Gustav Theodore Holst (1874–1934)

David Manning

in Vaughan Williams on Music

Published in print November 2007 | ISBN: 9780195182392
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199851485 | DOI:
Gustav Theodore Holst (1874–1934)

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This chapter pays tribute to Gustav Theodore Holst, composer, whose original name was Gustavus Theodore von Holst. At an early age Holst began to learn the violin and the pianoforte. His favourite composer in those days was Edvard Grieg. However, his father discouraged composition and wished him to be a virtuoso pianist, but neuritis prevented this and at the age of 17 he was allowed to study counterpoint with G. F. Sims of Oxford. In 1892, Holst obtained his first professional engagement as organist of Wyck Rissington, Gloucestershire. Meanwhile, he had made himself proficient on the trombone and was able to eke out his modest allowance by playing on seaside piers and in a “Viennese” dance band. The trombone took him right into the heart of the orchestra, an experience that was the foundation of his great command of instrumentation.

Keywords: Gustav Theodore Holst; Edvard Grieg; G. F. Sims; Wyck Rissington; trombone; instrumentation

Chapter.  1898 words. 

Subjects: Musicology and Music History

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