Holst Sheet Music

By | January 19, 2021

Holst Sheet Music and Biography

Black & White Photograph of Gustav Holst's head and shoulders
Gustav Holst~
21 Sept 1874-25 May 1934

Gustav Theodore Holst was an English composer and trombone player.

Holst sheet music featured on our site include the Christmas favorite In the Bleak Midwinter as well as movements from The Planets.

Life and Career

Gustav was born on 21st September 1874 in Cheltenham, England. He descended from a family of professional musicians over three generations. His father Adolph was a professional musician originally from Sweden who taught piano. His mother, Clara, was a talented singer, and pianist from England who studied under Adolph before marrying him.

Holst studied at the Royal College of Music in London and afterwards earned his living playing the trombone in various orchestras. He’d hoped to become a pianist but sadly suffered from neuritis (inflammation of his nerves in his right arm).

Gustav met his future wife Isobel when he was invited to conduct the Hammersmith Socialists Choir. They married in June 1901 and their only child, was born in 1907. Imogen Holst inherited her parents talent and went on to become a celebrated composer, arranger, conductor and teacher.

Between 1905 and 1907 Holst obtained two of his most important teaching positions becoming music master at St Paul’s Girls School and director of music at Morley College. He retained his position at St Paul’s until his death in 1934.

The Planets

Holst is best known for ‘The Planets’ a seven-movement orchestral suite. He became fascinated with astrology in 1913 after a holiday in Majorca with composers Arnold Bax and Balfour Gardiner. He wrote ‘The Planets’ between 1914 and 1916, each movement reflects a planet. Go to our Holst sheet music page to download arrangements of each movement.

Holst was a shy man and didn’t like the attention that the international success of ‘The Planets’ brought with it. However, his popularity was fairly short-lived enabling Holst to return to the quieter life of composing and teaching.

The Mars movement performed at the BBC Proms:

Holst sadly died of heart failure on 25th May 1934 at the age of 59, following an operation to treat an ulcer.

Holst Sheet Music Downloads and Further Reading

On music-scores.com we have a selection of Gustav Holst sheet music in PDF format for you to download.

Ian Lace has written an extensive biography about this composer. There is also more information on Wikipedia and Britannica.

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