Brook Green Suite by Gustav Holst
Arranged by Robert Rainford for piccolo, opt. G treble flute, 4 C flutes, alto flute, bass flute, opt. contralto flute, and opt. contrabass flute.
Score and parts
The Brook Green Suite was written in 1933 during Holst’s stay in the hospital (where he was to die in May 1934). It was written for his pupils, the junior orchestra at St Paul’s Girls School; He wanted to write a piece in a contemporary, mature style that was easy enough for his pupils to perform; he felt they deserved better than simple orchestrations from keyboard originals or ‘watered down’ pieces. It was probably named after Brook Green because that was the location of his wedding to his wife, Isobel, in 1901. it could have also been named after the Brook because of it’s proximity to the school.
The “Prelude” is based on the descending C major scale; while the “Air” sounds as if it was based on English folk song, but most likely it was not. Holst had become so acquainted with folk song during his life that a lot of his melodies were very similar to them. The structure of the “Air” is reminiscent of the counterpoint of The Lyric Movement, full of enharmonic relations and somewhat austere. This is a trait of most of his later works. The “Dance” is based on a melody heard in a puppet show while he was on holiday in Sicily.
This arrangement has been crafted so that flute 1 has the hardest part and flute 4 the easiest. All parts contribute to the piece, with solos for everyone.