Hyperion Records

Holst, Gustav (1874-1934)  

Gustav Holst

born: 21 September 1874
died: 25 May 1934
country: United Kingdom

Gustav Holst, until nearly the end of the First World War known as ‘von Holst’, came from a refugee Latvian-Russian musical family that had arrived in England in the early nineteenth century and settled in Cheltenham. His great-grandfather had actually served at the Imperial Russian court. However, that had been over half a century before Holst’s birth, and in the 1880s and early 1890s the young Gustav was infused with the spirit of the Gloucestershire countryside, and as a teenager was organist or choirmaster at local churches, notably at Wyck Rissington and Bourton, and wrote music for local performance, particularly a well-received operetta, Landsdown Castle. We can imagine all too well the impact on an impressionable imagination of walking the stretch of hills between Wyck Rissington and Bourton-on-the-Water in all seasons, before the arrival of the petrol engine. One member of the Bourton Choral Society remembered a rehearsal of the choir in 1892 taken by Holst, who arrived carrying ‘an old-fashioned stable lantern which he had borrowed at Wyck Rissington to light him on the road to Bourton … and would catch the last train to Cheltenham’.

Holst’s father taught him the piano, violin and trombone, and the young musician went on to study with Stanford at the Royal College of Music from 1893 to 1898. But even when young he began to be troubled by neuritis in his right arm, which curtailed his keyboard skills. He was not well-off, unlike so many of his musical contemporaries, and he first earned his living as a professional trombone player, touring with the Carl Rosa Opera Company and later joining the Scottish Orchestra. This was of enormous value to him as a composer, as he gained a practical understanding of the orchestra from the inside, experience which characterized his flair and brilliance for orchestral writing throughout his life.

Becoming a school music teacher, he was appointed to the newly established St Paul’s Girls’ School in Hammersmith, going there in 1905, at first to teach singing, and remaining until 1934. So good were his relations with the school, and Frances Ralph Gray, the pioneering first High Mistress, that they soon built him a special sound-proofed room in which to compose. And it was at the school that he was surrounded by a team of able and willing young female admirers whose practical help in getting his music down on paper and copied, played a huge role in the evolution of The Planets in particular.

What is particularly notable, despite producing a large catalogue of music, is that Holst was in his forties before he achieved recognition—or even extensive performance—as a composer. Established after the First World War, particularly with The Planets, which became one of the most successful British orchestral works of all time, Holst’s mature career was cut short by his early death at the age of fifty-nine.

