Author Topic: Non-Planets Holst  (Read 32547 times)

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Online vandermolen

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Non-Planets Holst
« on: April 20, 2007, 11:24:15 PM »
I think that The Planets (which I like) has been both a blessing and curse for Holst, as its popularity has led to all his other (very fine) music being overshadowed.  So, I thought I'd start a thread on this topic.

His early "Cloud Messenger" has some quite beautiful (almost minimalist) sounding passages which I find very moving..  Other favourites are The Choral Symphony, Egdon Heath, Perfect Fool ballet music (haunting slow movement), band suites, Hammersmith (band and orchestral versions), Choral Fantasia, Psalm 86 (on that fine CD with Finzi's Dies Natalis), Hymn of Jesus, Somerset Rhapsody etc.

I think that Holst was a composer of great originality whose comparatively early death, whilst at the height of his powers, was a great loss to British music (although not as much a tragedy as the death of George Butterworth in World War One).

Any opinions?
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

Offline knight66

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Re: Non-Planets Holst
« Reply #1 on: April 21, 2007, 12:14:32 AM »
I find it difficult to get much out of his music. One piece I do like, Planets apart, is Savitri, a chamber opera in one act. Almost minimalist, it is pared down in every sense. There are just three characters and it has some beautiful vocal writing and creates an otherworldly atmosphere.

The classic version is conducted by Holst's daughter Imogen. Janet Baker, Robert Tear and Thomas Helmsly are the singers, EMI.

It is partnered with some of his Vedic Hymns....here I altogether part company with him, drippy stuff.

Mike
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Online vandermolen

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Re: Non-Planets Holst
« Reply #2 on: April 21, 2007, 01:27:39 AM »
I find it difficult to get much out of his music. One piece I do like, Planets apart, is Savitri, a chamber opera in one act. Almost minimalist, it is pared down in every sense. There are just three characters and it has some beautiful vocal writing and creates an otherworldly atmosphere.

The classic version is conducted by Holst's daughter Imogen. Janet Baker, Robert Tear and Thomas Helmsly are the singers, EMI.

It is partnered with some of his Vedic Hymns....here I altogether part company with him, drippy stuff.

Mike

Thanks Mike,

I think that I have a CD of Savitri, so I must listen to it!

regards

Jeffrey
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

Offline Christo

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Re: Non-Planets Holst
« Reply #3 on: April 21, 2007, 02:16:09 AM »
His early "Cloud Messenger" has some quite beautiful (almost minimalist) sounding passages which I find very moving..  Other favourites are The Choral Symphony, Egdon Heath, Perfect Fool ballet music (haunting slow movement), band suites, Hammersmith (band and orchestral versions), Choral Fantasia, Psalm 86 (on that fine CD with Finzi's Dies Natalis), Hymn of Jesus, Somerset Rhapsody etc.

Again, your verdict is perfect (it could have been mine :-) ) and agree with everything you write - all the pieces you mention are among the very best by Holst.

I would perhaps consider The Hymn of Jesus his masterpiece, as it is as easily accessible as The Planets and yet contains some of the other sides of Holst as well. Other, 'minor' favourites of mine would also include the Invocation for Cello and Orchestra, the Beni Mora Suite, the Lyric Movement, the ballet music for The Lure (in part almost as succesful as the Perfect Fooll ballet music), the Scherzo from his unfinished final symphony (I think that Holst was very much in the process of discovering another major style of his own in the year of his sudden death) and even the funny Capriccio (the Jazz Band Piece in the orchestral version by Imogen Holst).

And of course many choral songs, as e.g. the entirely beautiful setting of 'This have I done for my true love'.
« Last Edit: April 21, 2007, 04:02:59 AM by Christo »
… 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

hornteacher

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Re: Non-Planets Holst
« Reply #4 on: April 21, 2007, 03:11:27 AM »
I'll mention the Saint Paul's Suite which is a very popular Holst work.  It was named after the Girls School in which Holst taught and uses the elements of English folk songs that pervades his other work.

