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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: Cotswolds Symphony, Japanese Suite / Falletta
Release Date: 06/26/2012   Label: Naxos  
Catalog: 8572914   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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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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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 51-75 of 104 Available Recordings
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  • 51.
    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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  • 52.
    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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  • 53.
    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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  • 54.
    Holst: The Planets / Ormandy
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 61270 Release Date: 09/11/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gustav Holst
    Conductor:  Eugene Ormandy
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philadelphia Orchestra
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  • 55.
    Holst: The Planets / Charles Dutoit
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 417553 Release Date: 07/10/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gustav Holst
    Conductor:  Charles Dutoit
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Montreal Symphony Chorus,  Montreal Symphony Orchestra
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  • 56.
    Holst: The Planets; Strauss / Karajan, VPO
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 000894202 Release Date: 06/12/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gustav Holst,  Richard Strauss
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 57.
    British Orchestral Collection / Various
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8502502 Release Date: 11/15/2006   Number of Discs: 25
    Composer:  Ralph Vaughan Williams,  Bruce Montgomery,  Michael Hurd,  Haydn Wood  ... 
    Performer:  Roderick Williams,  Iain Burnside,  Graham Johnson,  John Metcalfe  ... 
    Conductor:  James Judd,  David Lloyd-Jones,  Michael Tippett,  Adrian Leaper  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Zealand Symphony Orchestra,  Duke String Quartet,  Royal Ballet Sinfonia  ... 
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  • 58.
    An Introduction To Gustav Holst
    Label: Chandos   Catalog: 2026 Release Date: 09/19/2006   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gustav Holst
    Conductor:  Richard Hickox,  Sir Alexander Gibson
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  City of London Sinfonia,  Scottish National Orchestra Chorus members,  Royal Scottish National Orchestra
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  • 59.
    Holst: The Planets / Rattle, Berliner Philharmoniker
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 69690 Release Date: 09/12/2006   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Brett Dean,  Mark-Anthony Turnage,  Matthias Pintscher,  Kaija Saariaho  ... 
    Conductor:  Simon Rattle
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  Berlin Radio Chorus
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  • 60.
    A Tribute To Zubin Mehta
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 000623402 Release Date: 04/11/2006   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Carl Maria von Weber,  Gioachino Rossini,  Gottfried von Einem,  Richard Wagner  ... 
    Performer:  Walter Goodwin,  Forrest Clark,  William Kraft,  Charles DeLancey
    Conductor:  Zubin Mehta
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra,  Israel Philharmonic Orchestra,  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 61.
    Holst: The Planets / Leaper
    Label: Arte Nova   Catalog: 277850 Release Date: 08/09/2005   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gustav Holst
    Conductor:  Adrian Leaper
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Grand Canary Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 62.
    Holst: The Planets / Atherton, BBC National Orchestra of Wales
    Label: Opus Arte   Catalog: 916 Release Date: 04/19/2005   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gustav Holst,  Colin Matthews
    Conductor:  David Atherton
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC National Orchestra of Wales
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  • 63.
    Holst: The Planets;  Matthews: Pluto / Hughes, Et Al
    Label: Apex   Catalog: 61991 Release Date: 03/15/2005   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gustav Holst,  Colin Matthews
    Conductor:  Owain Arwel Hughes
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 64.
    Holst: The Planets, Etc / Davis, Hogwood, Berlin Po, Et Al
    Label: Philips   Catalog: 000095302 Release Date: 09/09/2003   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gustav Holst
    Conductor:  Sir Colin Davis,  Christopher Hogwood
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  St. Paul Chamber Orchestra
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  • 65.
    Holst: The Planets;  Britten: Sinfonia Da Requiem / Rattle
    Label: Emi Classics Encore   Catalog: 75868 Release Date: 06/10/2003   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Benjamin Britten,  Gustav Holst
    Conductor:  Simon Rattle
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra,  Philharmonia Orchestra
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  • 66.
    Holst: The Planets / Sir Colin Davis, London Symphony
    Label: Lso Live   Catalog: 29 Release Date: 04/08/2003   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gustav Holst
    Conductor:  Sir Colin Davis
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Chorus members,  London Symphony Orchestra
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  • 67.
    Holst: The Planets; Elgar: Serenade For Strings / Norrington
    Label: Hänssler Classic   Catalog: 93043 Release Date: 07/30/2002   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Sir Edward Elgar,  Gustav Holst
    Conductor:  Roger Norrington
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra
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  • 68.
    Holst: The Planets, The Mystic Trumpeter / Lloyd-jones, Rsno
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8555776 Release Date: 04/16/2002   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Colin Matthews,  Gustav Holst
    Performer:  Claire Rutter
    Conductor:  David Lloyd-Jones
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Scottish National Orchestra Chorus members,  Royal Scottish National Orchestra
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  • 69.
    Elgar: Enigma Variations;  Holst: Planets / Boult, Lpo, Lso
    Label: Emi Great Recordings Of The Century   Catalog: 67749 Release Date: 04/09/2002   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Sir Edward Elgar,  Gustav Holst
    Conductor:  Sir Adrian Boult
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  Geoffrey Mitchell Choir,  London Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 70.
    Holst: The Planets, Egdon Heath / Davis, BBC Symphony Orchestra
    Label: Apex   Catalog: 89087 Release Date: 02/19/2002   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gustav Holst
    Performer:  Sir Andrew Davis
    Conductor:  Sir Andrew Davis
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC Symphony Orchestra,  BBC Symphony Chorus
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  • 71.
    Holst: The Planets;  Vaughan Williams: Fantasias / Slatkin
    Label: Rca 24/96 Sound Dimension   Catalog: 68018 Release Date: 10/23/2001   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ralph Vaughan Williams,  Gustav Holst
    Conductor:  Leonard Slatkin
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra,  New London Children's Choir
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  • 72.
    Westminster - Holst: The Planets; Vaughan-Williams / Boult
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 471240 Release Date: 09/18/2001   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ralph Vaughan Williams,  Gustav Holst
    Conductor:  Sir Adrian Boult
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna State Opera Orchestra,  Vienna Academy Chamber Chorus
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  • 73.
    Holst: Planets; Strauss: Also aprach Zarathustra / Steinberg
    Label: Dg The Originals   Catalog: 463627 Release Date: 05/08/2001   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Strauss,  Gustav Holst
    Performer:  Joseph Silverstein
    Conductor:  William Steinberg
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Symphony Orchestra,  New England Conservatory Chorus
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  • 74.
    Eloquence - Holst: The Planets / Mehta, La Philharmonic, Etc
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 467418 Release Date: 04/10/2001   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  John T. Williams,  Gustav Holst
    Conductor:  Zubin Mehta
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra,  Los Angeles Master Chorale Women
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  • 75.
    Holst: The Planets;  Schoenberg / Stokowski, Los Angeles Po
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 67469 Release Date: 02/13/2001   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Arnold Schoenberg,  Gustav Holst
    Conductor:  Leopold Stokowski
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Leopold Stokowski Orchestra,  Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra,  Roger Wagner Chorale Women
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