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Gustav Holst The Planets . By Spencer Vail . His Life. Born September 21 st 1874 in Gloucestershire, England Father: Adolph Holst was a harp composer Due to constant illness as a child he picked up music quite easily. Began composing around 12

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his life
His Life
  • Born September 21st 1874 in Gloucestershire, England
  • Father: Adolph Holst was a harp composer
  • Due to constant illness as a child he picked up music quite easily.
  • Began composing around 12
  • As a child could play the piano, violin and trombone
his life cont
His Life Cont.
  • Educated at Cheltenham grammar school for boys
  • Attended Royal college of Music on scholarship, where he studied composition with Charles Stanford
  • Met best friend Ralph Wiliams
his life cont1
His Life Cont.
  • While at Royal college Holst obsessively began studying the music of Wagner.
  • Joined the Hammersmith society while at Royal
  • Holst became a socialist for the rest of his life.
his life cont2
His Life Cont.
  • First music job was with Carl Rosa Opera Company and the Scottish Orchestra
  • Married in 1901 to Emily Harrison, a soprano.
  • His only daughter was born in 1907 her name was Imogen
his life cont3
His Life Cont.
  • First teaching job was being a music master at the James Allen Girls school in London.
  • Shortly later became the Director of Music at St Pauls Girls school.
  • Finally he took a position of the Director of Music at Morely College.
his life cont4
His Life Cont.
  • Holst traveled to Algeria in 1908, this experience inspired the piece Beni Mora
  • Holst was a frequent traveler of the world.
  • His Travels to Spain were his most important
his life cont5
His Life Cont.
  • While living in Essex, Holst began work on the Planets.
  • In 1922 he used technological advances to record his music with the London Symphony Orechestra, and did a complete recording of The Planets.
  • Later in 1927 Holst composed the piece Egdon Heath
his life cont6
His Life Cont.
  • Holst suffered from poor health his entire life and finally died in London following a stomach surgery in May of 1934.
composition history the planets
Composition History:The Planets
  • The Planets as a whole is based on Astrology.
  • Despite common belief Holst based this piece on the influence the planets have on the psych no the Roman Dieties.
  • The idea of The Planets came to Holst in 1913 while in Spain.
composition history continued
Composition History Continued
  • The Planets was done originally as a piano duet, except for Neptune which was to be done by an organ alone.
  • Holst later rewrote the whole piece to be done by an entire orchestra.
composition history cont
Composition History Cont.
  • The Planets was written to be a seven movement orchestra piece.
  • It was officially created in between 1914 and 1916 while Holst lived in Essex.
  • Each movement was named after a separate planet, excluding Earth
  • Since produced as a full orchestra piece it has become one of the most widely played and popular pieces.
listening guide the planets mars
Listening GuideThe Planets: Mars
  • :32 the entire Orchestra begins a crescendo.
  • :47 orchestra plays at a dynamic level of a strong Mezzo forte.
  • 1:00 Strings join the brass in playing the melody till it climaxes to a cadence
  • 1:25 The brass plays a new melody with the trumpets becoming the lead voice
mars continued
Mars Continued
  • 3:00 A slower melody is played by the orchestra in a lower voice.
  • This part of the piece the over all sound becomes incredibly dark and mysterious.
  • At 3:27 The trumpets and snare drums play an accented triplets to build up before the next climax.
mars continud
Mars Continud
  • 4:12 this is the climax of the piece here the whole orchestra is playing at a dynamic level to in a dark tone.
  • Later around 4:38 the dynamic level drops to a forte level. The sound being produced is dark and aggressive.
  • At the end around 6:34 the strings add the final build to the end of the piece and finally end on a tonic cord.
the planets jupiter
The Planets:Jupiter
  • :30 The strings being with repeated sixteenth notes followed by horns and low brass exchanging melody
  • At 1:45 the horns start a new melody with the strings playing down the beats.
  • 3:11 starts with the strings playing a unison line with a crescendo up to the top phrase.
jupiter continued
Jupiter Continued
  • 4:00 the range of the melody is in a much higher range played by the strings.
  • 4:38 Section C climaxes, the downbeats continue to be strong with the strings at a fortissimo dynamic level
  • 5:03 the woodwinds reintroduce previously played themes with the clarinet, flute, and oboe
jupiter continued1
Jupiter Continued
  • 5:26 The brass join the woodwinds in playing reintroduced previous themes.
  • 6:47 There is a key change and a driving motion with an increased tempo, the trumpets become quite loud and exchange melody with the horns and low strings.
  • 7:26 A recapitulation of section C combined with the melody of Section B with low voices playing the melody.
  • The piece ends with low brass and percussion playing quite fortissimo and short sixteenth notes, while the strings and high woodwinds play a repeated pattern similar to the opening section.