The Society has already started work on promoting recordings of music, either hitherto unrecorded, or, where previously recorded, the CD is either no longer available or the LP has never been transcribed onto CD.
To date, we have supported and promoted two recordings. Another five are either in hand or proposed. The following is a summary.
Project 1 - Holst's Christmas Music
The Godwine Choir, under their conductor Alex Davan Wetton, have recorded all of Holst's Christmas music. This is due to be released in the autumn of 2019, under the EM label.
The CD will include In the Bleak Midwinter (H73, 1904), Four Old English Carols (H82, 1907), Two Carols (H91, 1907/1916), Christmas Day (H109, 1910), Lullay My Liking (H129, 1916), Three Carols (H133, 1916/17), Of One That Is So Fair (H130, 1916), This Have I Done (H128, 1916), Bring us in Good Ale (H131, 1916), A Dream of Christmas (H139, 1917), Wassail Song (H182, 1928-31).
This is the first time in the history of recorded music that all 17 of Holst's carols have been recorded on one CD. Some of these carols are being recorded for the first time.
We have also recorded all Holst's organ music, together with the transcription for two organists of Holst's Scherzo for Orchestra (H192), which was to have formed part of his second orchestral symphony. This was never completed as at the time of his death.
The four early voluntaries are included, namely:-
- March in C Major (1890/91)
- Allegretto Pastorale (1890/91)
- Postlude in C (1890/91)
- Funeral March in G Minor (1890/91)
The Scherzo (H192) dates from 1933.
Project 2 - Choral Works by Holst and Dyson (now issued)
This is a recording by the Godwine Choir of lesser-known music by George Dyson and Gustav Holst. The programme for the music by Holst includes the Five Part-songs (H61), four of the 12 Welsh Folk Songs (H183) and the premier recording of Love is Enough dating from 1897.
Although the five part-songs have previously been recorded, that recording dates back some decades and is no longer available.
Dream Tryst is issued under the EM record label and can be obtained through EM Records, PO Box 123, Clunton, Craven Arms SY7 7BP, email: firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit https://www.em-records.com/catalogue.html.
The Society provided sponsorship towards this recording, together with generous support from three of our members.
Project 3 - Songs for voice and piano by Holst and Vaughan Williams (now issued)
This is a joint project with the Vaughan Williams Society, under the Albion label. Two CDs were issued during October 2019 and included music for voice and piano by Vaughan Williams and Holst, together with music by Holst for voice and violin. For those interested in the music to be recorded by Vaughan Williams, please visit the website of the Vaughan Williams Society at https://rvwsociety.com/.
The songs by Holst and Vaughan Williams were recorded at Potten Hall, Suffolk, from 28 November to 1 December 2018.
The soloists were Mary Bevan, soprano, Roderick Williams, baritone, and Jack Liebeck, violin. William Vann accompanied at the piano.
The works by Holst include Six Songs (H68, 1902/03), Cradle Song (from Six Songs H69, 1903/04), Four Songs (H14, 1896-98), Folk Songs from the Eastern Counties and Hampshire - The Willow Tree (H83/6, 1906-08), Abroad as I was Walking (H83/1, 1906/08), Four Songs for Voice and Violin (H132, 1916-17), Darest Thou Now O Soul (H72, 1904/05).
This is a unique recording, in that no less than ten of these songs are world premieres.
The Society is greatly indebted to the Vaughan Williams Society for arranging these recordings, which will fill a gap in the works of Holst previously unrecorded.
The Society is presently in discussion with the conductor of a well-known group of singers to record some of Holst's partsongs for SATB. The recording will take place in January 2020. No less than nine of these partsongs will be world premieres. The recording will also include Four Carols (H128-H131 inclusive). We will publish further information as discussions develop.
This will include all Holst's sacred music, some of his hymns and the early choral work Clear and Cool.
The sacred music will include the anthem Not Unto Us (H22, 1893), Ave Maria (H49, 1900), Two Psalms (H117, 1912), Nunc Dimittis (H127, 1915), Short Festival Te Deum (H145, 1919), Christ Hath a Garden (H167, 1927), Man Born to Toil (H168, 1927), Eternal Father (H169, 1927). Of those nine works, three (Not Unto Us/ Christ Hath a Garden/ Eternal Father) have not previously been recorded.
Holst composed at least a dozen hymns, most of which have now long-since been forgotten. However, some are worthy of being recorded. We hope to include H148 I Vow to Thee My Country (1921) and one or two others (yet to be decided).
In addition, we hope to include the choral work Clear and Cool (The Song of the River) dating from 1897, which was first performed (undoubtedly the last performance) on 26 March 1897. The second performance will be given at the Pittville Pump Room in Cheltenham by the Charlton Kings Choral Society on Saturday 23 November 2019 at 7.30pm. The concert will be conducted by John Wright who transcribed the work from original manuscript, found at the British Library.
This performance will be the first in 122 years.
Other works may be included on this CD.
This is a joint project with St Paul's Girls' School, where Holst was director of music for nearly 30 years. The recording will include the Masque: Vision of Dame Christian (H101, 1909), The Playground Song (H118A, date unknown, probably before 1914), The St Paul's Suite (H118, 1912/13), The Brook Green Suite (H190, 1933) and the Seven Choruses from the Alcestes of Euripides (H146, 1920).
Although the Masque has previously been recorded, this is no longer available and has never been transferred to CD. The Brook Green and St Paul's Suites have previously been recorded. The other two works have never been recorded.
All five works were composed by Holst for St Paul's Girls' School.
We hope that the recording will be made during the academic year 2020/21.
Lansdown Castle was an early comic opera by Holst which was revived by musicians from Pate's Grammar School in Cheltenham on 19 and 21 September 2019. The previous performance took place in 1893. It was composed by Holst when he was just 18. Although this is a very early work (some would dismiss it as mere juvenilia), there are signs of the future Holst even this early in his career. There is an offstage chorus with parallel fifths that foreshadow The Planets. Holst displays a ready wit and humour most of the time, but it is the contrast of that against the more sinister moments that really make the piece.
This is a fairly long-term project for the Holst Society, but we hope that progress will be made during 2021/22. We hope that the recording will take place in Cheltenham.
We are grateful to John Wright for the above quotations which appear in the Holst news for October 2019.
There are numerous recordings of works by Holst. Those visiting this website should consult online retailers.
The Society would always be interested in hearing ideas about future recordings. If you are proposing a recording yourself or through your choral society/orchestra, we would be most interested in learning about this. Please send such information to us via the form on the contact page.