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Holst: St Paul's Suite etc. CD

5 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Performer: Nicholas Ward, Andrew Watkinson, Duke Dobing, Christopher Hooker
  • Orchestra: City of London Sinfonia
  • Conductor: Richard Hickox
  • Composer: Gustav Holst
  • Audio CD (1 Oct. 1999)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: CD
  • Label: Chandos
  • ASIN: B000000AUH
  • Other Editions: MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 147,213 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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Format: Audio CD
What an absolute pleasure to hear so many of Holst's orchesteral works on one cd.
Holst is one of the composers we only remember for one or two famous pieces that he has written such as THE PLANETS, but this cd is to prove there are many other hidden lesser known gems.
Holst came from a musical background in Cheltenham Gloucestershire, (England) during his life time he taught at the Royal collage of music in London, where many of the performers in the City of London Sinfonia studdied and now teach.
The City of London Sinfonia play these piece exquisitly, with such emotion and care directied by the hands of Richard Hickox.
The soloists used in some of the works are a collection of the best in England showing the instruments off to the best of their capability. My personal favourite piece on the collection is the FLUGAL CONCERTO for flute and oboe, maybe slightly bias though as Duke Dobing was my former flute professer, but this performance between the flute on oboe is just fantastic, sweet and juice with the full strength of the string section behind them tastefully dipping in and out with the tune.
This CD is a fantastic buy, combining a good performance fantastic music and a lovely colletion.
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Format: Audio CD
What an absolute pleasure to hear so many of Holst's orchesteral works on one cd.
Holst is one of the composers we only remember for one or two famous pieces that he has written such as THE PLANETS, but this cd is to prove there are many other hidden lesser known gems.
Holst came from a musical background in Cheltenham Gloucestershire, (England) during his life time he taught at the Royal collage of music in London, where many of the performers in the City of London Sinfonia studdied and now teach.
The City of London Sinfonia play these piece exquisitly, with such emotion and care directied by the hands of Richard Hickox.
The soloists used in some of the works are a collection of the best in England showing the instruments off to the best of their capability. My personal favourite piece on the collection is the FLUGAL CONCERTO for flute and oboe, maybe slightly bias though as Duke Dobing was my former flute professer, but this performance between the flute on oboe is just fantastic, sweet and juice with the full strength of the string section behind them tastefully dipping in and out with the tune.
This CD is a fantastic buy, combining a good performance fantastic music and a lovely colletion.
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Format: Audio CD
Holst's "A Fugal Concerto" is superbly played on this CD, another wonderful performance with Chandos. The playing is alive & bright & leaves the listener wanting more. Excellent choices.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Shows that Holst wrote other good works. Not just the Planets
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x8b72dc60) out of 5 stars 7 reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8b6fe2b8) out of 5 stars essential Holst 21 Mar. 2008
By jsa - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
If your exposure to the music of Holst begins and ends with The Planets, you're in for a pleasant surprise. This intelligently programmed and beautifully recorded disc features several Holst essentials including the Fugal Concerto, Brook Green Suite and St. Paul's Suite, all convincingly played by the City of London Sinfonia conducted by Richard Hickox. That Holst's music is easy to listen to does not make it superficial. Like Ralph Vaughan Williams, Holst used folk material as the basis for some of his music, thus it projects the flavor of pastoral England in a most satisfying way.

This particular compilation compares very favorably with an authoritative Lyrita disc conducted by the composer's daughter, Imogen Holst conducts Gustav Holst. While there's some crossover in the music, I would recommend both discs to Holst enthusiasts, especially as the Hickox disc includes St. Paul's Suite which Imogen Holst also recorded but which appears on a separate Lyrita anthology.

Another Holst disc I highly recommend is Boult conducts Holst also on Lyrita. This is an essential acquisition for lovers of 20th century British music and there are no duplicated pieces between this and the Hickox or Imogen Holst discs.

Very highly recommended!
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8b6fe510) out of 5 stars There's more than just "The Planets" 18 April 2008
By Eric S. Kim - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
It's sort of a shame that most people recognize the English composer, Gustav Holst, with his "Planets". Yes, it's a brilliant masterpiece (and yes, the Mars & Jupiter sequences are a sure kicker), but he's more than just that. To be honest, I most recognize Holst for his "Somerset Rhapsody", his "Edgon Heath" tone poem, and his choral work "The Cloud Messenger". "The Cloud Messenger" is especially striking for its choral lyricism and its orchestral firepower. Yes, Holst is more than just "the guy who created the 'Planets' music", and this CD is further proof.

The "Double Concerto" consists of two solo violins and a very small orchestra. It's a great one, and it reminds me of Holst's "Hammersmith". "Brook Green Suite" & "St. Paul's Suite" are mostly based on folk material, and it doesn't get any better than this. "Lyric Movement" and "Two Songs without Words" aren't as good as the suites, but their sheer lyricism and steadiness makes me want to listen to them over and over. The only drawback to the "Fugal Concerto" for flute, oboe, and string orchestra is that the end sounds horribly anti-climactic. Either the conductor made a mistake, or Holst no longer had interest during the last movement.

