Poll

Is Gustav Holst a one hit wonder with THE PLANETS?

YES
3 (14.3%)
NO
17 (81%)
NO OPINION
1 (4.8%)

Total Members Voted: 16

Voting closed: January 20, 2018, 07:32:58 PM

Author Topic: Is Gustav Holst a one hit wonder with THE PLANETS?  (Read 11612 times)

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Offline arpeggio

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Is Gustav Holst a one hit wonder with THE PLANETS?
« on: October 22, 2017, 07:32:58 PM »
In another forum a debate has started over whether or not Gustav Holst is a one hit wonder with The Planets.

Some of us believe that there are other works of his that are notable.  For example his suites for military band.

Do you believe that Holst is a one hit wonder with The Planets?

If no, what other works do you consider notable?

Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Is Gustav Holst a one hit wonder with THE PLANETS?
« Reply #1 on: October 22, 2017, 07:47:09 PM »
Absolutely not! I’m not a huge fan of Holst in general, but outside of The Planets, I enjoy Egdon Heath, The Mystic Trumpeter, Beni Mora, and Japanese Suite.
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Offline mc ukrneal

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Re: Is Gustav Holst a one hit wonder with THE PLANETS?
« Reply #2 on: October 22, 2017, 07:52:51 PM »
If you have a second and third hit (like the two military suites, which are a mainstay of repertoire for the wind orchestra/band), how can someone be a one hit wonder?!? it's true that most of the rest is less known, but some of it is really fantastic (like the songs/part-songs). I also like the Perfect Fool, from which the ballet music is pretty well known too. 

Certainly, the success of the Planets outstrips the rest of what he composed. But I feel the idea of 'one-trick pony' is just a way for people to put Holst down (and perhaps raise themselves up). I also feel that because some people think some of his output doesn't sound like the Planets, it is therefore somehow inferior.  He's not the only one to have issues like that. Some of his works are certainly less melodic and thus (perhaps) less accessible.
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SymphonicAddict

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Re: Is Gustav Holst a one hit wonder with THE PLANETS?
« Reply #3 on: October 22, 2017, 09:14:50 PM »
I saw that discussion in that forum, too. I think that a considerable number of those members are newbies, they don't know many works about Holst or other composers {because the majority of them seem to only listen to Mozart, Bach and Beethoven ;D as I've seen many times [unpopular opinion alert (?)]}. Of course Holst is not a one hit wonder composer. His choral works are outstanding enough, not saying of his orchestral music or band music.
« Last Edit: October 22, 2017, 09:26:09 PM by SymphonicAddict »

Offline calyptorhynchus

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Re: Is Gustav Holst a one hit wonder with THE PLANETS?
« Reply #4 on: October 23, 2017, 12:25:13 AM »
At the Boar's Head is pretty good!

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Is Gustav Holst a one hit wonder with THE PLANETS?
« Reply #5 on: October 23, 2017, 03:40:33 AM »
Holst has been a victim of the success of The Planets. He was, in my view, a great composer. Had he lived as long as his friend Vaughan Williams he would, I suspect, have a wider appeal to those who only know The Planets. I like the Planets but do not consider it his greatest work. My recommendation:
The First Choral Symphony  (the only one actually)
The Hymn of Jesus - considered by his daughter to be his greatest work.
The Perfect Fool  (ballet music)
Egdon Heath - considered by Holst to be his greatest work
The Cloud Messenger  (one of my favourites)
Beni Mora
The military band suites
Many fine songs
Lyric Movement
Hammersmith

Song: Love on my heart from heaven fell (I don't think the dog barking is part of the score!)
https://youtu.be/qJdZYgoWZkM
« Last Edit: October 23, 2017, 03:57:37 AM by vandermolen »
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cilgwyn

