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 Gustav Holst

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Gustav Holst

  • Birth 21 Sep 1874 Cheltenham, Cheltenham Borough, Gloucestershire, England
  • Death 25 May 1934 London, City of London, Greater London, England
  • Burial Chichester, Chichester District, West Sussex, England
  • Memorial ID 6380559

Composer. His symphonic suite "The Planets" (completed in 1916, first full performance in 1920) is regarded as his masterpiece. A powerful, mystical work, it reflected the composer's fascination with the mythic and astrological aspects of the seven known planets beyond Earth (Pluto had not yet been discovered - or demoted). Its best-known movements are "Mars, the Bringer of War," and "Jupiter, the Bringer of Jollity." The central melody of the latter was adapted into a popular English hymn, which was performed at the funeral of Princess Diana in 1997. Holst's other important compositions include "The Hymn of Jesus" (1917), the operas "Savitri" (1908), "The Perfect Fool" (1922), and "The Wandering Scholar" (1930), the "Choral Symphony" (1925), and the overture "Egdon Heath" (1927). Gustavus Theodore von Holst was born in Cheltenham, England, of German and Latvian descent. He studied trombone at the Royal College of Music and first eked out a living playing in brass bands. From 1905 until his death he was Music Director of the St. Paul's Girls' School in Hammersmith. Sickly, bookish, and retiring, Holst was a firm believer in astrology and his interest in Far Eastern religion and culture was so great he learned to read Sanskrit. He shunned the spotlight and did not enjoy the few years of celebrity the great success of "The Planets" brought him. Critics considered much of his music cold and cerebral, and even his closest friend, composer Ralph Vaughan Williams, had reservations about his later works. Holst died from a bleeding ulcer at 59. His daughter Imogen Holst was a noted conductor, composer, and musicologist.

Bio by: Bobb Edwards


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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Originally Created by: Kieran Smith
  • Added: 29 Apr 2002
  • Find A Grave Memorial 6380559
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Gustav Holst (21 Sep 1874–25 May 1934), Find A Grave Memorial no. 6380559, citing Chichester Cathedral, Chichester, Chichester District, West Sussex, England ; Maintained by Find A Grave Cremated.