Gustav Holst

Biography

Born: 1874   Died: 1934   Country: England   Period: 20th Century
Known primarily for his popular orchestral composition, The Planets, Gustav Holst embraced a wide variety of musical models, from Arthur Sullivan, Edvard Grieg, and Wagner to the melodic simplicity of English folk music. In his maturity, he managed to merge these various influences into a rather sparse personal style that became increasingly transparent in his later years. Perhaps his greatest talent lay in the realm of choral music; his Hymn of Read more Jesus stands as one of the finest works in the genre from the early twentieth century.

Holst's first instruction came from his father, Adolph, a piano teacher, who also made him take lessons on the violin and trombone; the father believed that these studies might alleviate the youth's asthma.

By age 12, the young Holst was composing, even dabbling in orchestration; in 1888, he won a prize in an amateur competition for his vocal work, A Christmas Carol. Thereafter he sang in the All Saints' Church choir and played violin and trombone in its orchestra. In 1892, he traveled to London and heard a Covent Garden performance of Götterdämmerung, led by Mahler. The experience opened up new compositional vistas for the young composer.

Holst entered the Royal College of Music the following year where he met fellow student Ralph Vaughan Williams, who would remain a close lifelong friend. Shortly after his arrival in London, Holst found that the neuritis in his right arm, which had afflicted him in his early youth, had worsened and now caused him to abandon ideas of a career as a concert pianist. In 1898, Holst left the RCM to take a position in the Carl Rosa Opera Company as rehearsal pianist and coach. He completed his Cotswold Symphony in 1900, and its premiere in April 1902 was a success. On June 22, 1901, Holst married Emily Isobel Harrison, whom he had met in a choir he had directed a few years before.

In late 1903, Holst took on a teaching position at James Allen's Girls' School, in South London. The following year he acquired a second post, the directorship of music at St. Paul's Girls' School, which he would retain until his death. He added another teaching post at Morley College in 1907, bogging him down and leaving little time for composition. Still, the St. Paul's Suite, written during this period (1912-1913), is among his most often-performed works.

In 1914, Holst began work on what would become his most popular composition, The Planets. The war years were extremely productive, as the composer not only completed The Planets, but also wrote Hymn of Jesus. In spring 1918, Holst began educational work for the YMCA at its various facilities on European battlefields.

He returned to London at the end of June 1919 and took a prestigious post teaching theory and composition at the RCM in 1920. The composer's fame was not only growing domestically in the early 1920s but internationally as well, as works like the Hymn of Jesus were receiving regular and acclaimed performances. By 1924, Holst's health was clearly declining, and he thus lessened his workload.

Beginning in late December 1928, Holst made a series of trips abroad that included visits to France, Italy, Sicily, and the U.S. In Boston, a duodenal ulcer was diagnosed in 1932. On May 23, 1934, he underwent surgery for the ulcer, but died two days later. Read less
Holst: Orchestral Works / Hickox, City of London Sinfonia
Release Date: 08/04/2017   Label: Chandos  
Catalog: 10948   Number of Discs: 1
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Holst: Beni Mora, Somerset Rhapsody, Etc /Lloyd-jones, Et Al
Release Date: 05/26/1998   Label: Naxos  
Catalog: 8553696   Number of Discs: 1
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Shepherd's Hey - Grainger, Holst, Etc / Paramount Brass
Release Date: 09/24/2002   Label: Centaur Records  
Catalog: 2547   Number of Discs: 1
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English Song Series 6 - Holst: Vedic Hymns, Songs, Etc
Release Date: 12/02/2003   Label: Naxos  
Catalog: 8557117   Number of Discs: 1
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Holst: Double Concerto, Etc/ Griffiths, Graham, Ewins, Et Al
Release Date: 04/24/2007   Label: Naxos  
Catalog: 8570339   Number of Discs: 1
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Work: The Planets

