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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: Savitri / Hickox, Kwella, Palmer, Langridge, Et Al
Release Date: 07/11/2000   Label: Helios  
Catalog: 55042   Number of Discs: 1
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This Have I Done For My True Love - Holst: Partsongs
Release Date: 09/14/2004   Label: Helios  
Catalog: 55171   Number of Discs: 1
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Britten: Choral Dances;  Bliss, Holst / Wetton, Hill, Et Al
Release Date: 10/09/2001   Label: Helios  
Catalog: 55050   Number of Discs: 1
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Dvd Space Spectacular - Holst, Strauss / Litton, Dallas Symphony
Release Date: 09/04/1998   Label: Delos  
Catalog: 7003   Number of Discs: 1
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Holst: The Planets / Atherton, BBC National Orchestra of Wales
Release Date: 04/19/2005   Label: Opus Arte  
Catalog: 916   Number of Discs: 1
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Work: The Planets

Browse 26-50 of 101 Available Recordings
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  • 26.
    British Composers - Vaughan Williams, Finzi, Holst
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 95433 Release Date: 05/03/2011   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Ralph Vaughan Williams,  Gerald Finzi,  Arnold Bax,  Gustav Holst
    Performer:  David Van Asch,  Nigel Perrin,  Robin Doveton,  John Eaton  ... 
    Conductor:  Nicholas Cleobury,  Sir David Willcocks,  Sir Adrian Boult,  Christopher Finzi  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  King's Singers,  Cambridge King's College Choir,  London Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
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  • 27.
    Holst: Orchestral Works Vol. 2 / Davis, BBC Philharmonic
    Label: Chandos   Catalog: 5086 Release Date: 02/22/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gustav Holst
    Conductor:  Sir Andrew Davis
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 28.
    Zubin Mehta & The Israel Philharmonic Orchestra - Live Recordings 1963-2006 [12-CD Set]
    Label: Helicon   Catalog: 9625 Release Date: 12/07/2010   Number of Discs: 12
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Gioachino Rossini,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Ludwig van Beethoven  ... 
    Performer:  Radu Lupu,  Arie Vardi,  Yefim Bronfman,  Alicia De Larrocha  ... 
    Conductor:  Zubin Mehta
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Israel Philharmonic Orchestra,  Prague Philharmonic Choir,  Scottish National Chorus  ... 
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  • 29.
    Holst: The Planets / Ozawa, Boston Symphony Orchestra
    Label: Newton Classics   Catalog: 8802031 Release Date: 11/16/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gustav Holst
    Conductor:  Seiji Ozawa
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Symphony Orchestra,  New England Conservatory Chorus
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  • 30.
    Holst: The Planets / Jurowski, London PO
    Label: Lpo   Catalog: 47 Release Date: 10/26/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gustav Holst
    Conductor:  Vladimir Jurowski
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 31.
    Elgar: Enigma Variations; Holst: The Planets / Adrian Boult
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 31783 Release Date: 10/12/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Sir Edward Elgar,  Gustav Holst
    Conductor:  Sir Adrian Boult
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  London Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 32.
    Holst: The Planets; Egdon Heath; The Perfect Fool
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 27898 Release Date: 08/10/2010   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Gustav Holst
    Performer:  Dame Janet Baker,  Ian Partridge
    Conductor:  Norman Del Mar,  André Previn,  Sir Adrian Boult,  Eric Banks  ... 
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  • 33.
    Holst: The Planets; Rimsky-Korsakov: Mlada Suite / Svetlanov
    Label: Brilliant Classics   Catalog: 94044 Release Date: 05/04/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gustav Holst,  Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov
    Conductor:  Yevgeny Svetlanov
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
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  • 34.
    Holst: The Planets; Vaughan Williams / Ormandy, Philadelphia Orchestra
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 38060 Release Date: 03/12/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ralph Vaughan Williams,  Gustav Holst
    Conductor:  Eugene Ormandy
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philadelphia Orchestra
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  • 35.
    Holst: The Planets
    Label: Fidelio Musique   Catalog: 28 Release Date: 01/19/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gustav Holst
    Performer:  Mélanie Barney
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Buzz Ensemble
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  • 36.
    Holst: Planets;  Britten: Young Person Guide / Pavo Jarvi, Cinncinnati So
    Label: Telarc   Catalog: 80743 Release Date: 10/27/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gustav Holst,  Benjamin Britten
    Conductor:  Paavo Järvi
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra
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  • 37.
    Icon - Leopold Stokowski - The Maverick Conductor
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 98555 Release Date: 10/20/2009   Number of Discs: 10
    Composer:  Pietro Antonio Cesti,  Ernest Bloch,  Dmitri Shostakovich,  Giovanni Palestrina  ... 
