The sort of hymn tunes that might have rolled through the playing-fields and church spires of parochial public schools in 1916 would still have been of the Barnby-Stainer variety, with their gently undulating melodies and perfumed chromaticisms. The new, bold style of hymn tune advocated by Vaughan Williams and Martin Shaw through "Songs of Praise", and that might be typified by RVW's own "For all the Saints" and Shaw's "Marching", and, indeed, by "I vow to thee my country", were coming in, but it would have been a with-it parish (or public school) that resounded to them in 1916. So Holst wasn't evoking any such thing.
As for pomposity, this is subjective and one man's pomp may be another man's grandeur. Two years on I forget which recording actually set this argument off, but I've never found anything but open-hearted joy in Boult's recordings at least as far as the 1966 one (I don't know the last). Strangely, the sanctimonious interpretations usually come from non-Brit conductors.
« Back to index | View thread »
Thank you for taking part in the MusicWeb International Forum.
Len Mullenger - Founder of MusicWeb