Vous êtes sur la page 1sur 2

GUSTAV HOLST

THE PLANETS:
Mars,
Bringer of War
Gustav Holst was born in England in
1874. His father was Swedish, and all
his family were musicians. As a child,
he learned to play the piano, the organ,
and the trombone. Gustav Holst studied
music composition at the Royal College
of Music in London and later taught
there. He was also a professional
trombonist. When he was a young man,
he travelled in the East, where he
developed his interest in mythology,
mysticism, and Hinduism.
In 1904, he began teaching at St. Paul’s
Girls’ School in London. Because he
was busy teaching, it took him 2 years
to write The Planets, which he
completed in 1916. He was a great
orchestrator, and wrote many pieces for
5 facts about Holst! orchestra, and also for choir, a few operas, and even some ballets.
Holst also composed music for his school students to perform.
He won a scholarship to the
Royal College of Music, The Planets is a Symphonic Suite in seven movements: Mars, Bringer
London. of War; Venus, Bringer of Peace; Mercury, the Winged Messenger;
Holst wanted to be a pianist, Jupiter, Bringer of Jollity; Saturn, Bringer of Old Age; Uranus, the
but he a nerve condition that Magician; Neptune, the Mystic.
affected his piano playing, so
he gave up and played the Holst’s music is well known for its unconventional use of meter and
trombone instead. haunting melodies, which are especially present in The Planets, and he
chose to base the “musical pictures” of this symphony on the
Holst was very interested in
astrological nature of the planets. The Planets has become a standard
old English folk music, and
orchestral showpiece, and is famous for the evil-sounding rhythm of the
often uses traditional tunes in
“Mars” movement.
his compositions.
Holst was a music teacher at “Mars” is a mechanized war machine, brutally
St Paul's Girls School in crushing everything in its wake. The relentless 5-4
London, and composed rhythm ('da-da-da da da da-da da') and ruthless
during the holidays. brass sounds create the atmosphere of evil. In
When Holst wrote The contrast, “Jupiter” is a bustling fairground, full of
Planets, Pluto had not yet good spirits and bouncy folk tunes. At the private
been discovered. Pluto was premiere in 1916, the cleaning ladies suddenly put
discovered in 1930 – over ten down their buckets and mops and began dancing to
years later. the string dance in Jupiter!
Questions to answer!
1. What nationality was Holst? ….................................................................................................
…........................................................................................................................................................
2. What instrument did Holst play? …..................................................................................
…........................................................................................................................................................
3. Where did Holst become a teacher? …..............................................................................
…........................................................................................................................................................
4. What types of music did Holst write? ….............................................................................
…........................................................................................................................................................
5. When did Holst write “The Planets”? ….........................................................................
…........................................................................................................................................................
6. How many movements make up “The Planets”? …..............................................................
…........................................................................................................................................................
7. What is a MOVEMENT? ….................................................................................................
…........................................................................................................................................................
8. Which seven planets are described in this piece? …..................….................................................
....................................…...............................................................................................................
9. Why did Holst not write a piece of music to describe the planet Pluto? ….......................................
…........................................................................................................................................................
10. How does Holst give the impression of evil and war in his “Mars” movement?…......................
..............................................................................................................................................................

Some other great music to explore:


Holst, St Paul's Suite Benjamin Britten, John Williams, Star Wars Suite
Young Person's Guide to the
The St. Paul's Suite for the school This is music composed for the
Orchestra
orchestra is the first composition film, then adapted as a stand-alone
he wrote after becoming Head of this is a set of musical variations composition. There are many
Music at St Paul's School. It was based on a theme by the Old references to Holst's The Planets,
originally written for strings, then English composer, Thomas Tallis. especially the Imperial March.
Holst added wind parts to include Each instrument or section of the
an entire orchestra if necessary. orchestra is introduced in turn,
There are four movements, all then all come together in a
using folk song motifs, including magnificent and exciting fugue.
the famous melody “Greensleeves”
in the last movement.