from notes by Lewis Foreman

Albums
'Holst: Choral Ballets' (CDA66784)
Holst: Choral Ballets
Buy by post £13.99 (ARCHIVE SERVICE) CDA66784  Archive Service  
'Holst: Choral Hymns from the Rig Veda; Britten: Choral dances from Gloriana; Bliss: Pastoral 'Lie strewn the white flocks'' (CDH55050)
Holst: Choral Hymns from the Rig Veda; Britten: Choral dances from Gloriana; Bliss: Pastoral 'Lie strewn the white flocks'
Buy by post £4.40 CDH55050  Helios (Hyperion's budget label) Composers of World War I  
'Holst: Choral Symphony & Choral Fantasia' (CDH55104)
Holst: Choral Symphony & Choral Fantasia
Buy by post £5.50 CDH55104  Helios (Hyperion's budget label) — Last few CD copies remaining  
'Holst: Savitri & The Dream-City' (CDH55042)
Holst: Savitri & The Dream-City
Buy by post £5.50 CDH55042  Helios (Hyperion's budget label)  
'Holst: The Evening Watch & other choral works' (CDH55170)
Holst: The Evening Watch & other choral works
Buy by post £5.50 CDH55170  Helios (Hyperion's budget label)  
'Holst: The Planets; Matthews: Pluto' (CDH55350)
Holst: The Planets; Matthews: Pluto
Buy by post £5.50 CDH55350  Helios (Hyperion's budget label)  
'Holst: This have I done for my true love & other choral works' (CDH55171)
Holst: This have I done for my true love & other choral works
Buy by post £5.50 CDH55171  Helios (Hyperion's budget label)  
'Bliss: Pastoral 'Lie strewn the white flocks'; Britten: Choral dances from Gloriana; Holst: Choral Hymns from the Rig Veda' (CDH55050)
Bliss: Pastoral 'Lie strewn the white flocks'; Britten: Choral dances from Gloriana; Holst: Choral Hymns from the Rig Veda
Buy by post £4.40 CDH55050  Helios (Hyperion's budget label) Composers of World War I  
'Christmas at St John's Cambridge' (CDA67576)
Christmas at St John's Cambridge
Buy by post £10.50 CDA67576 
'Epiphany at St Paul's' (CDH55443)
Epiphany at St Paul's
Buy by post £5.50 CDH55443  Helios (Hyperion's budget label)  
'Matthews: Pluto; Holst: The Planets' (CDH55350)
Matthews: Pluto; Holst: The Planets
Buy by post £5.50 CDH55350  Helios (Hyperion's budget label)  
'Panis angelicus' (CDA66669)
Panis angelicus
Buy by post £10.50 CDA66669 
'The English Anthem, Vol. 3' (CDA66618)
The English Anthem, Vol. 3
Buy by post £13.99 (ARCHIVE SERVICE) CDA66618  Archive Service  
'The English Hymn, Vol. 1 – Christ Triumphant' (CDP12101)
The English Hymn, Vol. 1 – Christ Triumphant
Buy by post £8.50 CDP12101 
'The Music of Westminster Cathedral' (WCC100)
The Music of Westminster Cathedral
Buy by post £4.50 WCC100  Super-budget price sampler  
'The Power of Love' (CDA67888)
The Power of Love
Buy by post £8.40 CDA67888  Composers of World War I  
'Music for Brass and Percussion' (CDA66189)
Music for Brass and Percussion
CDA66189  Deleted  
'Hyperion monthly sampler – August 2014' (HYP201408)
Hyperion monthly sampler – August 2014
HYP201408  Download-only monthly sampler  
On other labels
'Holst: The Planets' (LSO0029)
Holst: The Planets
LSO0029  Download only   Studio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available
Alphabetical listing of all musical works
A Choral Fantasia, H177 Op 51 (Holst)
A Little Music  Part 4 of The Dream-City (Holst/Matthews)
A Love Song  No 4 of Six Choruses, H186 Op 52 (Holst)
A Moorside Suite (Holst)
A mummers' play  No 3 of The Golden Goose, H163 (Holst)
A Welcome Song  No 1 of Two Carols, H91 (Holst)
Alone to sacrifice Thou goest Lord  First line to Good Friday, No 1 of Six Choruses, H186 Op 52 (Holst)
Angel spirits of sleep  No 3 of Seven Partsongs, H162 Op 44 (Holst)
Assemble, all ye maidens  No 7 of Seven Partsongs, H162 Op 44 (Holst)
