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English composer who wrote about the Planets of the Solar System,
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This review is from: Holst: The Planets (Audio CD)
Despite his name, Gustav Holst was born in Cheltenham in Gloucester. He had musical ancestors from the Balkans on his father's side of the family and an English mother of mainly British ancestry. He was a contemporary of other English composers such as Vaughan Williams and Samuel Coleridge Taylor and the Planet Suite is probably his most popular and well known work. Intended to be played as a complete orchestral work, it is composed of 7 movements relating to the astrological characters of the Planets of the Solar System other than our own planet Earth. He developed an interest Astrology in 1913 whilst on holiday and wrote his first 3 movements in 1914 - Mars (The Bringer of War), Venus (The Bringer of Peace) and Jupiter (the Bringer of Jollity). Later, in 1921, Holst adapted the melody of Jupiter to fit the poem "I Vow to Thee My Country" and this came to be a national anthem symbolising the cost of human life during the First World War. Although the timing of this composition appears to coincide with WW1 (1914-1918), Holst insisted that The Planet Suite was written from his Astrological interest alone and not influenced by the impending war.