Holst Hymn, A

From Wind Repertory Project
Gustav Holst

Gustav Holst (arr. Robert W. Smith)

Subtitle: I Vow to Thee, My Country

General Info

Year: 1921 / 2022
Duration: c. 3:20
Difficulty: II (see Ratings for explanation)
Original Medium: Hymn
Publisher: C.L. Barnhouse
Cost: Score and Parts (print) - $50.00   |   Score Only (print) - $7.00


Full Score
B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-II
B-flat Bass Clarinet
E-flat Alto Saxophone
B-flat Tenor Saxophone
E-flat Baritone Saxophone
B-flat Trumpet I-II
Horn in F
Piano/Keyboard (optional)
Percussion I-II-III, including:

  • Bass Drum
  • Bells
  • Snare Drum
  • Suspended Cymbal
  • Triangle
  • Vibraphone
  • Wind Chimes


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

This timeless hymn by Gustav Holst was originally written as Jupiter in a movement of The Planets. He later used the beautiful melody as source material as he set the poetry of Sir Cecil Spring Rice to music. The hymn is now a beloved British standard widely known as I Vow to Thee, My Country. Melodically and harmonically rich, this stunning arrangement for band is appropriate for concert, festival and ceremonial programming.

- Program Note from publisher

I Vow to Thee, My Country is a British hymn (patriotic song), created in 1921, when a poem by Sir Cecil Spring Rice was set to music by Gustav Holst.

The origin of the hymn's text is a poem by diplomat Sir Cecil Spring Rice, which he wrote in 1908 or 1912, entitled Urbs Dei ("The City of God") or The Two Fatherlands. The poem described how a Christian owes his loyalties to both his homeland and the heavenly kingdom.

In 1921, Gustav Holst adapted the music from a section of Jupiter from his suite The Planets to create a setting for the poem. At the request of the publisher Curwen, Holst made a version as a unison song with orchestra (Curwen also published Sir Hubert Perry's unison song with orchestra, "Jerusalem"). This was probably first performed in 1921 and became a common element at Armistice memorial ceremonies, especially after it was published as a hymn in 1926. Holst in 1926 harmonised the tune to make it usable as a hymn, which was included in the hymnal Songs of Praise. In that version the lyrics were unchanged, but the tune was then called Thaxted (named after the village where Holst lived for many years). The editor of the new (1926) edition of Songs of Praise was Holst's close friend Ralph Vaughan Williams, which may have provided the stimulus for Holst's co-operation in producing the hymn.

Holst's daughter Imogen recorded that at "the time when he was asked to set these words to music, Holst was so over-worked and over-weary that he felt relieved to discover they 'fitted' the tune from Jupiter".

- Program Note from Wikipedia


State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

  • Gottschalk Music Center Concert Band (Modesto, Calif.) (Matthew Cover, conductor) - 10 June 2023

Works for Winds by This Composer

Adaptable Music

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