For the interest of the reader, we are collecting a selection of articles to provide further insight into the life and works of Gustav Holst.

Newsletter July 2021

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Newsletter May 2021

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Newsletter March 2021

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Newsletter January 2021

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Newsletter November 2020

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Newsletter August 2020

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Newsletter June 2020

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Newsletter April 2020

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Newsletter February 2020

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Newsletter December 2019

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Newsletter October 2019

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Newsletter August 2019

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Newsletter June 2019

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A concert of part-songs in Gloucester

Daniel Jaffé, the well-known musicologist and journalist, attended the concert sponsored by the Holst and Vaughan Williams societies in the Chapter House at Gloucester Cathedral on 11 September 2021.
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Recording all Holst's sacred music

How the Holst Society arranged for all Holst’s sacred music to be recorded.
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The Idea

This is a humorous operetta for children in two acts dating from 1896. The libretto was by Fritz B Hart. The operetta lasts for about an hour. The first performance took place at St Mary’s School in Barnes directed from the piano by the composer. Date unknown. As the publication date is 1903, with Novello as the publishers, one must suspect that the first performance (probably the last performance until recently) took place at St Mary’s School that year.

Since 1903, the work has languished largely unknown and forgotten.

Nothing more was heard about the score until 2020/21 when Paula Chitty discovered The Idea and decided to do her own arrangement for keyboard, bass, violin and trumpet.

Performances took place in the London area in June and July 2021. The performance at the Gatehouse Theatre in Highgate on 3 July has been reviewed by Alan Franks. His review is available on the following link

The Society understands that The Idea will be re-staged in London from 3 October. Further information will follow in due course, once available.


Savitri is probably Holst’s most performed opera. It is described as an episode from the Mahabharata, an opera di camera in one act. It dates from 1908 and lasts for approximately 40 minutes.

Against the Grain Theatre, based in Toronto in Canada, has produced a film of the opera, directed by Miriam Khalil, which was streamed between 23 June and 11 July.

A review by Paula Citron appears at this link

Click on this link to see a review by Kemone Moodley

An unusual Savitri at Barnes

Barnes Music Festival May 2021. Concert review by Alan Gibbs.
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Whitsun Festival in Dulwich 1920

Philippa Tudor, Holst scholar, writes about the first Whitsun Festival to take place after World War I which was held at Dulwich and not at Thaxted (1920).
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Jane Joseph and Holst

Alan Gibbs (vice president) writes about Holst's star pupil Jane Joseph (1894-1929), who was also a composer.
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Solo piano works of Holst

Duncan Honeybourne, international pianist, writes about the solo piano works of Holst - part of a longer article on the piano works of E J Moeran and Holst.
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Gustav Holst and the Dance

This was a lecture given by Society member, Michael Green.
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Gustav Holst – The Final Years

This was a lecture given by Chris Cope at the English Music Festival on 26 May 2019.
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Gustav Holst – The Impact of the First World War

This was a lecture given by Chris Cope at the English Music Festival on 28 May 2018.
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Gustav Holst – The Mystic Trumpeter – The Road to Absolute Greatness

This was a lecture given by Chris Cope at the English Music Festival on 26 May 2017, when the Holst Society was launched.
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The Holst Family contribution to Cheltenham music making in the 19th century

A fascinating insight by the late Graham Lockwood into the musical life of Gustav Holst and his ancestors, beginning with his great-grandfather Matthias' move to London.
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The Cloud Messenger

A paper by Raymond Head (one of our Vice Presidents) discussing Gustav Holst's choral work The Cloud Messenger.
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The Statesman-Poet Commemorated

A short article by Alan Gibbs (one of our Vice Presidents) on Sir Cecil Spring Rice who wrote the words I Vow to Thee My Country, to which Holst set the tune Jupiter (The Planets)
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Further reading

Gibbs, A (2000) Holst Among Friends London: Thames Publishing

Holst, I (1938) Gustav Holst Oxford: University Press

Holst, I (1968) The Music of Gustav Holst Oxford: University Press

Holst, I (1974) A Thematic Catalogue of Gustav Holst’s Music Oxford: University Press

Short, M (1990) Gustav Holst: The Man and his Music Oxford: University Press