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: 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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Holst: Music For Two Pianos /Len Vorster, Robert Chamberlain
Release Date: 07/28/1998   Label: Naxos  
Catalog: 8554369   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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The Singing Apes - Sandstrom, Britten, Holst, Weill, Et Al
Release Date: 11/19/1996   Label: Bis  
Catalog: 733   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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Work: The Planets

Browse 26-50 of 96 Available Recordings
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  • 26.
    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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  • 27.
    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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  • 28.
    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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  • 29.
    Universe Of Sound - Holst: The Planets / Salonen, Philharmonia Orchestra
    Label: Signum Classics   Catalog: 9 Release Date: 04/30/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gustav Holst
    Conductor:  Esa-Pekka Salonen
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
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  • 30.
    Universe Of Sound - Holst: The Planets / Salonen, Philharmonia Orchestra [blu-ray]
    Label: Signum Classics   Catalog: 1 Release Date: 04/30/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gustav Holst
    Conductor:  Esa-Pekka Salonen
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
    Blu-ray Video: $22.49
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  • 31.
    Holst: The Planets, A Moorside Suite / Hickox, Stobart
    Label: Regis   Catalog: 1200 Release Date: 01/29/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gustav Holst
    Conductor:  Richard Hickox,  James Stobart
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  London Collegiate Brass
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  • 32.
    Holst: The Planets / Previn, London Symphony Orchestra
    Label: Hiq Records   Catalog: 3 Release Date: 01/15/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gustav Holst
    Conductor:  André Previn
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ambrosian Singers,  London Symphony Orchestra
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  • 33.
    Elgar: 'enigma' Variations; Holst: The Planets
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 539768 Release Date: 09/11/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Sir Edward Elgar,  Gustav Holst
    Conductor:  Sir Adrian Boult
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  • 34.
    Holst: The Planets; The Perfect Fool (Ballet Music)
    Label: Nimbus   Catalog: 7076 Release Date: 08/14/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gustav Holst
    Conductor:  William Boughton
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
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  • 35.
    Holst: The Planets; Williams: Star Wars Suite / Mehta, Los Angeles Philharmonic
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001706802 Release Date: 07/24/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gustav Holst,  John Williams
    Conductor:  Zubin Mehta
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 36.
    Holst: The Planets, Op 32 / Previn, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
    Label: Lim   Catalog: 58 Release Date: 07/17/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gustav Holst
    Conductor:  André Previn
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra,  Brighton Festival Chorus
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  • 37.
    Label: Heritage   Catalog: 233 Release Date: 07/17/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gustav Holst,  Arnold Bax
    Conductor:  Sir Adrian Boult
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  • 38.
    British Music For Piano Duo / Goldstone, Clemmow
    Label: Divine Art   Catalog: 24154 Release Date: 07/10/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gustav Holst
    Performer:  Anthony Goldstone,  Caroline Clemmow
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  • 39.
    Holst: The Collector's Edition
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 40471 Release Date: 06/19/2012   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Gustav Holst
    Performer:  Jonathan Snowden,  David Theodore,  Ralph Downes,  Dame Janet Baker  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Adrian Boult,  André Previn,  Norman Del Mar,  Yehudi Menuhin  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra,  London Symphony Orchestra,  Bournemouth Sinfonietta  ... 
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  • 40.
    Classical Clubhouse: Big Space Adventure!
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 55478 Release Date: 04/10/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Colin Matthews,  Gustav Holst
    Conductor:  Simon Rattle
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  • 41.
    Holst: The Planets; Britten: Variations & Fugue On A Theme Of Purcell
    Label: Ica Classics   Catalog: 5053 Release Date: 02/28/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Benjamin Britten,  Gustav Holst
    Conductor:  Gennadi Rozhdestvensky
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  • 42.
    Holst: The Planets (Organ Transcriptions By Peter Sykes)
    Label: Oehms   Catalog: 683 Release Date: 01/31/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gustav Holst
    Performer:  Hansjörg Albrecht
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  • 43.
    Holst: The Planets / York2, Fiona York, John York, Piano - Four Hands
    Label: Nimbus   Catalog: 5871 Release Date: 07/12/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gustav Holst,  York Bowen
    Performer:  Fiona York,  John York
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  York2 Piano Duo
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  • 44.
    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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  • 45.
    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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  • 46.
    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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  • 47.
    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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  • 48.
    Holst: The Planets; Vaughan Williams / Ormandy, Philadelphia Orchestra
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 38060 Release Date: 03/11/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ralph Vaughan Williams,  Gustav Holst
    Conductor:  Eugene Ormandy
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philadelphia Orchestra
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  • 49.
    Holst: The Planets;  Britten: Young Person's Guide, Etc
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 64300 Release Date: 12/29/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gustav Holst,  Henry Purcell,  Benjamin Britten
    Conductor:  Sir Andrew Davis,  Andrew Parrott,  Sir Neville Marriner
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Toronto Symphony Orchestra,  Taverner Players,  Minnesota Orchestra
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  • 50.
    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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