2nd Suite for Military Band dedicated to bandmaster James Causley Windram (1886-1944) was composed in 1911 and was Holst’s second composition for Concert Band.
Gustav Holst, composer, pianist and trombonist, was born on
September 21, 1874 in Cheltenham, England and died on may 25, 1934 in
London, England. He studied at the Royal College of Music, where he met fellow student
Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872-1958), who remained a lifelong friend.
Holst was employed as a trombonist with the Cara Rosa Opera Company and
the Scottish Symphony (1898 - 1901) before “retiring” to become a full
time composer, supplementing his income by teaching at several locations
including St. Paul’s Girls School in Hammersmith, from 1905 until his
Although his most famous work is The Planets, Op. 32 (1914-6), Holst composed a wide variety of works: more than 10 operas - 4 published: Savitri (Op. 25, 1908), The Perfect Fool (Op. 39, 1918-22), At The Boar’s Head (Op. 42, 1924) and The Wandering Scholar (Op. 50, 1929-30); several works for Chorus and Orchestra, including Hymn To Jesus (Op. 37, 1917) and Choral Symphony (Op. 41, 1923-4); many Orchestral works, including A Somerset Rhapsody (Op. 21, No. 2, 1906-7), St. Paul’s Suite (Op. 29, No. 2, 1912-3), Egdon Heath (Op. 47, 1927), Double Violin Concerto (Op. 49, 1929) and Brook Green Suite (1933); a very large number of Choral works; and, of course, works for Band, including 1st Suite in E Flat for Military Band (Op. 28, No. 1, 1909), 2nd Suite in F Minor for Military Band (Op. 28, No. 2, 1911), A Mooreside Suite (for brass band, 1928) and Hammersmith (Op. 52, for military band, 1930).
To distinguish the 2nd Suite from a Brass band, the
designation Military band was used (i.e., in addition to brass
instruments, woodwind and percussion instruments were employed) - what
would today be referred to as a Concert Band or Symphonic Band.
In 1909, when the 1st Suite in E Flat (Op. 28, No. 1) was composed, there was no standard instrumentation for a Concert Band,
so Holst scored the work for 19 instruments with 17 additional “ad
lib.” parts (meaning, the piece could be performed without them) but
even the original 19 included some instruments which are now obsolete
(Db Flute & Piccolo and Bombardons - an early type of tuba).
The 2nd Suite in F Minor employs seven traditional tunes in its four movements:
1. March, after a five note motif, contrasting high and low instruments, begins with Glorisgears, a traditional Moris Dance tune (3-45), followed by Swansea Town (46-110); the Trio presents a change in tonality (from Concert F to Bb), modality (from major to minor) and meter (from 2/2 to 6/8) ) with Claudy Banks (111-159) then the standard Da Capo.
2. Song Without Words uses I’ll Love My Love in F minor - Dorian, although Holst uses the traditional key signature of four flats for F minor (rather than three for F minor Dorian).
3. Song Of The Blacksmith uses the folk song A Blacksmith Courted Me, constantly changing meter from 4/4 to 3/4. The scoring of the Brass throughout (parallel fourths, etc.) hints at techniques which Holst employs in later works such as The Planets. The percussion part also calls for an Anvil (undoubtedly popular with percussionists as an easy item to carry around).
4. Fantasia on the ”Dargason” uses two tunes from Playford’s Dancing Master (1651): Dargason (an eight bar tune in 6/8, also known as Sedony, Sedany or Welsh Sedony) and Greensleeves (in 3/4). Holst used this movement the following year in his St. Paul’s Suite (for String Orchestra).
In this arrangement as a Sonata for Alto Sax and Piano,
as much as possible of the Solo Alto Sax band part has been retained and
the part has been marked to indicate the original source (Woodwinds,
Brass, etc.). This makes the Sonata ideal for any saxophonist who is studying or performing the 2nd Suite, to better play, understand and, in general, enjoy the wonderful music of this outstanding piece!
12 Audio Tracks (35:35):
Concert Band with Solo Part
1. - March (2 bar count in)
2. - Song Without Words
3. - Blacksmith
4. - Fantasia (2 bar count in)
Concert Band Only (No Solo Part)
5. - March (2 bar count in)
6. - Song Without Words
7. - Blacksmith
8. - Fantasia (2 bar count in)
Solo & Piano (Solo - full left, Piano - full right)
9. - March (2 bar count in)
10. - Song Without Words
11. - Blacksmith
12. - Fantasia (2 bar count in)
10 smp files:
versions of each for Band and Solo/Piano:
1st Movement, 2nd Movement, 3rd Movement, 4th Movement & Complete (All 4 movements)
*please note that an active SmartMusic subscription is needed to play smp files
This deluxe edition - $19.95 - includes:
Solo Alto Sax part - 9”X12” - 12 pages
Piano Part - 9”X12” - 20 pages
Audio CD (with SmartMusic smp Files)