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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: Hammersmith Prelude and Scherzo

Browse 1-17 of 17 Available Recordings
  • 1.
    British Band Classics
    Label: Heritage   Catalog: 227 Release Date: 07/17/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ralph Vaughan Williams,  Gordon Jacob,  Sir William Walton,  Gustav Holst
    Conductor:  Frederick Fennell
    CD: $12.49
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  • 2.
    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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  • 3.
    Label: Caprice Records   Catalog: 21415 Release Date: 07/27/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Arne Mellnäs,  Aram Khachaturian,  Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov,  Torbjörn Lundquist  ... 
    Performer:  Kjell Fagéus
    Conductor:  Brian Priestman,  Osmo Vänskä
    CD: $18.99
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  • 4.
    Music from the Land of Hope and Glory /
    Label: Altissimo   Catalog: ALT29522 Release Date: 01/01/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Sir William Walton,  Gordon Jacob,  Gustav Holst,  Ralph Vaughan Williams  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  "President's Own" United States Marine Band
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  • 5.
    Celebration / Lowell Graham, U.S. Air Force Band
    Label: Klavier Records   Catalog: 11176 Release Date: 11/17/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Paul Creston,  William Schuman,  Gustav Holst,  Robert Russell Bennett  ... 
    Conductor:  Lowell Graham
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  United States Air Force Band
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  • 6.
    Wind Band Classics - Millennium Canons / Lynch, University Of Georgia Wind Ensemble
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8572231 Release Date: 06/30/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Adam Gorb,  Gustav Holst,  John Mackey,  Kristin Kuster  ... 
    Conductor:  John P. Lynch
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  University of Georgia Wind Ensemble
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  • 7.
    Seawolf / United States Navy Band
    Label: Altissimo   Catalog: ALT70202 Release Date: 09/01/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Strauss,  Frank Ticheli,  J. William II Middendorf,  Gustav Holst  ... 
    Conductor:  John R. Pastin
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  United States Navy Band
    CD: $17.99
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  • 8.
    Boult Conducts Holst - Fugal Overture, Scherzo, Beni Mora, Etc
    Label: Lyrita   Catalog: 222 Release Date: 01/09/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gustav Holst
    Conductor:  Sir Adrian Boult
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra,  London Symphony Orchestra
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    CD: $15.99
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  • 9.
    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  ... 
    Recommendation
    On sale! $99.99
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  • 10.
    Composer's Collection - Gustav Holst / Corporon, North Texas
    Label: Gia   Catalog: 655 Release Date: 05/09/2006   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gustav Holst
    Conductor:  Eugene Migliaro Corporon
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  North Texas University Wind Ensemble
    On sale! $18.98
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  • 11.
    Fennell Conducts British & American Band Classics
    Label: Mercury Living Presence   Catalog: 000519002 Release Date: 09/13/2005   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Sir William Walton,  Robert Russell Bennett,  Gordon Jacob,  Leroy Anderson  ... 
    Conductor:  Frederick Fennell
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Eastman Wind Ensemble,  The London Pops Orchestra,  Eastman-Rochester Pops
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  • 12.
    Holst, Vaughan Williams - British Wind Band Classics / Reynish, Royal Northern College Of Music
    Label: Chandos   Catalog: 9697 Release Date: 02/09/1999   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Gustav Holst,  Ralph Vaughan Williams
    Conductor:  Timothy Reynish
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Northern College of Music Wind Orchestra
    CD: $18.99
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  • 13.
    Holst: Beni Mora, Somerset Rhapsody, Etc /Lloyd-jones, Et Al
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8553696 Release Date: 05/26/1998   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gustav Holst
    Performer:  Timothy Hugh
    Conductor:  David Lloyd-Jones
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Scottish National Orchestra
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  • 14.
    Holst: Orchestral Works / Hickox, London Symphony Orchestra
    Label: Chandos   Catalog: 9420 Release Date: 02/20/1996   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gustav Holst
    Conductor:  Richard Hickox
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra
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  • 15.
    Tributes / Eugene Corporon, North Texas Wind Symphony
    Label: Klavier Records   Catalog: 11070 Release Date: 10/24/1995   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Dan Edward Welcher,  Cindy McTee,  Gustav Holst,  Roger Cichy  ... 
    Conductor:  Eugene Migliaro Corporon
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  North Texas University Wind Ensemble
    CD: $17.99
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  • 16.
    The Begian Years Vol 10 / University Of Illinois Symphonic Band
    Label: Mark Records   Catalog: 1651 Release Date: 01/01/1995   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Antonio Carlos Gomes,  Hector Berlioz,  Gustav Holst,  Malcolm Arnold  ... 
    Conductor:  Harry Begian
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  University of Illinois Symphonic Band
    On sale! $15.98
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  • 17.
    Holst: Hammersmith, Moorside Suite, Suites 1 And 2 / Dunn
    Label: Reference Recordings   Catalog: 39 Release Date: 12/17/1993   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gustav Holst
    Conductor:  Howard Dunn
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Dallas Wind Symphony
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