Gustav Holst

~ Person


Gustav Theodore Holst (born Gustavus Theodore von Holst; 21 September 1874 – 25 May 1934) was an English composer, arranger and teacher. Best known for The Planets, he composed a large number of other works across a range of genres, although none achieved comparable success. His distinctive compositional style was the product of many influences, Richard Wagner and Richard Strauss being most crucial early in his development. The subsequent inspiration of the English folksong revival of the early 20th century, and the example of such rising modern composers as Maurice Ravel, led Holst to develop and refine an individual style.

There were professional musicians in the previous three generations of Holst's family and it was clear from his early years that he would follow the same calling. He hoped to become a pianist, but was prevented by neuritis in his right arm. Despite his father's reservations, he pursued a career as a composer, studying at the Royal College of Music under Charles Villiers Stanford. Unable to support himself by his compositions, he played the trombone professionally and later became a teacher—a great one, according to his colleague Ralph Vaughan Williams. Among other teaching activities he built up a strong tradition of performance at Morley College, where he served as musical director from 1907 until 1924, and pioneered music education for women at St Paul's Girls' School, where he taught from 1905 until his death in 1934. He was the founder of a series of Whitsun music festivals, which ran from 1916 for the remainder of his life. Holst's works were played frequently in the early years of the 20th century, but it was not until the international success of The Planets in the years immediately after the First World War that he became a well-known figure. A shy man, he did not welcome this fame, and preferred to be left in peace to compose and teach.

In his later years his uncompromising, personal style of composition struck many music lovers as too austere, and his brief popularity declined. Nevertheless, he was a significant influence on a number of younger English composers, including Edmund Rubbra, Michael Tippett and Benjamin Britten. Apart from The Planets and a handful of other works, his music was generally neglected until the 1980s, since when recordings of much of his output have been available.

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Year Title Artist RatingReleases
Enigma Variations Op. 36 & The Planets Op. 32 Elgar / Holst 1
Holst: Suite no. 1 in E-flat / Suite no. 2 in F / Handel: Music for the Royal Fireworks / Bach: Fantasia in G Holst, Handel, Bach; The Cleveland Symphonic Winds, Frederick Fennell 1
Second Suite in F for Military Band Gustav Holst 1
The Planets Gustav Holst; Los Angeles Philharmonic, Zubin Mehta 1
The Planets Gustav Holst; The European Philharmonic Orchestra, Hymisher Greenburg 1
The Planets Gustav Holst; London Philharmonic Orchestra, Bernard Haitink 1
The Planets: Suite for Large Orchestra Op. 32 / St Paul's Suite Gustav Holst; Philharmonia Orchestra, Евгений Фёдорович Светланов 1
Vaughan Williams / Holst / Bax Vaughan Williams, Holst, Bax; George Weldon, London Symphony Orchestra, Philharmonia Orchestra 1