Offline Christo

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Re: Non-Planets Holst
« Reply #5 on: April 21, 2007, 03:16:39 AM »
I'll mention the Saint Paul's Suite which is a very popular Holst work.  It was named after the Girls School in which Holst taught and uses the elements of English folk songs that pervades his other work.

Of course! If you warm to this more 'popular' side of Holst, you might be equally interested in later, no less succesful attempts in the same direction:
* Brook Green Suite for strings
* A Moorside Suite - in the version for strings (beautiful, impressive Nocturne!)
« Last Edit: April 21, 2007, 04:02:12 AM by Christo »
… 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

Online vandermolen

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Re: Non-Planets Holst
« Reply #6 on: April 21, 2007, 02:34:30 PM »
Again, your verdict is perfect (it could have been mine :-) ) and agree with everything you write - all the pieces you mention are among the very best by Holst.

I would perhaps consider The Hymn of Jesus his masterpiece, as it is as easily accessible as The Planets and yet contains some of the other sides of Holst as well. Other, 'minor' favourites of mine would also include the Invocation for Cello and Orchestra, the Beni Mora Suite, the Lyric Movement, the ballet music for The Lure (in part almost as succesful as the Perfect Fooll ballet music), the Scherzo from his unfinished final symphony (I think that Holst was very much in the process of discovering another major style of his own in the year of his sudden death) and even the funny Capriccio (the Jazz Band Piece in the orchestral version by Imogen Holst).

And of course many choral songs, as e.g. the entirely beautiful setting of 'This have I done for my true love'.

I forgot Beni Mora and Invocation, which are two of my favourites.  Thanks for reminding me:-)
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

tjguitar

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Re: Non-Planets Holst
« Reply #7 on: April 21, 2007, 06:01:05 PM »
I Like his St Paul's Suite

Offline SonicMan46

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Re: Non-Planets Holst
« Reply #8 on: April 21, 2007, 06:18:32 PM »
Well, can't add much to the discussion @ this point - the only other CD (besides 'The Planets') that I have of Holst's music is shown below - single CD w/ Hickox conducting on the Chandos label; Amazon listing of works HERE w/ a few brief comments; I've not listen to this CD in a while, but enjoyed the works & the performances - not sure 'how much' more is really available; will look forward to more comments -  :)


Offline sound67

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Re: Non-Planets Holst
« Reply #9 on: April 22, 2007, 01:48:26 AM »
For non-Planets Holst, no greater disc than this one:



Boult endows, in particular, the Beni Mora Suite with a power and edge no other conductor does - revealing it to be another masterpiece.

Thomas
"Vivaldi didn't compose 500 concertos. He composed the same concerto 500 times" - Igor Stravinsky

"Mozart is a menace to musical progress, a relic of rituals that were losing relevance in his own time and are meaningless to ours." - Norman Lebrecht

Offline Christo

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Re: Non-Planets Holst
« Reply #10 on: April 22, 2007, 04:46:16 AM »
For non-Planets Holst, no greater disc than this one:

Boult endows, in particular, the Beni Mora Suite with a power and edge no other conductor does - revealing it to be another masterpiece.  Thomas 

That's the one I mean! It even contains the only available (or am I mistaken?) recording of the Japanese Suite, that im some respects (orchestration mainly, not in it's musical content) sounds as a first announcement of the coming into being of The Planets.
… 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

johnQpublic

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Re: Non-Planets Holst
« Reply #11 on: April 22, 2007, 05:54:16 AM »
My favs:

Beni Mora Suite

Egdon Heath

Short Festival Te Deum

and since I was raised as a band person

Military Band Suites

Offline SonicMan46

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Re: Non-Planets Holst
« Reply #12 on: April 22, 2007, 06:59:55 AM »
For non-Planets Holst, no greater disc than this one:



Boult endows, in particular, the Beni Mora Suite with a power and edge no other conductor does - revealing it to be another masterpiece.

