Gustav Holst’s youthful enthusiasm for Wagner is reflected in his ebullient Walt Whitman overture written in 1899. Shortly afterwards he composed the Cotswolds Symphony which embraces hints of contemporary British folk music but is dominated by the slow movement, a profound elegy for the utopian socialist William Morris. Though completed at college, A Winter Idyll shows real orchestral assurance. Indra is an accomplished tone poem revealing Holst’s interest in the legends of India, whilst the glittering and evocative Japanese Suite was written in response to a request from a Japanese dancer appearing in London.
Interest in Holst’s music continues to grow, and in particular in more outof- the-way material. British music specialists are particularly drawn to him. This disc offers youthful and mid-period Holst.
The Ulster Orchestra is one of Northern Ireland’s cultural cornerstones and since its foundation in 1966 has become one of the major symphony orchestras in the United Kingdom and Ireland. JoAnn Falletta was appointed Principal Conductor in May 2011, the orchestra’s twelfth but first female and first American to be appointed to the post.