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: The Planets (Organ Transcriptions By Peter Sykes)
Release Date: 01/31/2012   Label: Oehms  
Catalog: 683   Number of Discs: 1
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Holst: The Planets / Hughes, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Release Date: 09/09/2016   Label: Royal Philharmonic Orchestra  
Catalog: 013   Number of Discs: 1
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Work: The Planets

Browse 51-75 of 93 Available Recordings
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  • 51.
    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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  • 52.
    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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  • 53.
    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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  • 54.
    Karajan - The Legendary Decca Recordings - Brahms, Adam, Et Al
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001078802 Release Date: 03/11/2008   Number of Discs: 9
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms,  Franz Joseph Haydn,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky  ... 
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 55.
    Holst: The Planets / Previn, London Symphony Orchestra
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 47160 Release Date: 12/26/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gustav Holst
    Conductor:  André Previn
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ambrosian Singers,  London Symphony Orchestra
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  • 56.
    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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  • 57.
    Holst: The Planets / Ormandy
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 61270 Release Date: 08/28/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gustav Holst
    Conductor:  Eugene Ormandy
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philadelphia Orchestra
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  • 58.
    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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  • 59.
    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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  • 60.
    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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  • 61.
    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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  • 62.
    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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  • 63.
    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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  • 64.
    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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  • 65.
    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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  • 66.
    Holst: The Planets; Elgar: Serenade For Strings / Norrington
    Label: Swr Music   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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  • 67.
    Holst: The Planets; Janacek: Sinfonietta / Rattle, Philharmonia
    Label: Emi Classics Special Import   Catalog: 64740 Release Date: 07/02/2002   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Leos Janácek,  Gustav Holst
    Conductor:  Simon Rattle
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra,  Ambrosian Ladies Chorus
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  • 68.
    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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  • 69.
    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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  • 70.
    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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  • 71.
    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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  • 72.
    Holst: The Planets / Mehta, La Philharmonic
    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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  • 73.
    Holst: The Planets; Walton: Suite, Etc
    Label: Avid   Catalog: 582 Release Date: 07/18/2000   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Sir William Walton,  Gustav Holst
    Conductor:  Sir William Walton,  Sir Adrian Boult
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Hallé Orchestra,  London Philharmonic Orchestra,  BBC Symphony Orchestra  ... 
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  • 74.
    Holst: Planets, Somerset Rhapsody, Etc / Davis, Del Mar
    Label: Emi Seraphim   Catalog: 73733 Release Date: 06/27/2000   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gustav Holst
    Conductor:  Sir Andrew Davis,  Norman Del Mar
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Toronto Symphony Orchestra,  Toronto Children's Chorus,  Bournemouth Sinfonietta
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  • 75.
    Holst: The Planets;  Debussy, Gould / Stokowski, Nbc So
    Label: Cala Records   Catalog: 526 Release Date: 03/07/2000   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Morton Gould,  Claude Debussy,  Gustav Holst
    Conductor:  Leopold Stokowski
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  NBC Symphony Orchestra
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