Music, #234


  234.  Gustav Holst (1874-1934).  Egdon Heath. Autograph manuscript, August, 1927. -- Gabe M. Wiener Music & Arts Library, Deposit to RBML (See fuller description below.)
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The music of "Egdon Heath," inspired by Thomas Hardy's The Return of the Native, is elusive and unpredictable. Its three main elements are set out at the beginning-a pulseless wandering melody, first for double basses and then all the strings, a sad brass processional and restless music for strings and oboe. All three intertwine and transmute, eventually coming to rest with music of desolation, out of which emerges a ghostly dance, the strangest moment in a strange work. After this comes a resolution of sorts, and the ending, though hardly conclusive, gives the impression of an immense journey achieved, even though "Egdon Heath" lasts no more than 12 minutes.