Holst: Orchestral Works


Ulster Orchestra/JoAnn Falletta Naxos 8.572914 ***

The first four of these rarely heard works, A Winter Idyll (1897), the Walt Whitman Overture (1899), the Cotswolds Symphony (1899-90) and Indra (1903), show that English composer Gustav Holst’s orchestral technique was already highly developed in his 20s, well before he developed the individuality of his most famous work, The Planets.

In these sturdy performances by the Ulster Orchestra under its principal conductor, JoAnn Falletta, the symphony isn’t as obviously folksy as you might expect, and the strongest piece is Indra, a 15-minute Rig Veda- inspired symphonic poem about the Hindu god of rain and storm. The orientally exotic Japanese Suite was written for the dancer and choreographer Michio Ito, who had worked with Yeats on At the Hawk’s Well. Its composition in 1915 interrupted work on The Planets, and fans will have fun spotting moments of connection between the two. url.ie/af6o