Browse 1-25 of 94 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    Holst: Planets - Strauss: Zarathustra / Gardner, Great Britain National Youth Orchestra [Vinyl]
    Label: Chandos   Catalog: ABRD 5179 Release Date: 07/21/2017   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Strauss,  Gustav Holst
    Conductor:  Edward Gardner
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain,  City of Birmingham Symphony Youth Chorus
    LP: $24.99
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  • 2.
    Rhythm & Colours / Rattle, Berlin Philharmonic
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 560929 Release Date: 05/05/2017   Number of Discs: 7
    Composer:  Hector Berlioz,  Gustav Mahler,  Claude Debussy,  Igor Stravinsky  ... 
    Performer:  Christian Gerhaher,  Lawrence Brownlee,  Sally Matthews
    Conductor:  Simon Rattle
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  Berlin Radio Chorus
    On sale! $36.98
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  • 3.
    New York Philharmonic: 175th Anniversary Edition
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 533636 Release Date: 04/07/2017   Number of Discs: 65
    Composer:  Richard Wagner,  Richard Strauss,  Camille Saint-Saëns,  Ambroise Thomas  ... 
    Performer:  Oscar Levant,  Robert Casadesus,  Isaac Stern,  Yo-Yo Ma
    Conductor:  Willem Mengelberg,  Josef Stransky,  Arturo Toscanini,  Sir John Barbirolli  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New York Philharmonic
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  • 4.
    Holst: The Planets - Strauss: Also sprach Zarathustra / National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain
    Label: Chandos   Catalog: 5179 Release Date: 02/17/2017   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Strauss,  Gustav Holst
    Conductor:  Edward Gardner
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain,  City of Birmingham Symphony Youth Chorus
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  • 5.
    The Planets: A Figure Skating and Modern Dance Fantasia / Dutoit, Montreal Symphony
    Label: Euroarts   Catalog: 26107 Release Date: 02/03/2017  
    Composer:  Gustav Holst
    Conductor:  Charles Dutoit
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Montreal Symphony Orchestra
    DVD: $24.99
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  • 6.
    Holst: The Planets / Hughes, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
    Label: Royal Philharmonic Orchestra   Catalog: 013 Release Date: 09/09/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gustav Holst,  Colin Matthews
    Conductor:  Owain Arwel Hughes
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
    CD: $17.99
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  • 7.
    Holst: The Planets / Mehta, Los Angeles Philharmonic [Vinyl]
    Label: Decca   Catalog: B002494401 Release Date: 05/27/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gustav Holst
    Conductor:  Zubin Mehta
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra
    LP: $24.99
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  • 8.
    Holst, Schoenberg, Bartok & Loeffler: Orchestral Works / Stokowski
    Label: Urania Records   Catalog: 158 Release Date: 04/29/2016   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Gustav Holst,  Arnold Schoenberg,  Charles Martin Loeffler,  Béla Bartók
    Conductor:  Leopold Stokowski
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Roger Wagner Chorale Women,  Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra,  Leopold Stokowski Orchestra
    CD: $29.99
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  • 9.
    Holst: The Planets / Rattle, Ambrosian Singers, Philharmonia Orchestra
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 555213 Release Date: 04/29/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gustav Holst
    Conductor:  Simon Rattle
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ambrosian Singers,  Philharmonia Orchestra
    CD: $13.99
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  • 10.
    Ken Russell's View of The Planets / Ormandy, Philadelphia Orchestra
    Label: Arthaus Musik   Catalog: 109168 Release Date: 03/25/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gustav Holst
    Conductor:  Eugene Ormandy
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philadelphia Orchestra
    DVD: $29.99
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  • 11.
    Ken Russell's View of The Planets / Ormandy, Philadelphia Orchestra [Blu-ray]
    Label: Arthaus Musik   Catalog: 109169 Release Date: 03/25/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gustav Holst
    Conductor:  Eugene Ormandy
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philadelphia Orchestra
    Blu-ray Video: $39.99
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  • 12.
    Decca Sound – Dutoit: The Montreal Years
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002449102 Release Date: 02/19/2016   Number of Discs: 35
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel,  Camille Saint-Saëns,  Ernest Chausson,  Manuel de Falla  ... 
    Performer:  Pascal Rogé,  Timothy Hutchins,  Beverly Hoch,  Stanford Olsen  ... 
    Conductor:  Charles Dutoit
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Montreal Symphony Orchestra,  Montreal Symphony Chorus
    CD: $117.99
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  • 13.
    The Decca Sound [Repackaged Edition]
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002434502 Release Date: 01/29/2016   Number of Discs: 50
    Composer:  Manuel de Falla,  Claude Debussy,  Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov,  Enrique Granados  ... 
    Performer:  Teresa Berganza,  Alfredo Campoli,  Vladimir Ashkenazy,  Cecilia Bartoli  ... 
    Conductor:  Ernest Ansermet,  Ataulfo Argenta,  Anatole Fistoulari,  Vladimir Ashkenazy  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Suisse Romande Orchestra,  London Symphony Orchestra,  Philharmonia Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $181.49
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  • 14.
