Gustav Holst - One Hit Wonder?

Originally written for brass band, it’s also beautiful in that form

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Thanks. I hadn’t known which came first.

Another gem worth listening to is Black Dyke band playing ‘A Tribute to Elgar, Delius and Holst. They are very tasteful arrangements.


The opening track (Somerset Rhapsody) uses the same music as a Steeleye Span song. Something about the lads and lasses do sheep shearing go……Hauntingly and beautifully sung by Maddy Prior.


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I’ve just listened to Mars from The Planets. It’s quite Darth Vader from Star Wars. … and it freaks out the cat …

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This English Miniatures series is wonderful and well worth investigating.


I saw a documentary once that revealed that George Lucas had pulled together a “temporary” soundtrack for A New Hope before John Williams scored it, and that Holst was included, along with Korngold, Chopin and Tchaikovsky. And of course there are reams of papers written about the, um, “quotations” from Holst, Bruckner, Strauss, Stravinsky, Korngold, etc. in the actual soundtrack. The best “Holst” moment, I think, is right before and after Luke fires the shot that blows up the Death Star. Totally “Mars”!

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Janet Baker retired in her prime which is surely the right time to go. There is a two hour documentary by John Birdcut which you should be able to source from U-Tube.
She comes across as very highly committed to her career. The programme ends with both she and her husband along with his carer listening to one of Mahler’s songs from his Ruckert Lieder. She had the ability to get to the heart of any music never more so than in this song.
I saw her a number of times at the Festival Hall often with the LSO and Andre Previn along with other conductors. This was back in the 1970s. Strong musical memories for me.

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But I think singers’ voices age faster than violinists technical ability. Most fiddlers continue performing well after the age of 55 and although some singers do, one often wishes they hadn’t. Janet Baker still had a fine voice when she retired, but it had traded some maturity for that meltingly fresh tone she produced in Purcell’s Dido and her Elgar recordings with Barbirolli, for example.

You can hear that again in her performance of the title role in Holst’s Savitri (post 18 above).


I’m also a big fan of his “Nunc Dimitis”, especially this recording by Chichester Cathedral Choir (but I am a bit biased as I’m the tenor soloist :rofl:

I’m similar to the OP, in that I’ve only heard The Planets, so encouraged by this thread, I’ve bought the CD recommended above by Richard Dane and giving it a whirl now. So far, so good.


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