Echoes from Essex
Episode 9: Another Holst in Thaxted
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Thaxted Festival has a wonderful reputation for classical music in Essex and is normally associated with Gustav Holst whose 1916 Whitsun Festival there laid the foundations for the modern events. But there was another Holst who has many important connections with the development of the festival we know today. Imogen Holst forged a significant career in music as a composer with an array of skills and interests which grew in many ways through her father’s, and her own attachment to Thaxted.
We explore her life and work with Judith Ratcliffe, Archivist at Britten Pears Arts in Aldeburgh, and Peter Donovan, Chairman of Thaxted Festival. We are grateful also to Thaxted researcher Michael Goatcher whose work has greatly informed this podcast.
You will hear three pieces by I. Holst, all of which are for unaccompanied voices, and, we believe, are recorded for the first time, hot off the press at evt headquarters in London from recordings made by the individual singers during lockdown: Frances M Lynch, Alice Privett (Sopranos); Simone Ibbett-Brown, Margaret Cameron (Mezzos); David Sheppard (Countertenor); Julian Stocker (Tenor); Gwion Thomas (Baritone)
“A Sweet Country Life” (1937) an arrangement of a Gloucestershire folk song collected by Cecil Sharp
“Round” (1926) on a poem by Cheng Hao (translated from the Chinese) for equal voices
“Set me as a seal upon thine heart” (1946) text from Song of Songs 8:6&7 one of the“Four Canons for Winsome”
We are grateful to the Holst Foundation for their permission to record these works and to Britten Pears Arts for providing the unpublished scores.
Imogen Holst with Sir Adrian Boult at the Town House in Thaxted for the unveiling of a plaque to her father Gustav on July 12th 1963. Photo by local resident John Bull provided by Michael Goatcher and Thaxted Festival.
The series presenter is Frances M Lynch, Artistic Director of electric voice theatre. Part of electric voice theatre’s Essex 2020 Minerva Scientifica project “Echoes from Essex” in collaboration with Chelmsford Civic Theatre.
“ECHOES FROM ESSEX”
May 30th – September 20th 2020
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