Album + Compilation

Year Title Artist RatingReleases
1977 Music of England Frederick Delius, Sir Edward Elgar, Gustav Holst, Ralph Vaughan Williams; Daniel Barenboim, Eugen Jochum, William Steinberg 1
1988 British Composers: Holst: The Planets / The Perfect Fool (Ballet Music) / Egdon Heath Gustav Holst; New Philharmonia Orchestra, Sir Adrian Boult, London Symphony Orchestra, André Previn 1
1988 Holst Gustav Holst 1
1988 The Planets Gustav Holst; London Symphony Orchestra, Geoffrey Simon 3
1992 The Planets / Adagio for Strings / Pomp and Circumstance Military March no. 1 Holst, Barber, Elgar; New York Philharmonic, Leonard Bernstein 1
1993 Elgar: Enigma Variations / Holst: The Planets Edward Elgar / Gustav Holst 1
1993 Holst: The Planets / Elgar: Enigma Variations Holst, Elgar; London Philharmonic Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra, Sir Adrian Boult 5
1994 Holst: The Plantets / Janáček: Sinfonietta Holst, Janáček; Simon Rattle, Philharmonia Orchestra 1
1994 The Nature Company Presents: Mozart's Symphony No. 41 "Jupiter" Mozart, Holst; London Symphony Orchestra 1
1995 The Essential Holst Gustav Holst 1
1996 Holst: The Planets, op.32 / Elgar: Enigma Variations Gustav Holst, Sir Edward Elgar; Wiener Philharmoniker, Herbert von Karajan, London Symphony Orchestra, Pierre Monteux 1
1996 Holst: The Planets, Op. 32 / Walton: Façade Gustav Holst, Sir William Walton; New York Philharmonic, Leonard Bernstein, The Philadelphia Orchestra, Eugene Ormandy 1
1997 The Planets Holst 1
1997 Holst: The Planets / Elgar: Pomp and Circumstance March, No. 1 Holst, Elgar; New York Philharmonic, Leonard Bernstein 1
1997 The Planets / Star Wars / Also Sprach Zarathustra Gustav Holst, John Williams, Richard Strauss; Los Angeles Philharmonic, Zubin Mehta 1
1998 The Planets Gustav Holst; Los Angeles Philharmonic, Zubin Mehta 3
1998 The Planets / Simple Symphony Holst, Britten; Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Andrew Davis, Academy of St Martin in the Fields, Neville Marriner 1
1999 Holst: Suites / Vaughan Williams: Folk Song Suite / Toccata Marziale Holst, Vaughan Williams; Frederick Fennell 1
1999 The Eclipse Collection Gustav Holst 1
2000 The Planets / A Somerset Rhapsody / Brook Green Suite Holst; Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Andrew Davis 1
2001 Gustav Holst: The Planets / Richard Strauss: Also sprach Zarathustra Gustav Holst, Richard Strauss; Boston Symphony Orchestra, William Steinberg 1
2001 Holst: The Planets / Vaughan Williams: Fantasias Gustav Holst, Ralph Vaughan Williams; Philharmonia Orchestra, Leonard Slatkin 1
2003 The Planets / St. Paul’s Suite Gustav Holst; Berliner Philharmoniker, Sir Colin Davis, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, Christopher Hogwood 1
2004 English Song Ralph Vaughan Williams, Sir William Walton, Gustav Holst, Sir Charles Villiers Stanford, Peter Warlock, Sir Arnold Bax, Roger Quilter, Benjamin Britten; Philip Langridge, Felicity Lott, Simon Keenlyside, Della Jones, Christopher Maltman, Anthony Rolfe Johnson 1
2007 Holst: The Planets / Strauss: Don Juan Gustav Holst, Richard Strauss; Wiener Philharmoniker, Herbert von Karajan 1
2007 The Planets Gustav Holst 1
2009 Grandes compositores da música clássica, Volume 21: Holst Gustav Holst 1
2011 Holst: The Planets / Williams: Star Wars Suite Gustav Holst, John Williams; Los Angeles Philharmonic, Zubin Mehta 2
2012 Holst: The Collectors' Edition Gustav Holst 1
2014 British String Concertos Coleridge-Taylor, Holst, Finzi, Hoddinott, Maconchy, Busch, Fricker, Moeran, Gerhard, Banks, Rubbra, Morgan 1
British Composers: Vaughan Williams / Finzi / Holst Vaughan Williams, Finzi, Holst; Sir David Willcocks, Stephen Cleobury, Richard Hickox, Sir Adrian Boult 1
Holst: The Planets / Prokofiev: Suite from “Love for Three Oranges” Holst, Prokofiev; Orchestre National de France, Lorin Maazel 1
Holst: The Planets / Vaughan Williams: Serenade to Music Holst, Vaughan Williams; André Previn, Sir Adrian Boult 1
La Gran Música: Música de Inglaterra Sir Edward Elgar, Gustav Holst 2
Orff: Carmina Burana / Holst: The Planets Orff, Holst 1

Album + Live

Year Title Artist RatingReleases
2003 The Planets Gustav Holst; London Symphony Orchestra, Sir Colin Davis 2
2010 The Planets Gustav Holst; London Philharmonic Orchestra, Владимир Михайлович Юровский 1
2011-09-07: BBC Proms 2011: Prom 70: Royal Albert Hall, City of Westminster, London, England, UK Frank Bridge / Sir Harrison Birtwistle / Gustav Holst 1


Year Title Artist RatingReleases
Holst, Volume 1 Gustav Holst 1

Unspecified type

Year Title Artist RatingReleases
2004 Holst: Suite no. 1 in E-flat / Suite no. 2 in F / Handel: Music for the Royal Fireworks / Sousa: Stars and Stripes / Marches, Fanfares and others Gustav Holst, Georg Friedrich Händel, John Philip Sousa; The Cleveland Symphonic Winds, Frederick Fennell 1

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