Mars (tr Pay and Smith)

From Wind Repertory Project
Gustav Holst

Gustav Holst (trans. L. Pay and George Smith)

Subtitle: The Bringer of War

General Info

Year: 1916 / 1924
Duration: c. 7:15
Difficulty: V (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Boosey & Hawkes
Cost: Score and Parts (print) - £75.00   |   Score Only (print) - £14.50


Condensed Score
D-flat Piccolo and Flute
Flute I-II
Oboe I-II
Bassoon I-II
E-flat Soprano Clarinet
B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-II-III
E-flat Alto Clarinet
B-flat Bass Clarinet
E-flat Alto Saxophone I-II
B-flat Tenor Saxophone
E-flat Baritone Saxophone
B-flat Bass Saxophone
Cornets Solo-I-II
B-flat Trumpet I-II
Horn in F I-II-III-IV
Trombone I-II-III
String Bass
Drums, including:

  • Bass Drum
  • Gong
  • Snare Drum
  • Suspended Cymbal


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

Mars – The Bringer of War was complete in the composer's mind in the summer of 1914, when the First World War was but an emerging threat. The work is dominated by a relentless hammering out of a 5/4 rhythm which suggests the relentless destruction of war. The opposition of harmony and rhythm is skillfully used to produce a startling aural and emotional effect. The movement was transcribed for band by the composer is 1924.

- Program Note from Program Notes for Band

The Mars and Jupiter movements of Holst's orchestral work were arranged for band by two students, L. Pay and George Smith, for a concert at Kneller Hall on October 3, 1924. (Kneller Hall, in the London borough of Richmond on Thames, houses the Royal Military School of Music, training musicians for the British Army.) It is possible, though not definitively known, that Holst himself had an active role in proofing the manuscripts.

- Program Note from From Kneller Hall to Hammersmith


State Ratings

  • Alabama: Class AA
  • Arkansas: V
  • Florida: VI
  • Georgia: V
  • Iowa: V
  • Kansas: VI
  • Louisiana: V
  • Maryland: VI
  • Mississippi: VI-A
  • New York: Concert Band VI
  • North Carolina: VI
  • Oklahoma: V-A
  • South Carolina: VI
  • Texas: V. Complete
  • Virginia: V


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

  • Oklahoma City University (Okla.) Wind Philharmonic (Logan Edwards, conductor) - 22 February 2024
  • Metropolitan Winds of Toronto (Ont., Can.) (Kevin Vuong, conductor) - 25 November 2023
  • U.S. Military Academy (West Point, N.Y.) Band (Thomas Gamboa, conductor) - 25 March 2023
  • James Madison University (Harrisonburg, Va.) Wind Symphony (Stephen Bolstad, conductor) - 25 February 2023
  • San Luis Obispo (Calif.) Wind Orchestra (Jennifer Martin, conductor) – 19 March 2022
  • United States Army Field Band (Ft. Meade, Md.) (Jim R. Keene, conductor) - 4 March 2022 (Denton, Tx.)
  • Grove City (Penn.) College Wind Ensemble (Andrew S. Erb, conductor) - 25 March 2021
  • University of Texas Arlington Wind Symphony (Douglas Stotter, conductor) - 8 December 2020
  • Idaho State University (Pocatello) Wind Ensemble (Patrick Brooks, conductor) – 13 November 2019
  • Triangle Wind Ensemble (Cary, N.C.) (Evan Feldman, conductor) – 26 May 2019
  • Peninsula Symphonic Band (Palo Alto, Calif.) (Ted Henderson, conductor) – 19 May 2019
  • University of South Florida (Tampa) Symphonic Band (John Carmichael, conductor) – 19 February 2019
  • Lone Star Wind Orchestra (Dallas, Tx.) (Eugene Migliaro Corporon, conductor) – 18 November 2018
  • Yale University (New Haven, Conn.) Concert Band (Thomas Duffy, conductor) – 13 April 2018
  • Eastern Shore Wind Ensemble (Chestertown, Md.) (Keith A. Wharton) – 18 March 2018
  • University of Minnesota (Minneapolis) North Star Campus Band (J. Nick Smith, conductor) – 1 March 2018
  • San Jose (Calif.) Wind Symphony (Edward C. Harris, conductor) – 5 March 2017
  • Illinois State University (Normal) Symphonic Winds (Gavin Smith, conductor) – 16 November 2016
  • Contra Costa Wind Symphony (Walnut Creek, Calif.) (Brad Hogarth, conductor) – 6 November 2016
  • Los Alamos (N.M.) Community Winds (Ted Vives, conductor) – 21 May 2016
  • University of Southern California (Los Angeles) Trojan Marching Band (Arthur C. Bartner, conductor) – 2011
  • Northshore Concert Band (Barrington, Ill.) (John P. Lynch, conductor) – 22 December 2001 (2001 Midwest Clinic)

Works for Winds by This Composer

Adaptable Music

All Wind Music


  • Gibbs, Alan. "How did Holst conduct 'The Planets.'" Tempo, vol. 66, no. 261, July 2012, pp. 51-58.
  • Holst, G.; Smith, G. [1924]. "Mars." <Arr. for military band by G. Smith. Conductor [and parts]> [score]. Boosey & Hawkes: London.
  • Mitchell, Jon C. From Kneller Hall to Hammersmith: The Band Works of Gustav Holst. Tutzing: H. Schneider, 1990, pg. 91-92. Print.
  • The Planets. Wikipedia. Accessed 6 August 2023
  • Smith, Norman E. Program Notes for Band. Chicago: GIA Publications, 2002, pp. 297.