Thomas - thanks for the above recommendation - I see no 'overlap' w/ the disc shown in my post - Holst wrote more 'non-Planets' music than I realized!  Will add to my 'wish list' -  :)

Online vandermolen

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Re: Non-Planets Holst
« Reply #13 on: April 22, 2007, 07:57:43 AM »
For non-Planets Holst, no greater disc than this one:



Boult endows, in particular, the Beni Mora Suite with a power and edge no other conductor does - revealing it to be another masterpiece.

Thomas


Agreed+The Cloud Messenger

Jeffrey
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Hector

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Re: Non-Planets Holst
« Reply #14 on: April 23, 2007, 05:01:15 AM »
I heard part of Nicholas Braithwaite's Lyrita disc on R3 and ordered it promptly.

It contains some Holst not generally available on disc in superb performances.

I cannot fault Holst's immediate impact.

Offline SonicMan46

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Re: Non-Planets Holst
« Reply #15 on: May 19, 2007, 07:40:28 AM »
Thomas - thanks for the above recommendation - I see no 'overlap' w/ the disc shown in my post - Holst wrote more 'non-Planets' music than I realized!  Will add to my 'wish list' -  :)

Well, finally acquired the disc below - listened to it this morn' & certainly agree w/ all of the previous posts - great start for a non-Planets Holst collection!  :)


tjguitar

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Re: Non-Planets Holst
« Reply #16 on: May 19, 2007, 07:47:41 AM »
Lyrita has 3 other discs as well:


Greta

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Re: Non-Planets Holst
« Reply #17 on: May 31, 2007, 03:48:12 PM »
Holst has many great works beside The Big One. :D I really enjoy his ballet music like The Perfect Fool, Suite de Ballet (some outstanding melodies here!), and The Lure. Great fun, quite clever.  His band suites of course, I was raised on and are still wonderful, extremely cohesive. Hammersmith, also in band version was a work I knew of early.

Recently I'm trying to get into his choral work and it is just a goldmine. Currently I adore the dreamy, forward-looking Cloud Messenger, which I knew almost nothing of before joining GMG  :o And of course, Hymn of Jesus, everyone should hear these to see what a versatile NON one-hit wonder Holst was. Savitri and The Dream-City are quite interesting too.

I have a question:

I'm looking for texts for The Cloud Messenger and Hymn of Jesus, I got both of them from an online music store (Hickox, LSO) so I don't have liner notes. I looked a little for them on the internet but didn't come up with anything yet...anyone know where I could find his texts?

Online vandermolen

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Re: Non-Planets Holst
« Reply #18 on: May 31, 2007, 10:11:55 PM »
Holst has many great works beside The Big One. :D I really enjoy his ballet music like The Perfect Fool, Suite de Ballet (some outstanding melodies here!), and The Lure. Great fun, quite clever.  His band suites of course, I was raised on and are still wonderful, extremely cohesive. Hammersmith, also in band version was a work I knew of early.

Recently I'm trying to get into his choral work and it is just a goldmine. Currently I adore the dreamy, forward-looking Cloud Messenger, which I knew almost nothing of before joining GMG  :o And of course, Hymn of Jesus, everyone should hear these to see what a versatile NON one-hit wonder Holst was. Savitri and The Dream-City are quite interesting too.

I have a question:

I'm looking for texts for The Cloud Messenger and Hymn of Jesus, I got both of them from an online music store (Hickox, LSO) so I don't have liner notes. I looked a little for them on the internet but didn't come up with anything yet...anyone know where I could find his texts?

If you ask Chandos nicely they might send you the booklets (they did for me when I ordered a second hand set of Nielsen symphonies from amazon marketplace which did not include the booklet). Alternatively I'm happy to photocopy them for you myself if you let me have an address to send them to)

Jeffrey
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

Ephemerid

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Re: Non-Planets Holst
« Reply #19 on: February 07, 2008, 04:29:07 PM »
I just downloaded the St. Paul's Suite-- delightful music!  I have no idea why I decided to do this, just out of the blue LOL

My only previous exposure to Holst has been, of course, The Planets.  But I will definitely have to investigate more of his stuff now...