    The History of Classical Music in 24 Hours
    Label: Dg Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002403602 Release Date: 11/13/2015   Number of Discs: 24
    Composer:  Anonymous,  Pérotin,  Guillaume de Machaut,  John Dunstable  ... 
    Performer:  Konrad Ragossnig,  Charles [Tenor Vocals] Daniels,  Susan Gritton,  Trevor Pinnock  ... 
    Conductor:  Pater Godehard Joppich,  David Munrow,  Josef Ulsamer,  Bruno Turner  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Early Music Consort of London,  Ulsamer-Collegium,  Pro Cantione Antiqua  ... 
    CD: $75.49
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  • 15.
    Djansug Kakhidze: The Legacy, Vol. 1 - Rachmaninoff, Holst
    Label: Cugate Classics   Catalog: 1 Release Date: 10/02/2015   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Gustav Holst,  Sergey Rachmaninov
    Conductor:  Jansug Kakhidze
    CD: $24.99
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  • 16.
    Holst: The Planets; Ravel: Bolero / Maazel, Orchestre National de France
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 88697712962 Release Date: 08/14/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gustav Holst,  Maurice Ravel
    Conductor:  Lorin Maazel
    CD: $6.99
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  • 17.
    Holst: The Planets: Transcription for Piano / David Rubinstein
    Label: Musicus   Catalog: 5638538842 Release Date: 08/01/2015  
    Composer:  Gustav Holst
    Performer:  David Rubinstein
    CD: $15.99
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  • 18.
    Seiji Ozawa - The Philips Years: Original Jacket Collection [50-CD Set]
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002185602 Release Date: 11/18/2014   Number of Discs: 50
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Béla Bartók,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Hector Berlioz  ... 
    Performer:  Mariko Kobayashi,  Everett Firth,  Hiroshi Arimori,  Sawako Yasue  ... 
    Conductor:  Seiji Ozawa
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Symphony Orchestra,  Saito Kinen Orchestra,  Ambrosian Singers  ... 
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  • 19.
    Zoforbit - A Space Odyssey / Zofo Duet [2 CDs & 1 Blu-ray Audio]
    Label: Sono Luminus   Catalog: 92178 Release Date: 05/27/2014   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Gustav Holst,  Urmas Sisask,  George Crumb,  David Lang
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  ZOFO Duet
    CD: $24.99
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  • 20.
    The Great Recordings / Malcolm Sargent [18-CD Set]
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 634121 Release Date: 04/08/2014   Number of Discs: 18
    Composer:  Sir Edward Elgar,  Sir William Walton,  Ralph Vaughan Williams,  Gustav Holst  ... 
    Performer:  Richard Lewis,  John [baritone (50s)] Cameron,  James Milligan,  Duncan Robertson  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Malcolm Sargent,  André Previn
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra,  Huddersfield Choral Society,  London Symphony Orchestra  ... 
    On sale! $65.98
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  • 21.
    Sir Adrian Boult - The Complete Conductor
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 1927023 Release Date: 02/25/2014   Number of Discs: 10
    Composer:  Sir Edward Elgar,  Gustav Holst,  Robert Simpson,  Sir Arthur Bliss  ... 
    Performer:  Felicity Palmer
    Conductor:  Sir Adrian Boult
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC Symphony Orchestra,  London Philharmonic Orchestra,  New Philharmonia Orchestra  ... 
    On sale! $38.98
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  • 22.
    The Westminster Legacy
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001999302 Release Date: 02/18/2014   Number of Discs: 40
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Franz Joseph Haydn,  Gustav Mahler  ... 
    Performer:  Sena Jurinac,  Lucretia West,  Hans Loeffler,  Frederick Guthrie  ... 
    Conductor:  Hermann Scherchen,  Pierre Monteux,  René Leibowitz,  Erich Leinsdorf  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra,  Vienna State Opera Orchestra,  Vienna Academy Chamber Chorus  ... 
    On sale! $119.98
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  • 23.
    Decca Sound - The Analogue Years
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001934702 Release Date: 11/19/2013   Number of Discs: 54
    Composer:  Camille Saint-Saëns,  Anton Bruckner,  Arnold Schoenberg,  Giuseppe Verdi  ... 
    Performer:  Pascal Rogé,  Dame Joan Sutherland,  Marilyn Horne,  Luciano Pavarotti  ... 
    Conductor:  Charles Dutoit,  Sir Georg Solti,  Bernard Haitink,  Horst Stein  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra,  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra,  Chicago Symphony Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $181.49
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  • 24.
    Panorama - The Sound Of England
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 469274 Release Date: 09/04/2013   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Gustav Holst,  Ralph Vaughan Williams,  Frederick Delius,  Sir Edward Elgar  ... 
    Performer:  Pinchas Zukerman
    Conductor:  William Steinberg,  Daniel Barenboim,  Sir Charles Mackerras,  Norman Del Mar  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Symphony Orchestra,  New England Conservatory Chorus,  English Chamber Orchestra  ... 
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  • 25.
    Colin Davis: The Philips Years
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001850302 Release Date: 06/18/2013   Number of Discs: 15
    Composer:  Béla Bartók,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Hector Berlioz,  Modest Mussorgsky  ... 
    Performer:  Stephen Kovacevich,  Claudio Arrau,  Jessye Norman,  Jon Vickers  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Colin Davis
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  BBC Symphony Orchestra,  Dresden Staatskapelle  ... 
    CD: $65.99
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