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: Planets, Somerset Rhapsody, Etc / Davis, Del Mar, Etc
Release Date: 06/27/2000   Label: Emi Seraphim  
Catalog: 73733   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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Work: The Planets

Browse 76-93 of 93 Available Recordings
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  • 76.
    Holst: The Planets;  Williams, Strauss / Mehta, Los Angeles
    Label: London/Decca Double Decker   Catalog: 452910 Release Date: 01/13/1998   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  John T. Williams,  Richard Strauss,  Gustav Holst
    Conductor:  Zubin Mehta
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 77.
    Holst: The Planets - A Film By Don Barrett
    Label: Image Entertainment   Catalog: 4076 Release Date: 10/22/1997  
    Composer:  Gustav Holst
    Performer:  Isao Tomita
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  • 78.
    The Classic Sound - Holst: The Planets;  Elgar / Karajan
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 452303 Release Date: 07/15/1997   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Sir Edward Elgar,  Gustav Holst
    Conductor:  Pierre Monteux,  Herbert von Karajan
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  Vienna State Opera Chorus,  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 79.
    Holst: The Planets / Peter Sykes
    Label: Raven Recordings   Catalog: 380 Release Date: 06/18/1996   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gustav Holst
    Performer:  Peter Sykes
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  • 80.
    The Spirit of England II / William Boughton, et al
    Label: Nimbus   Catalog: 5450 Release Date: 10/03/1995   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Sir William Walton,  Lennox Berkeley,  Sir Edward Elgar,  Benjamin Britten  ... 
    Conductor:  William Boughton
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra,  English String Orchestra,  English Symphony Orchestra
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  • 81.
    Holst: The Planets;  Grainger / Gardiner, Philharmonia
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 445860 Release Date: 09/19/1995   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Percy Aldridge Grainger,  Gustav Holst
    Conductor:  John Eliot Gardiner
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra,  Monteverdi Choir members
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  • 82.
    Holst: The Planets;  Smetana: Má Vlast / Susskind, St. Louis
    Label: Vox Box   Catalog: 5105 Release Date: 08/22/1994   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Gustav Holst,  Bedrich Smetana
    Conductor:  Walter Susskind
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Missouri Singers,  Roger Arnatt Chorale,  St. Louis Symphony Orchestra
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  • 83.
    Holst: The Planets
    Label: Sony Classical Infinity Digital   Catalog: 57258 Release Date: 05/31/1994   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gustav Holst
    Conductor:  Jahni Mardjani
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Georgian Festival Orchestra
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  • 84.
    Karajan Gold - Holst: The Planets / Berlin Philharmoniker
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 439011 Release Date: 10/12/1993   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gustav Holst
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  Berlin RIAS Chamber Chorus
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  • 85.
    Holst: The Planets / James Judd, Royal Philharmonic
    Label: Denon Records   Catalog: 75076 Release Date: 08/30/1993   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gustav Holst
    Conductor:  James Judd
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cambridge King's College Choir,  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 86.
    Holst: The Planets - Two-piano Version / Bennett, Bradshaw
    Label: Facet   Catalog: 8002 Release Date: 12/14/1992   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gustav Holst
    Performer:  Richard Rodney Bennett,  Susan Bradshaw
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  • 87.
    Holst: The Planets, Etc / Leaper, Csr Symphony Orchestra
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 550193 Release Date: 06/30/1992   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gustav Holst
    Performer:  Viktor Simcisko
    Conductor:  Adrian Leaper
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Czecho-Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra
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  • 88.
    Holst: The Planets / Levine, Chicago Symphony Orchestra
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 429730 Release Date: 05/10/1991   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gustav Holst
    Conductor:  James Levine
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chicago Symphony Orchestra,  Chicago Symphony Chorus
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  • 89.
    The Solti Collection - Holst: The Planets;  Elgar
    Label: London/Decca Jubilee   Catalog: 430447 Release Date: 05/10/1991   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gustav Holst,  Sir Edward Elgar
    Conductor:  Sir Georg Solti
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra,  London Philharmonic Chorus Women
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  • 90.
    Holst: The Planets / Isao Tomita
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 60518 Release Date: 02/15/1991   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gustav Holst
    Performer:  Isao Tomita
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  • 91.
    Holst: The Planets / Previn, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
    Label: Telarc   Catalog: 80133 Release Date: 10/25/1990   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gustav Holst
    Conductor:  André Previn
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Brighton Festival Chorus,  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 92.
    Holst: The Planets / William Steinberg, Boston Sym Orch
    Label: Dg Galleria   Catalog: 419475 Release Date: 08/03/1987   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  György Ligeti,  Gustav Holst
    Conductor:  Helmut Franz,  William Steinberg
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  North German Radio Chorus,  Boston Symphony Orchestra
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  • 93.
    Panorama - The Sound Of England
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 469274 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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Gustav Holst


WORKS
Holst: The Planets, op.32 - 1. Mars, the Bringer of War
Holst: The Planets, op.32 - 2. Venus, the Bringer of Peace
Holst: The Planets, op.32 - 3. Mercury, the Winged Messenger
Holst: The Planets, op.32 - 4. Jupiter, the Bringer of Jollity
Holst: The Planets, op.32 - 5. Saturn, the Bringer of Old Age
Holst: The Planets, op.32 - 6. Uranus, the Magician
Holst: The Planets, op.32 - 7. Neptune, the Mystic
I. Chaconne
II. Intermezzo
III. March
1. March
2. Song without Words
3. Song of the Blacksmith
4. Fantasia on the Dargason