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Holst, Gustav
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Holst, Gustav(us Theodore von)

(Born; Cheltenham, 21 Sept 1874; Died; London, 25 May 1934). English composer. He studied at the RCM with Stanford, and in 1895 met Vaughan Williams, to whom he was close for the rest of his life. From 1905 he taught at St Paul's Girls' School in Hammersmith.

Like Vaughan Williams, he was impressed by English folksong, but also important was his reading in Sanskrit literature (chamber opera SAmacr;vitri, composed1908; Choral Hymns from the Rig Veda, 1912) and his experience of the orchestral music of Stravinsky and Strauss (he had played the trombone professionally). In The Planets (1916) he produced a suite of seven highly characterful movements to represent human dispositions associated with the planets in astrology, and his interest in esoteric wisdom is expressed too in his cantata The Hymn of Jesus (1917). But his very varied output also includes essays in a fluent neo-classicism (A Fugal Concerto for flute, oboe and strings,1923; Double Violin Concerto, 1929), a bare Hardy impression (Egdon Heath, 1927) and operas.

Operas: SAmacr;vitri (1916); The Perfect Fool (1923); At the Boar's Head (1925); The Wandering Scholar (1934)

Choral-orchestral music: Choral Hymns from the Rig Veda (1912); The Hymn of Jesus (1917); Ode to Death (1919); First Choral Symphony (1924); A Choral Fantasia (1930)

Other choral music: The Evening-Watch (1924); 8 Canons (1932); partsongs; folksong arrs.

Orchestral music: St Paul's Suite (1913); The Planets (1916); Egdon Heath (1927); Brook Green Suite (1933); Hammersmith (1930); Lyric Movement, va, chamber orch (1933)

Songs: 4 Songs (anon., 15th century), S/T, vn (1917); 12 Songs (H. Wolfe) (1929)

© Groves Dictionaries, MacMillan Publishers Limited, UK

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