Ave Maria, H49 (Holst)
Bacchus, young Bacchus! good or ill betide  First line to Song and Bacchanal. Chorus, Part 2f of Choral Symphony No 1, H155 Op 41 (Holst)
Before Sleep  No 6 of Six Choruses, H186 Op 52 (Holst)
Beneath my palm tree, by the river side  First line to Song and Bacchanal, Part 2a of Choral Symphony No 1, H155 Op 41 (Holst)
Betelgeuse  Part 10 of The Dream-City (Holst/Matthews)
Betelgeuse  No 12 of Twelve Songs, H174 (Holst)
Bring us in good ale, H131 (Holst)
But when Thou joinest with the Nine  First line to Finale. Chorus, Part 5f of Choral Symphony No 1, H155 Op 41 (Holst)
Choral Hymns from the Rig Veda. Group 3, H99 Op 26 No 3 (Holst)
Choral Symphony No 1, H155 Op 41 (Holst)
Dance of the headman and hobby-horse  No 3 of The Morning of the Year, H164 (Holst)
Dance of the maidens  No 6 of The Morning of the Year, H164 (Holst)
Dance of the three girls  No 9 of The Golden Goose, H163 (Holst)
Dance of the youngest couple  No 10 of The Morning of the Year, H164 (Holst)
Dance of the youths  No 5 of The Morning of the Year, H164 (Holst)
Diverus and Lazarus, H137 (Holst)
Down then came that maiden fair  No 4 of King Estmere, H70 (Holst)
Down with the rascal  First line to The Human Organ, No 6 of The Golden Goose, H163 (Holst)
Drinking Song  No 5 of Six Choruses, H186 Op 52 (Holst)
Envoi  Part 7 of The Dream-City (Holst/Matthews)
Ever let the fancy roam  First line to Scherzo. Fancy Chorus, Part 4a of Choral Symphony No 1, H155 Op 41 (Holst)
Execution  No 7 of The Golden Goose, H163 (Holst)
Flowing from the firmament  First line to Hymn to the Waters, No 2 of Choral Hymns from the Rig Veda. Group 3, H99 Op 26 No 3 (Holst)
Four Old English Carols, H82 (Holst)
Go thou on before us  First line to Hymn of the Travellers, No 4 of Choral Hymns from the Rig Veda. Group 3, H99 Op 26 No 3 (Holst)
God of the golden bow  First line to Finale. Chorus, Part 5b of Choral Symphony No 1, H155 Op 41 (Holst)
Good Friday  No 1 of Six Choruses, H186 Op 52 (Holst)
Hear our hymn, O Goddess  First line to Hymn to the Dawn, No 1 of Choral Hymns from the Rig Veda. Group 3, H99 Op 26 No 3 (Holst)
Hearken to me gentlemen  No 1 of King Estmere, H70 (Holst)
Here's the old man  First line to The Mummer's Play, No 4 of The Golden Goose, H163 (Holst)
Home they brought her warrior dead  No 5 of Songs from The Princess, Op 20a (Holst)
How mighty are the Sabbaths  No 3 of Six Choruses, H186 Op 52 (Holst)
Hymn of the Travellers  No 4 of Choral Hymns from the Rig Veda. Group 3, H99 Op 26 No 3 (Holst)
Hymn to the Dawn  No 1 of Choral Hymns from the Rig Veda. Group 3, H99 Op 26 No 3 (Holst)
Hymn to the Waters  No 2 of Choral Hymns from the Rig Veda. Group 3, H99 Op 26 No 3 (Holst)
Hymn to Vena 'The sun rising through the mist'  No 3 of Choral Hymns from the Rig Veda. Group 3, H99 Op 26 No 3 (Holst)
I love my love  No 5 of Six Choral Folksongs, H136 (Holst)
I sow'd the seeds of love  No 1 of Six Choral Folksongs, H136 (Holst)
I vow to thee, my country  First line to Thaxted (Holst)
In youth is pleasure, H76 (Holst)
Intercession  No 2 of Six Choruses, H186 Op 52 (Holst)
Jesu, Thou the Virgin-born  No 3 of Four Old English Carols, H82 (Holst)
Journey's End  Part 9 of The Dream-City (Holst/Matthews)
Journey's End  No 9 of Twelve Songs, H174 (Holst)
Jupiter – The bringer of jollity  Movement 4 of The Planets, H125 Op 32 (Holst)
King Estmere, H70 (Holst)
Light leaves whisper, H20 (Holst)
Lord, Who hast made us for Thine own  First line to Psalm 148, No 2 of Two Psalms, H117 (Holst)
Love on my heart  No 6 of Seven Partsongs, H162 Op 44 (Holst)
