Gustva Holst: Die Planeten

Whygold's Weekend.

.. under this motto I present you my music tip for the weekend. Maybe one or the other will discover something new. In my opinion, listening to music consciously is as important as reading a good book.

Today: Gustav Holst - The Planets

Gustav Theodore Holst (English pronunciation: [həʊlst]; born September 21, 1874 in Cheltenham – May 25, 1934 in London), born Gustavus Theodore von Holst, was an English composer. His most famous work is the orchestral suite The Planets. "The Planets"[ In 1913, Holst vacationed in Mallorca with Arnold Bax and Henry Balfour Gardiner.[73] There Holst developed a steadily increasing interest in astrology and began to create horoscopes for his circle of friends.

During the leave, a wing was added to St. Paul's Girls' School, which was almost complete when Holst returned.[74] In this context, a soundproof room was set up, which Holst used from then on to compose on weekends. The inauguration took place on July 1, 1913. The first work Holst completed in the soundproof room was the St Paul's Suite.

Also in 1913 the Holst family moved into a small cottage on Monk Street two miles south of Thaxted, Essex.[75] A few years later it was destroyed by fire; the last traces of the garden disappeared due to road widening work. In Thaxted, Holst also looked after the church music and the church choir.

At Whitsun 1916 in Thaxted, Holst organized the first Whitsun Festival, at which the choirs of Morley College and St Paul's Girls' School performed together.[76] The festival was a great success and has been held annually ever since; it was only canceled in 1919 when Holst was not in town.[77][78][79][80] In his Thaxted cottage, inspired by his new interest in astrology, Holst began composing the seven-movement orchestral suite The Planets in 1914-16, in which he characterized the then known seven planets of the solar system (excluding Earth).[81]

A major inspiration was Arnold Schönberg's Five Orchestral Pieces, which had so impressed Holst.[82] Much of the work was created in his soundproof room at St. Paul's College. A first private performance of the planets, initiated by Balfour Gardiner, took place on September 29, 1918 in London's Queen's Hall under the conductor Adrian Boult. According to legend, the cleaning ladies in the corridor started dancing when the Jupiter sentence sounded.[83]

The first public performance of The Planets took place after the end of World War I (albeit without Venus and Neptune), again under the direction of Adrian Boult and in the Queen's Hall, and was Holst's greatest success with audiences. But with his success, journalists and photographers became interested in Holst. He disliked journalists and preferred to continue to lead an ordinary life.

The more the journalists asked, the shorter Holst's answers became, until he indicated with a silence that he considered the interview over. According to the music critic and Holst's companion Clifford Bax, Holst lost his musical interest in astrology after the planets; however, Holst continued to create horoscopes for his circle of friends.[84] (Source: Wikipedia)

I especially like the two strong themes in Jupiter. Numerous performers from different musical styles have been inspired by the planets. For example, the song "Joybringer" by Manfred Mann's Earthband on the 1973 album "Solar Fire" is based on the theme of Jupiter. The band Saxon used the second theme from Jupiter as an opener for their Greatest Hits Live album from 1990. First you hear the original from the tape, then the band joins in - terrific!

Have fun listening to the music!

Your Chris Weigold


Perhaps you will enjoy the listening pleasure together with a glass of wine from our "World Symphony Edition".