    Conductor:  Leopold Stokowski
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  • 38.
    Simon Rattle - British Music
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 97588 Release Date: 10/20/2009   Number of Discs: 11
    Composer:  Mark-Anthony Turnage,  Nicholas Maw,  Thomas Adčs,  Percy Aldridge Grainger  ... 
    Performer:  Julian Bream,  Thomas Allen,  Robert Tear,  Thomas Hampson  ... 
    Conductor:  Simon Rattle
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra,  Birmingham Contemporary Music Group,  City of Birmingham Symphony Chorus  ... 
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  • 39.
    Andre Previn - The Great Recordings - The LSO Years 1971-1980
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 67969 Release Date: 05/19/2009   Number of Discs: 10
    Composer:  George Gershwin,  Samuel Barber,  Carl Orff,  Benjamin Britten  ... 
    Performer:  André Previn,  Sheila Armstrong,  Thomas Allen,  Gerald English  ... 
    Conductor:  André Previn
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  St. Clement Danes Grammar School Boys Choir,  London Symphony Chorus
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  • 40.
    Holst: The Planets / Seiji Ozawa, Boston Symphony Orchestra
    Label: Philips   Catalog: 416456 Release Date: 12/16/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gustav Holst
    Conductor:  Seiji Ozawa
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New England Conservatory Chorus,  Boston Symphony Orchestra
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  • 41.
    Holst: The Planets; Elgar: Enigma Variations / Boult, Barbirolli
    Label: Opus Kura   Catalog: 2079 Release Date: 12/09/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gustav Holst,  Sir Edward Elgar
    Conductor:  Sir Adrian Boult,  Sir John Barbirolli
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC Symphony Orchestra,  Hallé Orchestra
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  • 42.
    20th-century Masterpieces - 100 Years Of Classical Music
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 17500 Release Date: 11/24/2008   Number of Discs: 16
    Composer:  Sergei Rachmaninov,  Claude Debussy,  Frederick Delius,  Gustav Mahler  ... 
    Performer:  Leif Ove Andsnes,  Christa Ludwig,  Martha Argerich,  Sarah Chang  ... 
    Conductor:  Antonio Pappano,  Carlo Maria Giulini,  Sir Thomas Beecham,  Otto Klemperer  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Melos Ensemble London
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  • 43.
    Composers In Person
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 17575 Release Date: 11/24/2008   Number of Discs: 22
    Composer:  Béla Bartók,  Ernö von Dohnányi,  Paul Hindemith,  Aram Khachaturian  ... 
    Performer:  Béla Bartók,  Vilma Medgyaszay,  Ferenc Szekeres,  Zoltán Székely  ... 
    Conductor:  Lawrence Collingwood,  Paul Hindemith,  Aram Khachaturian,  Arthur Honegger  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Percurama Percussion Ensemble
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  • 44.
    Holst: The Planets, St. Paul's Suite / Handley, RPO
    Label: Royal Philharmonic Masterworks   Catalog: 28070 Release Date: 10/14/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gustav Holst
    Conductor:  Vernon Handley
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 45.
    Holst: The Planets / John Williams, Boston Pops
    Label: Philips   Catalog: 420177 Release Date: 08/05/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gustav Holst
    Conductor:  John T. Williams
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Pops
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  • 46.
    Holst: Planets / Andrew Davis, BBC Symphony Orchestra
    Label: Kultur Video   Catalog: 4384 Release Date: 07/29/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gustav Holst
    Conductor:  Sir Andrew Davis
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC Symphony Chorus,  BBC Symphony Orchestra
    On sale! $24.99
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  • 47.
    Holst: The Planets; Debussy: La Mer / Ormandy
    Label: Euroarts   Catalog: 2072268 Release Date: 03/25/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gustav Holst,  Claude Debussy
    Conductor:  Eugene Ormandy
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philadelphia Orchestra,  Mendelssohn Club Chorus Philadelphia
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  • 48.
    Karajan - The Legendary Decca Recordings - Brahms, Adam, Et Al
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001078802 Release Date: 03/11/2008   Number of Discs: 9
    Composer:  Richard Strauss,  Johann Strauss Jr.,  Josef Strauss,  Gustav Holst  ... 
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 49.
    Holst: The Planets, Etc / Handley, Wordsworth, Et Al
    Label: Musical Concepts   Catalog: 1013 Release Date: 10/09/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gustav Holst
    Conductor:  Vernon Handley,  Barry Wordsworth
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra,  Ambrosian Singers
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  • 50.
    Greatest Classical Hits - Holst: The Planets
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 000957002 Release Date: 09/11/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gustav Holst
    Conductor:  William Steinberg
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Symphony Orchestra
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