Gustav Holst | Compositions, The Music of Holst

(1903) Indra Op. 13

Holst completed Indra while on holiday with his wife in Berlin. Holst music is supposed to portray Indra, the Hindu god of rain and storm, in a struggle with a dragon, Vrita, who causes a massive drought. In the end, Indra overcomes Vrita and the rain begins to fall.

Holst's college friend, Fritz Hart, wrote that the piece was tried through with students from the Royal College of Music, conducted by Hubert Parry, but it was never publicly performed. Hart remarked that sarcastic comments made by Parry during the rehearsal upset Holst.

Despite Parry's disapproval, the piece is remarkably vibrant with rich colors, although it must be noted that the piece does not have any Indian influence outside of it being based on Sanskrit literature.