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Re: Is Gustav Holst a one hit wonder with THE PLANETS?
« Reply #6 on: October 23, 2017, 09:37:54 AM »
No! :o I like everything I've heard. His songs and part songs are particularly underrated. In fact,much as I love The Planets,I prefer some of his other music. I have a shelf full of Holst's various works. The works I listen to least are The Wandering Scholar and At the Boars Head. I think emi should have recorded his entertaining opera,The Perfect Fool,instead (or,preferably,as well!). Even they're well worth a listen. I think his music for brass band is wonderful;and I don't usually care much for brass band music. I love his Choral Symphony,The Hymn of Jesus,the choral ballet's The Golden Goose and The Morning of the Year;particularly in the,imho,less polished,but livelier,deleted,Hyperion recording. I like King Estmere. An early work which get's overlooked.Beni Mora is a big favourite;particularly in Holst's own recording. A Fugal Overture,Hammersmith,A Somerset Rhapsody,Egdon Heath,The Evening Watch,Choral Hymns from the Rig Veda,The Cloud Messenger A Choral Fantasia,A Dirge for two Veterans,Ode to Death,St Pauls Suite,Brook Green Suite.......phew!! (mopping my brow!) So much to like!! :) :) :) :) :) :) (A one work composer,indeed!! :o >:()

Everything he composed,really!! ;D

Offline Cato

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Re: Is Gustav Holst a one hit wonder with THE PLANETS?
« Reply #7 on: October 23, 2017, 09:50:39 AM »

 :) :) :) :) :) :) (A one work composer,indeed!! :o >:()


Amen!   0:)

Is there perhaps a "symphony bias" at play against Holst?   i.e. A belief that a great composer has a body of symphonies of some sort under his girdle, otherwise he does not qualify as "great."

One might deflect the bias - if this theory is correct - with e.g. a body of operas.

A topic perhaps demanding its own title.  $:)
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Offline kyjo

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Re: Is Gustav Holst a one hit wonder with THE PLANETS?
« Reply #8 on: October 23, 2017, 09:58:05 AM »
Nope, not at all, but The Planets is definitely my favorite work of his. I also really enjoy:

The Hymn of Jesus
Ballet Suite from The Perfect Fool
Beni Mora Suite
Japanese Suite
Invocation for cello and orchestra
Egdon Heath
Hammersmith (orchestral version)
A Somerset Rhapsody
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Parsifal

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Re: Is Gustav Holst a one hit wonder with THE PLANETS?
« Reply #9 on: October 23, 2017, 10:17:45 AM »
It is unclear whether "hit" is defined by popularity or by quality. In any case, Holst is a very fine composer of interest to me despite an output which is not so large, The Planets is not my favorite work by him, probably Egdon Heath. I voted no.
« Last Edit: October 23, 2017, 10:26:01 AM by Scarpia »

Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Is Gustav Holst a one hit wonder with THE PLANETS?
« Reply #10 on: October 23, 2017, 10:47:06 AM »
It is unclear whether "hit" is defined by popularity or by quality. In any case, Holst is a very fine composer of interest to me despite an output which is not so large, The Planets is not my favorite work by him, probably Egdon Heath. I voted no.

I have to admit to a stronger preference for Egdon Heath than The Planets as well. 8)
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Offline Maestro267

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Re: Is Gustav Holst a one hit wonder with THE PLANETS?
« Reply #11 on: October 23, 2017, 11:02:28 AM »
The Choral Symphony is great! I'd like to get the recording of The Cloud Messenger too.

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Is Gustav Holst a one hit wonder with THE PLANETS?
« Reply #12 on: October 23, 2017, 11:19:10 AM »
The Choral Symphony is great! I'd like to get the recording of The Cloud Messenger too.
I think there's only one recording on Chandos - it has some wonderfully almost minimalist moments.
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

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Offline Christo

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Re: Is Gustav Holst a one hit wonder with THE PLANETS?
« Reply #13 on: October 23, 2017, 12:49:55 PM »
Nope, there's much more Holst between heaven and earth:
The Hymn of Jesus
Ballet Suite from The Perfect Fool
Beni Mora Suite
Japanese Suite
Invocation for cello and orchestra
Egdon Heath
Hammersmith (orchestral version)
A Somerset Rhapsody
The First Choral Symphony  (the only one actually)
The Hymn of Jesus - considered by his daughter to be his greatest work.
The Perfect Fool  (ballet music)
Egdon Heath - considered by Holst to be his greatest work
The Cloud Messenger  (one of my favourites)
Beni Mora
The military band suites
Many fine songs
Lyric Movement
Hammersmith
Song: Love on my heart from heaven fell (I don't think the dog barking is part of the score!)
https://youtu.be/qJdZYgoWZkM

+ Scherzo from his unfinished Symphony (1934)
+ Brook Green Suite (1933) for strings
+ Capriccio (1933)
+ A Moorside Suite (1928), especially in the version for string orchestra
+ The Lure, ballet music (1921) (similar to the ballet musi from The Perfect Fool)
+ St. Paul's Suite (1914)
+ A Hampshire Suite (1911)
+ Many choral pieces and songs, especially This Have I Done for My True Love
+ Six Choral Folk Songs (1916
.... and much more.  ;)
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Offline Cato

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Re: Is Gustav Holst a one hit wonder with THE PLANETS?
« Reply #14 on: October 23, 2017, 02:10:59 PM »

Is there perhaps a "symphony bias" at play against Holst?   i.e. A belief that a great composer has a body of symphonies of some sort under his girdle, otherwise he does not qualify as "great."



