We are pleased to hear from our friends at the Holst Birthplace Museum in Cheltenham, that the museum is open to visitors. To find out more – and how to book your visit – take a look at the museum website.
Gustav Holst (1874-1934) travelled to Greece in September 1918 – having changed his name from von Holst! – and stayed until June 1919. Disappointed at having been rejected for military service, he worked for the YMCA as their musical organiser in the Near East, based in Salonika.
That Holst’s efforts were appreciated can be seen in this account in The Mosquito (September 1929):
It is not out of place to remind our readers (many of whom must have been present) of the brilliant concert of music by British composers given by the 43rd General Hospital in the theatre of the 52nd general Hospital, Salonika, on Monday February 24, 1919. Sergt WC Mann, RA, at this memorable concert sang Villiers Stanford’s “Sea Songs”, accompanied by a chorus of sixty nurses and officers trained by Capt. Vowles. The orchestra of the Artillery Training School was under the direction of Gustav Holst, and enthusiasm and interest were so great that Generals and red caps sat in the orchestra, on the ground, in the dressing rooms and in any odd corner, five men and one dog sitting on the double bass case. The only singers were Sergt Mann and Gunner Guest; Mr Holst and the orchestra providing the rest of the entertainment.