Gustav Holst | Compositions, The Music of Holst

(1916) This have I done for my true love Op. 34 No.1

Holst wrote This have I done for my true love for the 1916 Whitsun Festival at Thaxted. His friend, Conrad Noel, had introduced him to some medieval Cornish carols, and upon reading them, Holst was drawn to set them to music. His experience in Sanskrit literature had led him to see the relationship between dance and religion as something beautiful. And his studies and arrangements of English folksong taught him how to get a musical idea across with utmost economy. The result of these two forces working together is a tune that fits so well with the text that many thought it was based on folksong, even though the tune was Holst's own. Holst is said to have acknowledged this piece as his best part-song.

An interesting side note is that Stravinsky later set this text as a part of his Cantata.