Richard Hickox and the City of London Sinfonia do a fine job with these pieces, and the soloists sound very good. I give this an A-.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8b6fe750) out of 5 stars The Holst Problem 15 Sept. 2010
By Keith Otis Edwards - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
I once posted a question at a classical music forum which first stated what we all know. Most celebrated composers began their careers as virtuoso pianists: Mozart, Beethoven, Brahms, Liszt, Saint-Saëns, Rachmaninoff, et al. But, I asked, Which composers did not play the piano? The two I named were Berlioz and Holst, both sadly neglected today. Gustav Holst could play the piano, but his right hand was crippled by neuritis, and he could barely hold a pen to write music with. (In his youth, Holst worked as a professional trombone player, which is why he wrote so well for brass.)

Some of the reason for Holst's neglect today is, I think, that after the success in the UK of "The Planets" (which remained almost unknown in the USA until about 1970) with its big, oafish melodies, Holst was haunted by it, as Ravel was haunted by his "Bolero," and so Holst tried to demonstrate that he was a genuine "serious" composer, and he embraced the neoclassical style that Stravinsky and Hindemith (among others) had adopted. The result was that his later work is exceptionally dry, cold, and almost sterile. Perhaps because of his interest in Hindu mysticism and astrology, he also kept the ethereal mood of "Neptune." Most movements are very brief.

I have a tape of an interview with Holst's daughter Imogen (1907-1984) in which she states that, a few years before his death, her father attended a performance of Schubert's Quintet in C, and from it, he realized that he missed warmth in his music. Perhaps there would've been a welcome change in his work had he lived, but instead he left a legacy of late works which we respect, but it's difficult to rouse any enthusiasm over.

Happily, this album includes both mature works by Holst and some of his early, jolly music. If you play a stringed instrument, you likely have played both the "St. Paul's Suite" and the "Brook Green Suite" (both of which include folk melodies) many, many times.

Like everything done by the late Richard Hickox, the performance is superb, and like everything on the Chandos label, the sound is immaculate.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8b6feab0) out of 5 stars Very appealing 6 July 2011
By G.D. - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
This is a superb collection of some of Holst's smaller-scaled orchestral works, and a decent "next stop" for anyone who wants to explore the composer beyond The Planets (or perhaps "third stop", after some of the choral and orchestral works, the Choral Hymns and Egdon Heath). That said, the works on this disc don't bear many resemblances to his famous masterpiece; most of them were written for student orchestras, and they are tuneful, imaginative, often pastoral in character and steeped in folk music; the rest are highly contrapuntal, somewhat neo-classical and a tad austere. Most of the music is relatively light, but the program is variegated and no single movement is anything less than delightful.

The double concerto for two violins and orchestra dates from 1929 it opens with a rhythmically capricious, contrapuntal (fugal), partially bitonal and very engaging Scherzo. It is followed by a beautiful if not particularly profound lament, and the quirky, inventive and appealing Variation on a Ground containing a plethora of cross-rhythms and "tonal confusion". It is actually a superb work, and one of Holst's most immediately enjoyable (apart from the Planets). The two Songs Without Words from 1906 are less consequential, but atmospheric and attractive. The beautiful Lyric Movement for viola and chamber orchestra was the composer's last completed work. It belongs to the rather austere style that characterizes the composer's late music, yet it contains an inner warmth and sheen nonetheless (Stephen Tees is the very fine soloist on this recording).

The final three works are perhaps the best known of the program. The Brook Green Suite was written for the junior orchestra at St. Paul's Girls School just before the Lyric Movement (in 1933). Despite its relatively modest technical demands it is a musically rewarding, evocative work, especially the folk-song-sounding Air. The genial Fugal Concerto (1923) is utterly charming and attractive - Holst's mastery of counterpoint is remarkable, but I suspect many listeners would not realize they were listening to fugues in this splendidly attractive, pastoral work. The St.Paul's Suite (1913) is a relatively familiar crowd-pleaser, with its inclusion of several famous English folk songs. It is a straightforward, tuneful and disarmingly simple work and a nice conclusion to this very appealing program. The City of London Sinfonia are entirely idiomatic, spirited, colorful and lively throughout and Hickox (unsurprisingly) shows a deep understanding of and sympathy for the music. The sound is excellent, and this disc can be recommended with much enthusiasm.
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8b6feccc) out of 5 stars Holst: St. Paul's Suite 2 Jan. 2013
By Linda Fuller-Hull - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I ordered this for my son for Christmas. We listened to it that evening. The music is beautiful - I am going to order one for myself also! Arrived quickly and in great shape!
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