program notes by composition > S > Second Suite in F for Military Band

Second Suite in F for Military Band

Gustav Holst

The first of four movements is a march that combines a Morris dance with folk songs. Next is a lyrical tune which tells of lovers separated by their parents. “Song of the Blacksmith” features a lively rhythm on the anvil. The Suite concludes with the Dargason country dance and folk song entwined with the well-known “Greensleeves” melody.

Gustav Holst (1874-1934) was a classical British composer. Born into a musical family, he played piano and violin, and began composing when he was about twelve. He served as a church organist and choirmaster. When neuritis in his right hand forced him away from the organ he took up the trombone and succeeded as an orchestral musician. Holst was influenced by socialism, and attended lectures by George Bernard Shaw with whom he shared a passion for vegetarianism. He became deeply interested in Hindu philosophy and learned Sanskrit. He dabbled in astrology, and read astrological fortunes until his death. He was appointed Director of Music at St. Paul's Girls School in Hammersmith. He became interested in old English folksongs and Tudor composers. Holst's compositions for wind band guaranteed him a position as the medium's cornerstone, as seen in the many present-day programs featuring his two Suites for Military Band .

Last updated on July 16, 2013 by Palatine Concert Band