Wednesday, 18 September 2019

Celebrating the centenary of The Planet's on Holst's piano

Gustav Holst's Broadwood piano today
Gustav Holst's Broadwood piano today
Whilst Gustav Holst worked at St Paul's Girls School, which he did from 1905 until his death, he did much of his composing on the Broadwood grand piano in his teaching studio. It was this instrument on which he composed The Planets, and on which two pianists at the school Nora Day and Vally Lasker played excerpts of the work to him. The piano was ordered from Broadwoods in 1913, Number 5 Drawing Room model, of length 7’ 6’’ (229cm), and was clearly highly regarded at the school. Eventually it ended up retired, in private ownership and cherished but its history forgotten. In 2016, during a chance search of the Broadwood archives, the piano Number 51868 was identified.

To celebrate the centenary of the first public performance of The Planets, Broadwoods is sponsoring a series of recitals the centrepiece of which is a performance of the piano duet version of The Planets on Holst's re-discovered piano at St Paul's Girls' School on Saturday 21 September 2019 (Holst's birthday), performed by pianists John and Fiona York who will be joined by Heidi Pegler (soprano) and the Paulina Voices. Tickets from EventBrite.

Gustav Holst's Broadwood piano in the music studio at St Paul's Girls' School
Gustav Holst's Broadwood piano in the music studio at St Paul's Girls' School
Additional performances will take place at Finchcocks piano school, Kent (28/9/2019) and the Holst Birthplace Museum in Cheltenham (13/10/2019).

Update: A correspondent has reported back on what was an enjoyable concert: 'The piano was a beauty with a clear, bright tone and the couple playing the four-hand arrangement (by Holst) played as if one person'

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