|BALLETS : The Red Mask; The Moth; Coromanthe.|
|CHAMBER MUSIC: String Quartet in G- Minor; String Quartet in D-Minor; Quintet for Clarinet and Strings; Quintet for Piano and Strings; Quintet for Wind Instruments; Sextet.|
About Josef Holbrooke:
Lowe, George. Josef Holbrooke: His Life and Work.
GUSTAV THEODORE HOLST was born in Cheltenham on September 21, 1874. Of Swedish origin, his family had lived in Englandever since his greatgrandfather emigrated from Riga. Gustav Holst's father, a well- known pianist, wished to train his son on the same instrument for a virtuoso career; but from earliest childhood it was composition rather than the piano that fascinated the boy.
Young Gustav received enviable musical experience in his youth. He served as an organist in the village church, his first professional work in music; and several small choirs and orchestras were entrusted to his hands. When, therefore, he came to London in 1893 to enter the Royal College of Music, he already had a rich musical background which equipped him remarkably well for the studies he was to undertake. Needless to add, he proved himself to be a very adept pupil. In 1895, he won a scholarship for composition. Almost at the same time occurred another event which had a permanent influence upon his career: his friendship with Vaughan- Williams, begun in schooldays, which was to have a profound effect upon his future outlook and creation.
While still a student at the Royal College of Music, Holst began to suffer from neuritis, which cramped his fingers and now convinced him beyond a shadow of doubt that a career as piano-virtuoso was out of the question. Feeling, however, that intimate knowledge of an instrument was essential, he began to study the trombone, and soon acquired a remarkable proficiency with that instrument. It is probably because of his knowledge of trombone-playing that,
later in his life, he was able to write for brass instruments with such brilliancy and effectiveness.
On leaving the Royal College of Music, Holst joined the Carl Rosa Opera Company as first trombone-player, subsequently playing for several years with the Scottish and other orchestras. Playing in orchestras, however, did not appeal very strongly to him, and when an offer came to him in 1904 to become director at the Passmore Edwards Settlement, he accepted eagerly. This was the beginning of a fertile career as teacher. Holst has since been the director at Morley College, and a professor at the Royal College of Music, both of which positions he held with enormous distinction.
In October 1918, Holst travelled in Algeria. He had been sent by the Y.M.C.A. to Salonika for the purpose of organizing music among the troops. The task of teaching soldiers to sing and appreciate good music brought Holst as far as Constantinople and Asia Minor. In the summer of 1919, Holst returned to England. There followed feverish musical activity in which Holst used his every energy with teaching, conducting and composing.
His numerous activities proved to be too taxing upon a constitution that had always been delicate and, in 1923, Holst suffered a serious nervous breakdown. Rest was essential. Early in 1924, Holst gave up all his duties as teacher, lecturer and conductor and spent the rest of the year in the country. He could now devote himself to composition, and composition alone. Until his death, on May 25, 1934, Holst lived in seclusion and quiet, expending his energies only upon his creative efforts.
Gustav Holst's music divides itself into several clearly-defined phases. The first--the experimental period--produced such works as the Ballet Suite ( 1900), the Mystic Trumpeter ( 1901) and the Cotswolds Symphony ( 1902) which first brought his name into prominence.
"His beginnings," we are informed by the able Edwin Evans, "were remarkable more for the intensity of his preoccupation with music than for____________________