The Planets

Holst’s spectacular orchestral work starts with the alarming fury of ‘Mars’ and ends with the subtle colours of ‘Neptune’.

Recommended recording:
London Philharmonic Orchestra/Adrian Boult
EMI 627 8982

Hymn of Jesus

This setting for double choir and orchestra of a hymn supposedly sung by Christ and his disciples at the Last Supper is both ecstatic and other-worldly.

Recommended recording:
BBC Symphony Orchestra & Chorus/Adrian Boult
Decca 470 1912

Seven Robert Bridges Part-Songs

Holst wrote several works for his pupils, but few are more hauntingly beautiful than these settings of Robert Bridges poems for sopranos and strings.

Recommended recording:
Holst Singers & Orchestra/Hilary Davan Wetton
Helios CDH 55170

Egdon Heath

After the acclaim of The Planets, Holst was drawn to composing more austere works. Of those, this is his bleakest.

Recommended recording:
Royal Scottish National Orchestra/David Lloyd-Jones
Naxos 8.553696

The Wandering Scholar

Holst's sense of humour rarely featured in his music, but surfaces here in this sure-footed chamber opera concerning a young wife’s spring-time rendezvous with a priest.

Recommended recording:
Norma Burrowes, Michael Langdon, Robert Tear; English Opera Group/Steuart Bedford
EMI 968 9292


Freya ParrDigital Editor and Staff Writer, BBC Music Magazine

Freya Parr is BBC Music Magazine's Digital Editor and Staff Writer. She has also written for titles including the Guardian, Circus Journal, Frankie and Suitcase Magazine, and runs The Noiseletter, a fortnightly arts and culture publication. Freya's main areas of interest and research lie in 20th-century and contemporary music.