15 Jan 2012

Elegy ( In Memoriam William Morris)

In the autumn of 1895 Gustav met Ralph Vaughan Williams for the first time. It was the beginning of a lifelong friendship. It was also the beginning of the their habit of playing their compositions to each other while they were still working on them. Sometimes they would walk along Chiswick Mall or by the river with other college friends while discussing the poetry of Walt Whitman or the socialist works of William Morris.
Holst joined the Hammersmith Socialist Club and listened to Bernard Shaw's lectures. He conducted the Hammersmith Socialist Choir at William Morris' house in Hammersmith Mall. And he fell in love with his youngest soprano. Her name was Isobel Harrison. She was a pretty blue-eyed blonde who persuaded him to eat properly, shave his beard, and improve hid sense of dress.

Fascinating to learn the composer Holst dedicated a piece of music from 'The Cotswolds' to the great ecosocialist leader William Morris.


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