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
Make We Joy - Christmas Music By Holst & Walton / Darlington
Release Date: 07/31/1995   Label: Nimbus  
Catalog: 7021   Number of Discs: 1
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Holst: Hammersmith, Moorside Suite, Suites 1 And 2 / Dunn
Release Date: 12/17/1993   Label: Reference Recordings  
Catalog: 39   Number of Discs: 1
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Holst: The Planets / York2, Fiona York, John York, Piano - Four Hands
Release Date: 07/12/2011   Label: Nimbus  
Catalog: 5871   Number of Discs: 1
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Holst: The Planets; The Perfect Fool (Ballet Music)
Release Date: 08/14/2012   Label: Nimbus  
Catalog: 7076   Number of Discs: 1
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Work: The Planets

Browse 26-50 of 107 Available Recordings
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  • 26.
    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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  • 27.
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 932687 Release Date: 05/24/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gustav Holst
    Conductor:  James Levine
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  • 28.
    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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  • 29.
    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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  • 30.
    Holst: The Planets, Perfect Fool, Moorside Suite / Herrmann, Boult, Howard, Fennell
    Label: Eloquence   Catalog: 4802323 Release Date: 01/25/2011   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Gustav Holst
    Performer:  Julia Bogorad,  Kathryn Greenbank
    Conductor:  Bernard Herrmann,  Sir Adrian Boult,  Christopher Hogwood,  Frederick Fennell  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra,  St. Paul Chamber Orchestra,  Eastman Wind Ensemble  ... 
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  • 31.
    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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  • 32.
    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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  • 33.
    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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  • 34.
    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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  • 35.
    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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  • 36.
    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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  • 37.
    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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  • 38.
    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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  • 39.
    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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  • 40.
    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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  • 41.
    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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  • 42.
    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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  • 43.
    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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  • 44.
    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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  • 45.
    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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  • 46.
    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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  • 47.
    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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  • 48.
    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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  • 49.
    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
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  • 50.
    Holst: The Planets
    Label: Delta Ent.   Catalog: 772818 Release Date: 04/08/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gustav Holst
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