Love, sweet love  No 11 of The Golden Goose, H163 (Holst)
Lullay my liking, H129 (Holst)
Lyric Movement, H191 (Holst)
Mae 'nghariad i'n Fenws  No 9 of Twelve Welsh Folk Songs, H183 (Holst)
Man born of desire  Part 1 of A Choral Fantasia, H177 Op 51 (Holst)
Mars – The bringer of war  Movement 1 of The Planets, H125 Op 32 (Holst)
Matthew, Mark and Luke and John  No 3 of Six Choral Folksongs, H136 (Holst)
Mercury – The winged messenger  Movement 3 of The Planets, H125 Op 32 (Holst)
My mother was a western woman  No 8 of King Estmere, H70 (Holst)
Neptune – The mystic  Movement 7 of The Planets, H125 Op 32 (Holst)
Next thy Tasso's ardent numbers  First line to Finale. Solo, Part 5e of Choral Symphony No 1, H155 Op 41 (Holst)
Noblest, I pray Thee  First line to A Love Song, No 4 of Six Choruses, H186 Op 52 (Holst)
Now Christ thee save  No 3 of King Estmere, H70 (Holst)
Now in these fairylands  Part 3 of The Dream-City (Holst/Matthews)
Now sleeps the crimson petal  No 6 of Songs from The Princess, Op 20a (Holst)
Nunc dimittis, H127 (Holst)
O dance of love  No 9 of The Morning of the Year, H164 (Holst)
O lady, this is thy own true love  No 10 of King Estmere, H70 (Holst)
O Love, I complain  No 2 of Seven Partsongs, H162 Op 44 (Holst)
O spiritual pilgrim, H188 (Holst)
O swallow, swallow  No 4 of Songs from The Princess, Op 20a (Holst)
O Thou, whose mighty palace roof doth hang  First line to Prelude. Invocation to Pan: Chorus, Part 1 of Choral Symphony No 1, H155 Op 41 (Holst)
Ode on a Grecian Urn: Chorus  Part 3 of Choral Symphony No 1, H155 Op 41 (Holst)
Of one that is so fair and bright, H130 (Holst)
On Betelgeuse the gold leaves hang in golden aisles  First line to Betelgeuse, No 12 of Twelve Songs, H174 (Holst)
Onward the tiger and the leopard pants  First line to Song and Bacchanal. Solo, Part 2e of Choral Symphony No 1, H155 Op 41 (Holst)
Or forced them all to flee  No 11 of King Estmere, H70 (Holst)
Persephone  Part 1 of The Dream-City (Holst/Matthews)
Prelude. Invocation to Pan: Chorus  Part 1 of Choral Symphony No 1, H155 Op 41 (Holst)
Psalm 148  No 2 of Two Psalms, H117 (Holst)
Psalm 86  No 1 of Two Psalms, H117 (Holst)
Reade me, reade me dear brother  No 2 of King Estmere, H70 (Holst)
Rejoice, ye dead, where'er your spirits dwell  Part 3 of A Choral Fantasia, H177 Op 51 (Holst)
Rhyme  Part 8 of The Dream-City (Holst/Matthews)
Saturn – The bringer of old age  Movement 5 of The Planets, H125 Op 32 (Holst)
Savitri, H96 Op 25 (Holst)
Say who is this?  No 1 of Seven Partsongs, H162 Op 44 (Holst)
Set free Thy people, set free Thy servants  First line to Intercession, No 2 of Six Choruses, H186 Op 52 (Holst)
Seven Partsongs, H162 Op 44 (Holst)
She sent one after King Estmere  No 7 of King Estmere, H70 (Holst)
Six Choral Folksongs, H136 (Holst)
Six Choruses, H186 Op 52 (Holst)
Sleep  No 8 of The Golden Goose, H163 (Holst)
Song and Bacchanal  Part 2a of Choral Symphony No 1, H155 Op 41 (Holst)
Songs from The Princess, Op 20a (Holst)
Sorrow and joy  No 5 of Seven Partsongs, H162 Op 44 (Holst)
Sound drum and trumpet play  No 2 of The Golden Goose, H163 (Holst)
Spirit here that reignest!  First line to Finale. Solo, Part 5a of Choral Symphony No 1, H155 Op 41 (Holst)
Spring  No 1 of Two Eastern Pictures, H112 (Holst)
Spring is here  No 8 of The Morning of the Year, H164 (Holst)
Summer  No 2 of Two Eastern Pictures, H112 (Holst)
Swansea Town  No 6 of Six Choral Folksongs, H136 (Holst)
Sweet and low  No 1 of Songs from The Princess, Op 20a (Holst)
Tears, idle tears  No 3 of Songs from The Princess, Op 20a (Holst)
