensageiro Alado
4. Júpiter, O Mensageiro Da Alegria
5. Saturno, O Mensageiro Da Velhice
6. Urano, O Mágico
7. Netuno, O Místico
8. Egdon Heath, Opus 47
9. Hammersmith, Opus 52
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Gustav Holst- The Planets, Full Suite
 
0:00 Mars
7:27 Venus
14:52 Mercury
18:39 Jupiter
26:11 Saturn
35:26 Uranus
41:12 Neptune
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Gustav Holst - The Planets, Op. 32
 
"The Planets", Op. 32, is a seven-movement orchestral suite by the English composer Gustav Holst, written between 1914 and 1916. Each movement of the suite is named after a planet of the Solar System and its corresponding astrological character as defined by Holst. With the exception of Earth, which is not observed in astrological practice, all the planets are represented.
The idea of the work was suggested to Holst by Clifford Bax, who introduced him to astrology when the two were part of a small group of English artists holidaying in Majorca in the spring of 1913; Holst became quite a devotee of the subject, and liked to cast his friends' horoscopes for fun.
The suite has seven movements, each named after a planet and its corresponding astrological character:
1. Mars, the Bringer of War (00:00 - 07:21)
2. Venus, the Bringer of Peace (07:22 - 15:59);
3. Mercury, the Winged Messenger (16:00 - 19:51);
4. Jupiter, the Bringer of Jollity (19:52 - 27:49);
5. Saturn, the Bringer of Old Age (27:50 - 36:31);
6. Uranus, the Magician (36:32 - 42:14)
7. Neptune, the Mystic (42:15 - 49:01).
Holst's original title (clearly seen on the handwritten full score) was "Seven Pieces for Large Orchestra". he orchestral premiere of The Planets suite, conducted at Holst's request by Adrian Boult, was held at short notice on 29 September 1918, during the last weeks of World War I, in the Queen's Hall with the financial support of Holst's friend and fellow composer Henry Balfour Gardiner. It was hastily rehearsed; the musicians of the Queen's Hall Orchestra first saw the complicated music only two hours before the performance, and the choir for "Neptune" was recruited from pupils from St Paul's Girls' School (where Holst taught). It was a comparatively intimate affair, attended by around 250 invited associates, but Holst regarded it as the public premiere, inscribing Boult's copy of the score, "This copy is the property of Adrian Boult who first caused the Planets to shine in public and thereby earned the gratitude of Gustav Holst."

Conductor: Andrè Previn & Royal Philharmonic Orchestra

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Gustav Holst - Venus
 
Venus, from Gustav Holst's Planet Suite, being played by The Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and conducted by Sir Charles Mackerras.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Gustav Holst - Jupiter
 
Jupiter, from Gustav Holst's Planet Suite, being played by The Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and conducted by Sir Charles Mackerras.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Gustav Holst - St Paul's Suite
 
- St Paul's Suite (1913)
I. Jig. (Vivace)
II. Ostinato. (Presto)
III. Intermezzo. (Andante con moto - Vivace - Tempo I)
IV. Finale (The Dargason). (Allegro)

City of London Sinfonia
Richard Hickox

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Gustav Holst: Symphony in F Major "The Cotswolds" (1900)
 
Symphony in F Major, op.8 H.47 "The Cotswolds" (1900).

I. Allegro con brio
II. Elegy (in memoriam William Morris): Molto Adagio [03:36]
III. Scherzo [12:14]
IV. Finale: Allegro moderato [17:12]

Ulster Orchestra diretta da JoAnn Falletta.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Gustav Holst, Ode to Death
 
Ode to Death op.38 (H. 144) (1919) - London Symphony Chorus e City of London Sinfonia diretti da Richard Hickox
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Gustav Holst - The Cloud Messenger Op. 30
 
This piece is the largest of the "Indian" works Holst composed between 1895 and 1914. It is based on the "Meghaduta," an epic poem by Kalidasa, the Indian poet. Holst once said that the translation of this poem took him seven years to complete, "seven happy years, of course." Holst didn't complete this translation alone though. There was a similar translation used by R. W. Frazier in his book, "Silent Gods and Sun Steeped Lands," of which Holst owned a copy.
The Cloud Messenger is about an exiled poet from Central India who sends a cloud toward the Himalaya Mountains to relay a message of love to his wife, who is lonely. There are great moments of dance laced throughout the piece, which serve to symbolize the cloud listening in on the dances in the temples of the holy city. In the end, the cloud delivers its message by speaking softly into the sleeping ear of the poet's wife.
The piece was first performed on 4 March 1913, with Holst conducting the London Choral Society and the New Symphony Orchestra. It received mixed reviews from the public. Vaughan Williams thought the piece was "beautiful," yet Holst's daughter, Imogen, does not speak highly of the piece. Holst himself thought it was the best piece he had written at the time and was extremely disappointed with it's failure. He fell into a deep depression after its premiere and was surprised when he received a gift from an anonymous person which enabled him to go on a vacation in Mallorica, with his friends, Clifford and Arnold Bax.

Conductor: Richard Hickox & London Symphony Orchestra

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
G. Holst: First Choral Symphony, Op. 41 (1923-24)
 
London Philharmonic Orchestra & Choir conducted by/Orquesta y coro Filarmónico de Londres dirigidos por Sir Adrian Boult. Soprano: Felicity Palmer.

Prelude: Invocation to Pan / Preludio: Invocación a Pan (0:00)
I. Song and Bacchanal / Canto y Bacanal (2:55)
II. Ode on a Grecian Urn /Oda para una Urna Griega (12:58)
III. Scherzo: Fancy-Folly’s Song (25:54)
IV. Finale (31:26)

Gustav Holst’s First Choral Symphony is based upon poetry by Romantic John Keats. While the selected texts go from the most solemn to the most mundane, they are all based on Greco-Roman sensitivities and subjects, and Holst music sublimely corresponds to their ancient nature.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Gustav Holst - The Hymn Of Jesus Op 37 - H.140
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Holst: Japanese Suite (Itsukushima Shrine & Mt. Misen)
 
Japanese Suite Op. 33 (1915) by Gustav Holst

1. Prelude: Song of the Fisherman (0:00)
2. Ceremonial Dance (2:36)
3. Dance of the Marionette (4:28)
4. Interlude: Song of the Fisherman (6:11)
5. Dance under the Cherry Tree (7:09)
6. Finale: Dance of the Wolves (9:26)

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
G.Holst: Indra, Symphonic Poem Op.13 H.66 (1903)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Gustav Holst - Choral Hymns from the Rig Veda, Op. 26 and Two Eastern Pictures (1911)
 
Sir David Willcocks, Royal Philarmonic Orchestra

Second Group, H.98 No.2 (1909), For Women's Chorus and Orchestra
- To Varuna
- To Agni, 07:03
- Funeral Chant, 09:03

First Group, H. 96 No.1 (1908-10), For Chorus and Orchestra
- Battle Hymn, 12:19
- To the Unknown God, 14:28

Third Group, H. 99 No.3 (1910), For Women's Chorus and Harp
- Hymn to the Dawn, 20:03
- Hymn to the Waters, 23:17
- Hymn to Vena, 25:04
- Hymn of the Travellers, 30:25

Fourth Group, H. 100 No.4 (1912), For Men's Chorus and Orchestra
- Hymn to Soma, 32:40
- Hymn to Manas, 34:17

Two Eastern Pictures, H.112 (1911), For Women's Voices and Harp
- Spring, 38:09
- Summer, 40:01

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
     
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