Saturday, October 22, 2011

Second Suite in F Major

Gustav Holst (1874–1934)

The Second Suite in F was written in 1911 and is considered one of the cornerstones of the concert band literature. Composed for “Military Band” (which is the English designation for full band instrumentation as opposed to a British Brass Band), the four-movement suite presents a variety of English folk songs and other dance tunes. The first movement begins with a “Morris Dance” with roots from the Renaissance, followed by the folk song “Swansea Town,” and then “Claudy Banks”. The second movement is a slow, lyrical love song “I’ll Love my Love.” The third movement, “The Song of the Blacksmith,” is a clever rhythmic display that includes the blacksmith’s punctuating anvil, and the fourth movement is a country dance and folk song titled “The Dargason.” (Source: JRO)