Happy Birthday Gustav Holst!

Happy Birthday Holst!

Born on this day in 1874, Gustavus Theodore von Holst was an English composer. He came from a very musical family – there were professional musicians in the previous 3 generations of his family. Holst hoped to follow in their footsteps by learning to play the piano. Unfortunately, he suffered from neuritis (an inflammation of a nerve) in his right arm. He pursued a career as a composer, but when he was unable to support himself with this he began playing the trombone professionally and later became a teacher.

Holst was a great supporter of music education for women at St. Paul’s Girl’s School, where he taught from 1905 until his death in 1934. He was a shy man and preferred to be left alone to teach and compose. His most popular work was The Planets – a 7-movement orchestral suite which was written between 1914 and 1916. Each movement is named after a planet of the Solar System and its “character” such as “Mars, the Bringer of War,” “Mercury, the Winged Messenger” and “Jupiter, Bringer of Jollity.”

Holst died in London in 1934 from heart failure, following an operation.

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