This is another of the excellent collections of more rarely heard orchestral compositions by Gustav Holst released on LP in 1982 by Lyrita. They are played by the London Philharmonic Orchestra with two of the eight tracks by the London Symphony Orchestra. Most of the pieces have been edited into performing editions for full orchestra by Imogen Holst and Colin Matthews. Several pieces I had never heard before. They comprise `A Winter Idyll', the Elegy movement from `The Cotswold Symphony', the symphonic poem `Indra', `A Song of the Night' for violin and orchestra (a tiny 10 min `concerto' from 1905), an Interlude from `Sita', the 1911 `Invocation' for cello and orchestra (another 10 min `concerto'), music from the ballet `The Lure', and finally Dances from `The Morning of the Year'. Overall, a refreshing and quite delightful selection.
This CD opens with 'A Winter Idyll' - this is an early piece (1897) and I think it is one of the first pieces to sound truly Holstian: in 1897 Holst found his voice. The Elegy (In Memoriam William Morris) is taken from the Cotswold Symphony. It is the best movement of the symphony and it is helpful to listen to it in isolation. Holst knew Morris, and the Elegy conveys a deep sense of loss. 'Indra' is one of Holst's 'Hindu' works. Inspired by his step-mother's Theosophical bent Holst was a true multi-culturalist. He even learnt Sanskrit so he could translate works in order to write his own librettos. 'Sita' - never saw the light of day and Holst failed to win the Ricordi Prize in 1907 for it. It still has not received a full performance. The interlude included here is a poignant reminder of that. Much of the CD bears the hand of his talented daughter Imogen - who re-orchestrated some of the pieces. It is none the worst for that. A wonderful, collection of works. Rather melancholy in places, but as we all know the sadder the music the more it uplifts.