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Gustav Holst's Birthday

A Minute with Miles
Mary Noble Ours
SC Public Radio

Today is the birthday of the composer Gustav Holst, born in Gloucestershire, England on September 21, 1874.  Holst was remarkably prolific: he wrote eight operas, four ballets, dozens of choral works and songs, many large works for orchestra and for band, concertos, chamber music pieces, and works for solo piano. There’s no getting around the fact, though, that to today’s audiences, Holst is well known for just one of those many works, his orchestral suite called The Planets.

Now I suppose it’s much better to be remembered for one work than for nothing at all, and in fact the popularity of The Planets remains nothing short of astonishing. Holst also borrowed his own tune, from the “Jupiter” section of The Planets, to fashion a hymn, called “I Vow to Thee, My Country,” and that hymn has become beloved in its own right all over the world. Happy Birthday, Gustav Holst.

A Minute with Miles – a production of South Carolina Public Radio, made possible by the J.M. Smith Corporation.

Miles Hoffman is the founder and violist of the American Chamber Players, with whom he regularly tours the United States, and the Virginia I. Norman Distinguished Visiting Professor of Chamber Music at the Schwob School of Music, in Columbus, Georgia. He has appeared as viola soloist with orchestras across the country, and his solo performances on YouTube have received well over 700,000 views.