One of the most grown-up review sites around

54,416 reviews
and more.. and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here



International mailing

Founder: Len Mullenger                                    Editor in Chief:John Quinn             

Some items
to consider

new MWI
Current reviews

old MWI
pre-2023 reviews

paid for

Acte Prealable Polish recordings

Forgotten Recordings
Forgotten Recordings
All Forgotten Records Reviews

Troubadisc Weinberg- TROCD01450

All Troubadisc reviews

FOGHORN Classics

Brahms String Quartets

All Foghorn Reviews

All HDTT reviews

Songs to Harp from
the Old and New World

all Nimbus reviews

all tudor reviews

Follow us on Twitter

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Contributing Editor
Ralph Moore
   David Barker
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger


Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical
All Naxos reviews

Chandos recordings
All Chandos reviews

Hyperion recordings
All Hyperion reviews

Foghorn recordings
All Foghorn reviews

Troubadisc recordings
All Troubadisc reviews

all cpo reviews

Divine Art recordings
Click to see New Releases
Get 10% off using code musicweb10
All Divine Art reviews

All APR reviews

Lyrita recordings
All Lyrita Reviews


Wyastone New Releases
Obtain 10% discount



Gustav Holst and India by Raymond Head. Paperback, 35 pp (A4), 9 illustrations, 10 music examples. Available at £12.50 plus postage (hard copy) or £15 (download) from Sky Dance Press, The Firs, 10 Worcester Rd, Chipping Norton OX7 5XX (

Experience Classicsonline
I once referred to ‘Holst in India’. This slip of the tongue has recently been matched by a Radio Times slip of the word processor: ‘Holst in Japan’. Although he visited America three times in the pre-jet age, he did not venture any further east than Turkey and Algeria where his only known collecting of folk tunes produced Beni Mora, a ‘brilliantly original oriental orchestral suite’ in Raymond Head’s accurate description. Although Holst never set foot in India his enquiring mind, inspired from an early age by his Theosophist stepmother Mary, led him to discover all he could about world religions, and his daughter Imogen traced the beginnings of his interest in Indian culture to a book by R W Frazer published in 1895. There followed study of Sanskrit - literature, rather than language at first, insists Head - with Mabel Bode at the London Institute of Oriental Languages. Immersion in the language itself ensued, not total but deep enough to enable him to produce his own music-friendly versions of Hindu literature, using R Griffiths’s translations as a starting point. The result was a series of works which were not merely fashionably ‘oriental’ and, allied to his increasing awareness of folk and Renaissance music and Purcell, formed the impetus he needed to develop his own original style with its new scales, new harmonies and new rhythms. As Head demonstrates, the ‘brilliant successes’ of The Planets and The Hymn of Jesus were made possible by the confidence he gained earlier in the ‘Indian’ works.
This book, culled and expanded from articles which the author contributed to Tempo in the 1980s, is the ideal summary for the student, commentator or presenter. He is well versed in the broader picture of east and west in the arts. He tells us that Holst asked Maud MacCarthy about ragas: she had been to India with Theosophist Annie Besant and become a leading western exponent of the performance of its music. It is true that he made no systematic use of them in his music, but there are suggestions of particular ragas and the accompaniments he devised for his songs are sometimes tambura-like. Head makes a thorough comparison of the original Rig Veda and other classical texts with Holst’s treatment of them, noting that he often omitted passages which would restrict their universal application – in one salient example, the chamber opera Savitri, superimposing his own interpretation to reflect the doctrine of maya (illusion). (Savitri is fast establishing itself in the affections of those who are prepared to extend their listening beyond The Planets, with recent performances in the English Music Festival, Kings Place, the Arcola Theatre and even the city of New York.) Head sensibly considers the different Rig Veda settings, solo and choral, not in order but taking each deity in turn, this enabling him to draw pertinent comparisons –eg the thematic connections between the three Indra settings. He makes a persuasive case for the long-awaited premiere of Sita, the opera which first bridged the gap between Holst’s older, Wagnerian, style and the new. Despite its length and complexity, it contains beautiful music (e.g. Sita’s hymn to the dawn). ‘There is every reason to believe that the opera would work well on the stage’. Any offers? The illustrations in this book are a delight in themselves. A second edition will no doubt iron out a number of proofreading lapses in due course, and I hope fervently that the author will re-issue in similar manner his articles on ‘Astrology and Modernism in The Planets’ - still often mistakenly regarded as an astronomical work - and ‘The Hymn of Jesus: Holst and Gnosticism’.
  Alan Gibbs
Holst and India – ideal for student, commentator or presenter.


































































Making a Donation to MusicWeb

Writing CD reviews for MWI

About MWI
Who we are, where we have come from and how we do it.

Site Map

How to find a review

How to find articles on MusicWeb
Listed in date order

Review Indexes
   By Label
      Select a label and all reviews are listed in Catalogue order
   By Masterwork
            Links from composer names (eg Sibelius) are to resource pages with links to the review indexes for the individual works as well as other resources.

Themed Review pages

Jazz reviews


      Composer surveys
      Unique to MusicWeb -
a comprehensive listing of all LP and CD recordings of given works
Prepared by Michael Herman

The Collector’s Guide to Gramophone Company Record Labels 1898 - 1925
Howard Friedman

Book Reviews

Complete Books
We have a number of out of print complete books on-line

With Composers, Conductors, Singers, Instumentalists and others
Includes those on the Seen and Heard site


Nostalgia CD reviews

Records Of The Year
Each reviewer is given the opportunity to select the best of the releases

Monthly Best Buys
Recordings of the Month and Bargains of the Month

Arthur Butterworth Writes

An occasional column

Phil Scowcroft's Garlands
British Light Music articles

Classical blogs
A listing of Classical Music Blogs external to MusicWeb International

Reviewers Logs
What they have been listening to for pleasure



Bulletin Board

Give your opinions or seek answers

Pat and present

Helpers invited!

How Did I Miss That?

Currently suspended but there are a lot there with sound clips

Composer Resources

British Composers

British Light Music Composers

Other composers

Film Music (Archive)
Film Music on the Web (Closed in December 2006)

Programme Notes
For concert organizers

External sites
British Music Society
The BBC Proms
Orchestra Sites
Recording Companies & Retailers
Online Music
Agents & Marketing
Other links
Web News sites etc

A pot-pourri of articles

MW Listening Room
MW Office

Advice to Windows Vista users  
Site History  
What they say about us
What we say about us!
Where to get help on the Internet
CD orders By Special Request
Graphics archive
Currency Converter
Web Ring
Translation Service

Rules for potential reviewers :-)
Do Not Go Here!
April Fools

Untitled Document

Reviews from previous months
Join the mailing list and receive a hyperlinked weekly update on the discs reviewed. details
We welcome feedback on our reviews. Please use the Bulletin Board
Please paste in the first line of your comments the URL of the review to which you refer.