Gustav Holst (1874-1934)

Episodes

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0120110425

With Donald Macleod.

Including Scherzo, Sita (excerpt), Vedic Hymns (first set).

Donald Macleod tells the story of one of our most celebrated composers; a man who was deeply suspicious of his own celebrity.

His series features many of Holst's works for the stage, including his ballets and complete performances of several rarely heard operas.

01Life Before The War, Life Before The Planets20150323

Donald Macleod explores Holst's early life in Cheltenham and studies in London.

Donald Macleod explores the life and career of the English composer Gustav Holst (1874-1912). Remembered by many as the man who wrote The Planets suite, Holst was much more than that. He was an intriguing character and the composer of a number of individual, compelling works. In Monday's episode, Donald focuses on Holst's childhood in Cheltenham, his studies in London and the friendships he made there. This was followed by his break into teaching, and an enforced trip away which led to a rather controversial composition.

0220110426

Donald Macleod discusses the work that would make Holst world famous.

Holst's poor health kept him from active service during most of the Great War.

At home, he composed the work that would make him world famous, and haunt him for the rest of his life.

Presented by Donald Macleod.

02*20060613

Donald Macleod investigates two very disparate influences on the music of Gustav Holst - the music of Henry Purcell and Hindu Mythology.


First Suite in E flat for military band, Op 28, No 1

The Central Band of the Royal Air Force

Wing Commander Eric Banks (conductor)


The Cloud Messenger, Op 30

Della Jones (mezzo-soprano)

London Symphony Chorus and London Symphony Orchestra

Richard Hickox (conductor).

02Choral Music, World War I And The Planets20150324

Donald Macleod focuses on Holst's early choral music and the suite he called The Planets.

Donald Macleod explores the life and career of the English composer Gustav Holst (1874-1912). Remembered by many as the man who wrote one famous, astronomical work, Holst was in fact much more than that. He was an intriguing character and the composer of a number of individual, compelling pieces. Tuesday's programme focuses on Holst's early choral works and the lead into the First World War: Holst was passed unfit for military service and instead put his efforts into writing a suite for large orchestra: The Planets.

0320060614

Donald Macleod investigates Holst's relationship with the village of Thaxted; and we hear about what was probably the first performance of Saturn (from The Planets Suite) which took place during a harmony lesson at St Paul's Girls School in Hammersmith, where Holst taught for most of his adult life.

St Paul's Suite, Op 29, No 2

St Paul Chamber Orchestra

Christopher Hogwood (conductor)

'Saturn' from The Planets, Op 32

Montréal Symphony Orchestra

Charles Dutoit (conductor)

This have I done for my true love, Op 34, No 1

Siân Menna (mezzo soprano)

BBC Singers

Justin Doyle (conductor)

The Hymn of Jesus, Op 37

Choristers of St Paul's and the London Symphony Chorus

The London Philharmonic Orchestra

Sir Charles Groves (conductor).

0320110427

Donald Macleod focuses on Holst's discomfort at the fame he gained from his Planets suite.

Holst was deeply uncomfortable with the fame and approbation that followed the first performances of his Planets Suite but it revived interest in an early opera - one of his most distinctive works.

Presented by Donald Macleod.

03Growing Fame And Hymns To Man20150325

Donald MacLeod explores Holst's growing fame as he returned from his war posting.

Donald Macleod explores the life and career of the English composer Gustav Holst (1874-1912). Remembered by many as the man who wrote the Planets suite, Holst was in fact much more than that. He was an intriguing character and the composer of a number of individual, compelling works. In Wednesday's programme, Donald explores the music Holst wrote on his return from his war posting and his struggles with the pressures of fame.

0420060615

Holst was not afraid to write for specific occasions.

Donald Macleod introduces a test piece Holst wrote for the National Brass Band Championships in 1928, a piece commissioned by the BBC for their Wireless Military Band and one of the few pieces of chamber music - The Terzetto for flute, oboe and viola.

The ballet from The Perfect Fool, Op 39

The Philharmonia

Barry Wordsworth (conductor)

Terzetto for flute, oboe and cello

The Huntingdon Trio

Diane Gold (flute)

Lloyd Smith (cello)

Rheta Smith (oboe)

A Moorside Suite for brass band

Grimethorpe Colliery Band

Elgar Howarth (conductor)

Hammersmith, Op 52

London Symphony Orchestra

Richard Hickox (conductor).

0420110428

On the verge of a breakdown, Holst withdrew to the quiet of village life and composing.

On the verge of a breakdown, Holst withdrew to the quiet of village life in Thaxted and devoted himself fully to composition - producing a new opera inspired by Shakespeare.

Presented by Donald Macleod.

04Fragile Health And The Perfect Walk20150326

Donald Macleod focuses on Holst's year-long retreat and an encounter with Thomas Hardy.

Donald Macleod explores the life and career of the English composer Gustav Holst (1874-1912). Remembered by many as the man who wrote the Planets suite, Holst was much more than that. He was an intriguing character and the composer of a number of individual, compelling works. Thursday's programme focuses on Holst's breakdown and year long retreat in Thaxted, plus his encounters with a pair of notable literary figures of the day: Robert Bridges and Thomas Hardy.

05 LAST20060616

In 1931, Holst travelled to the USA to lecture in composition at Harvard University.

While there he became ill and his health, which had never been good, was in steady decline from that time on.

However he continued to compose.

His last works were the remarkably beautiful Lyric Movement for viola and orchestra, and the Scherzo for a symphony, whose other movements never advanced beyond fragmentary sketches.

Prelude from Brook Green Suite for string orchestra

City of London Sinfonia

Richard Hickox (conductor)

A Choral Fantasia

Lynne Dawson (soprano)

John Birch (organist)

Guildford Choral Society

Royal Philharmonic Orchestra

Hilary Davan Wetton (conductor)

The Wandering Scholar, Op 50

Alison, his wife....Norma Burrowes (soprano)

Father Philippe....Michael Langdon (bass)

Pierre, a wandering scholar....Robert Tear (tenor)

English Opera Group and the English Chamber Orchestra

Steuart Bedford (conductor)

Before Sleep and How Mighty are the Sabbaths, No 6 and 5 from Six Choruses, Op 53

BBC Singers

Justin Doyle (conductor)

Lyric Movement for Viola and small Orchestra

Cecil Aronowitz (viola)

The English Chamber Orchestra

Imogen Holst (conductor)

Scherzo (from unfinished Symphony)

Munich Symphony Orchestra

Douglas Bostock (conductor).

05 LAST20110429

Gustav Holst died leaving tantalising hints of the composer he might have become.

Holst's final opera hints that he was on the verge of achieving very great things on the stage and in the concert hall, but his sudden death cut short what might have been the crowning years of his career.

Presented by Donald Macleod.

05 LASTNearing The End20150327

Donald Macleod explores Holst's final years and the music he wrote inspired by London.

Donald Macleod explores the life and career of the English composer Gustav Holst (1874-1912). Remembered by many as the man who wrote the Planets suite, Holst was much more than that. He was an intriguing character and the composer of a number of individual, compelling works. Holst's final years involved, in Holst's own words, "too much gadding about". Nevertheless, he found time to write several pieces celebrating London, the city where he'd spent most of his working life, and became involved in "the most startling event in Canterbury Cathedral since the murder of Thomas a Beckett".