Gustav Holst | Compositions, The Music of Holst

(1911) Suite No.2 in F Op. 28 No.2

- March- Song without words: I'll love my love- Song of the Blacksmith- Fantasia on the Dargason

This piece is published by Boosey and Hawkes.

It was 1911 when Holst decided to write another military band suite based on English folk songs. In fact, in this piece, he uses seven Hampshire songs, ranging from "Greensleeves" to "I'll Love My Love."

He starts the Suite No.2 in F off with a march, where the baritone melody is the folk song, "Swansea Town." In the second movement, the main song is "I'll Love My Love." The third movement actually gives us a glimpse of a later Holst, with the use of open fourths and fifths as a sparse accompaniment to "The Song of the Blacksmith." But it is in the last movement where Holst shows how easy it had become for him to combine melodies seemlessly. He uses a catchy six eight tune that is woven throughout all the instruments, including a duet between the piccolo and tuba, and combines it with the familiar "Greensleeves." It is this wistful ending that is just right for the suite. In fact, he liked it so much that he used the finale as the conclusion to his St. Paul's Suite for strings.