Terly, terlow  No 2 of Two Carols, H91 (Holst)
Thaxted (Holst)
The Dream-City  Part 6 of The Dream-City (Holst/Matthews)
The Dream-City (Holst/Matthews)
The Evening Watch, H159 Op 43 No 1 (Holst)
The Floral Bandit  Part 5 of The Dream-City (Holst/Matthews)
The Golden Goose, H163 (Holst)
The Goose Dance  No 10 of The Golden Goose, H163 (Holst)
The Human Organ  No 6 of The Golden Goose, H163 (Holst)
The Mating Dance  No 7 of The Morning of the Year, H164 (Holst)
The Morning of the Year, H164 (Holst)
The Mummer's Play  No 4 of The Golden Goose, H163 (Holst)
The Planets, H125 Op 32 (Holst)
The Planets, H125 Op 32 (Holst/Matthews)
The Song of the Blacksmith  No 4 of Six Choral Folksongs, H136 (Holst)
The splendour falls  No 2 of Songs from The Princess, Op 20a (Holst)
The toil of day is ebbing, the quiet comes again  First line to Before Sleep, No 6 of Six Choruses, H186 Op 52 (Holst)
The voice of nature  No 2 of The Morning of the Year, H164 (Holst)
The voices call  No 4 of The Morning of the Year, H164 (Holst)
Then bespake her father dear  No 5 of King Estmere, H70 (Holst)
Then King Estmere he took his harp  No 9 of King Estmere, H70 (Holst)
Then, through thy Temple wide, melodious swells  First line to Finale. Solo, Part 5c of Choral Symphony No 1, H155 Op 41 (Holst)
There was a tree  No 2 of Six Choral Folksongs, H136 (Holst)
They had not ridden scarce a mile  No 6 of King Estmere, H70 (Holst)
Things lovelier  Part 2 of The Dream-City (Holst/Matthews)
This have I done for my true love, H128 (Holst)
Thou still unravish'd bride of quietness  First line to Ode on a Grecian Urn: Chorus, Part 3 of Choral Symphony No 1, H155 Op 41 (Holst)
Three Hymns for Chorus and Orchestra (Holst)
'Tis awful silence then again  First line to Finale. Chorus, Part 5d of Choral Symphony No 1, H155 Op 41 (Holst)
To my humble supplication  First line to Psalm 86, No 1 of Two Psalms, H117 (Holst)
To you, consummate drinkers, though little be your drought  First line to Drinking Song, No 5 of Six Choruses, H186 Op 52 (Holst)
Tomorrow shall be my dancing day  First line to This have I done for my true love, H128 (Holst)
Turn back, O man  No 2 of Three Hymns for Chorus and Orchestra (Holst)
Twelve Songs, H174 (Holst)
Twelve Welsh Folk Songs, H183 (Holst)
Two Carols, H91 (Holst)
Two Eastern Pictures, H112 (Holst)
Two Psalms, H117 (Holst)
Uranus – The magician  Movement 6 of The Planets, H125 Op 32 (Holst)
Vainly awaiting, some beguiling  No 5 of The Golden Goose, H163 (Holst)
Vena comes, born of light  First line to Hymn to Vena 'The sun rising through the mist', No 3 of Choral Hymns from the Rig Veda. Group 3, H99 Op 26 No 3 (Holst)
Venus – The bringer of peace  Movement 2 of The Planets, H125 Op 32 (Holst)
What will they give me, when journey’s done?  First line to Journey's End, No 9 of Twelve Songs, H174 (Holst)
When first we met  No 4 of Seven Partsongs, H162 Op 44 (Holst)
When wedding fiddles are a-playing  First line to Scherzo. Folly's Song, Part 4b of Choral Symphony No 1, H155 Op 41 (Holst)
Whence came ye, jolly Satyrs, whence came ye?  First line to Song and Bacchanal. Chorus, Part 2d of Choral Symphony No 1, H155 Op 41 (Holst)
Whence came ye, merry Damsels, whence came ye?  First line to Song and Bacchanal. Chorus, Part 2b of Choral Symphony No 1, H155 Op 41 (Holst)
Within his car, aloft, young Bacchus stood  First line to Song and Bacchanal. Solo, Part 2c of Choral Symphony No 1, H155 Op 41 (Holst)
You have shown my mystery  No 11 of The Morning of the Year, H164 (Holst)
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