Welcome to Lunch with the Composers! If you’re not familiar with Lunch with the Composers, this is a weekly classical music feature on Frugal Fun for Boys. I started this series as part of our homeschooling. We listen to the music for the week each day during lunch, and the boys learn to recognize the pieces and the names of the composers.
This week, we’ll be listening to two movements from St. Paul’s Suite by English composer Gustav Holst (1874-1934). Holst is probably most well known for his orchestral suite “The Planets” – we listened to two movements from that work last year. He also composed operas, ballets, choral hymns, and songs. Holst was influenced by composers Grieg, Ravel, and Wagner, as well as by English folk tunes. Although he composed tunes that were used for Christian hymns (as well as a well-known tune for Christina Rosetti’s poem “In the Bleak Mid-Winter”), Holst was very influenced by Hinduism and Eastern mysticism.
St. Paul’s Suite is a piece written for string orchestra. Holst composed it for the St. Paul’s Girls School in London where he worked as music director from 1905 to 1934. I love the tunes in this piece, and the “texture” of sound that is accomplished through the use of strings only.
St. Paul’s Suite is written in four movements, and we’ll be listening to the first and last movements this week.
Enjoy the music!