Gustav Holst | Compositions, The Music of Holst

(1899-1900) Symphony in F, The Cotswolds Op. 8

- Allegro con brio- Elegy (In Memoriam William Morris)- Scherzo- Finale

Holst completed the Cotswold Symphony in 1900 while touring as a trombonist with the Carl Rosa opera company. The second movement of the work, an elegy, was written in honor of William Morris, the leader of the Hammersmith Socialist Club, who died in 1896.

The symphony was the first orchestra piece of his that he heard performed. The style of the piece is somewhat derivative of the time. In fact, The Time music critic found the first movement "very weak and lacking in originality." However, the "Elegy" does have amazing harmonic and dramatic moments. Imogen Holst remarked that Holst was beginning to take more chances in his music and this proved to be the most ambitious work Holst had undertaken at the time.