Holst: Cotswolds Symphony; Ballet Music from The Perfect Fool; A Hampshire Suite; Walt Whitman Overture

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COMPOSERS: Holst
LABELS: Classico
WORKS: Cotswolds Symphony; Ballet Music from The Perfect Fool; A Hampshire Suite; Walt Whitman Overture
PERFORMER: Munich SO/Douglas Bostock
CATALOGUE NO: CLASSCD 284
This important new release includes three première recordings. Only the deeply-felt Elegy (In Memoriam William Morris), the focus of Holst’s Cotswolds Symphony, was previously available. Holst’s daughter, Imogen, had suppressed performances of this immature early work (1899-1900). The other three movements, influenced by Brahms and Dvorak, are light-hearted and tuneful, evoking harvest thanks-givings and country fairs etc. Bostock attacks and propels this strongly rhythmic music forward with gusto, whilst his Elegy, commemorating not only Morris but also, perhaps, the Cotswold casualties of the Boer War, has great passion and conviction. Holst’s Walt Whitman Overture (1899) is another sunny, exuberant celebration influenced by Mendelssohn but there is also something of Elgar’s nobilmente mood. A Hampshire Suite is Gordon Jacob’s fine orchestration of Holst’s Suite in F for military band (1911). Holst later arranged the last movement as ‘The Dargason’ finale of his St Paul’s Suite. This melodic Hampshire Suite is firmly based on folk song and is vigorous and very appealing – the March in particular. Bostock delivers a cracking Perfect Fool and an energetic, yet warmly affectionate Scherzo, evoking the Thames and Saturday-night Hammersmith crowds, from the unfinished symphony Holst was working on when he died in 1934. An excellent production. Ian Lace

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