+ Scherzo from his unfinished Symphony (1934)


Do we know the story as to why it remained unfinished?
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Offline arpeggio

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Re: Is Gustav Holst a one hit wonder with THE PLANETS?
« Reply #15 on: October 23, 2017, 09:46:38 PM »
In the other forum one of the more astute members made the following observation:

"...discussions like these are pointless unless you define for which group.

 For the casual listener to classical music (typically the music for the millions type): yes.
 For the larger public: zero hit wonder.
 For those who explore classical music in more breadth and depth: maybe*.

 * if they are interested in British music and/or band music: no, otherwise probably yes."

One has to take the results of these polls with a grain of salt.  That is why I rarely participate in them.  The universe there is radically different than the one here. 

(I will let others argue on which universe is better.  I have no idea.  I will let other tread that path)

So far the results of that poll are:
Yes                                16
No                                 17
Who was Gustav Holst?     1

Offline Christo

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Re: Is Gustav Holst a one hit wonder with THE PLANETS?
« Reply #16 on: October 23, 2017, 09:51:56 PM »
Do we know the story as to why it remained unfinished?
It's a very short one: Gustav Theodore Holst (21 September 1874 – 25 May 1934).
… music is not only an 'entertainment’, nor a mere luxury, but a necessity of the spiritual if not of the physical life, an opening of those magic casements through which we can catch a glimpse of that country where ultimate reality will be found.    RVW, 1948

Offline Jo498

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Re: Is Gustav Holst a one hit wonder with THE PLANETS?
« Reply #17 on: October 23, 2017, 11:10:12 PM »
As far as the category "one hit wonder" can be applied in classical music, Holst and the Planets certainly are a plausible candidate. The point is not that some insiders know and appreciate other works of the composer but that one piece is extraordinarily famous and nothing else comes close in popularity for a broader audience, even within classical music. I have two Holst discs besides "The Planets" and I am not even sure if I listened to them more than once or twice. And I have a fairly broad and extensive collection of around 5000 CDs.

Similar cases: Orff/Carmina Burana, Pachelbel/Canon, Barber/"Adagio" Of course, all of them have written more and probably more important works (in Holst's case he is at least famous for a really major work, not like Pachelbel...) but they are completely overshadowed by the big hit.
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Offline Christo

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Re: Is Gustav Holst a one hit wonder with THE PLANETS?
« Reply #18 on: October 23, 2017, 11:16:27 PM »
Barber/"Adagio"
Errr, there's also a musical world outside of Germany.  ;D (Though I do appreciate the German musical world highly too!)
… music is not only an 'entertainment’, nor a mere luxury, but a necessity of the spiritual if not of the physical life, an opening of those magic casements through which we can catch a glimpse of that country where ultimate reality will be found.    RVW, 1948

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Is Gustav Holst a one hit wonder with THE PLANETS?
« Reply #19 on: October 23, 2017, 11:26:55 PM »
As far as the category "one hit wonder" can be applied in classical music, Holst and the Planets certainly are a plausible candidate. The point is not that some insiders know and appreciate other works of the composer but that one piece is extraordinarily famous and nothing else comes close in popularity for a broader audience, even within classical music. I have two Holst discs besides "The Planets" and I am not even sure if I listened to them more than once or twice. And I have a fairly broad and extensive collection of around 5000 CDs.

Similar cases: Orff/Carmina Burana, Pachelbel/Canon, Barber/"Adagio" Of course, all of them have written more and probably more important works (in Holst's case he is at least famous for a really major work, not like Pachelbel...) but they are completely overshadowed by the big hit.
'The Sorcerer's Apprentice' by Dukas comes to mind as well.
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

'The test of a work of art is, in the end, our affection for it, not our ability to explain why it is good' (Stanley Kubrick).