Moorside Suite, A

From Wind Repertory Project
Gustav Holst

Gustav Holst (arr. Denis Wright)

General Info

Year: 1928 / 1983
Duration: c. 14:10
Difficulty: V (see Ratings for explanation)
Original Medium: Brass Band
Publisher: R. Smith & Company
Cost: Score and Parts - $125.00   |   Score Only - $27.00


1. Scherzo - Allegro - 3:10
2. Nocturne - Adagio - 6:05
3. March - Allegro - 4:25


Full Score
C Piccolo
Flute 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 Cornet I-II-III
B-flat Trumpet I-II
Horn in F I-II-III-IV
Trombone I-II-III
String Bass
Percussion I-II, including:

  • Bass Drum
  • Bells
  • Chimes
  • Crash Cymbals
  • Snare Drum
  • Triangle


  • B-flat Cornet I, Mvt. I (Scherzo), m.1: Add 6/8 meter signature
  • Tuba, Mvt. I (Scherzo), m.41: Repeat sign missing
  • Percussion, Mvt. III (March), m.35, beat 2: Add "Triangle" to clarify the instrument in the following entrance
  • Mallet Percussion, Mvt. I (Scherzo), m.60: Add forward repeat sign

Program Notes

A Moorside Suite is a masterpiece of Holst's maturity. Written in 1928, six years before his death, it achieves a synthesis of his creative talent as a composer with the strong folk-song influences of 20 years earlier. The title of the work alludes to a country setting but does not describe an exact location, and this is mirrored in the musical material. The folk-song influence is apparent but not overt.

The work was originally for brass band, commissioned for the National Brass Band Championships held at the Crystal Palace, London, England. Denis Wright was a musical scholar, and the transcription was carried out either during Holst's lifetime or shortly after his death in 1934. The score was not published until 1983, and has been re-edited by Geoffrey Brand. Interestingly, Holst himself always intended the work to be transcribed for 'Military Band' and a first movement and some bars of the second movement exist in manuscript in the British Library.

The opening Scherzo belies the serious nature of the work. It is a light, airy 6/8 in which the initial statement, with its all-important leap of a fifth, is first heard on clarinet and alto saxophone. This interval of a fifth is distilled, as if to draw our attention to it, before a fortissimo eight bars in which the opening theme is repeated -- the only fortissimo passage in the whole of the first movement. Holst achieves a 'folky,' almost modal, feel in the melody by allowing the 6th of the scale to remain natural.

Whereas the first movement has a sylph-like delicacy, the second is at rest. Tranquil, especially in the breadth of the chorale, its simple key structure distills the tonal tension inherent in the tonic/dominant polarity. The oboe opening (again delineating the rising fifth of the first movement) is in F minor: a short cornet echo leads to C major for the first statement of the chorale. This leads back to F minor and a subtle development of the opening followed by the chorale again, this time in F minor and now allowed to build to a fortissimo climax before the movement fragments around the falling 6th of the opening.

The peace is shattered by a triumphant march. We are in B-flat minor again, and this movement is built on thematic contrasts: firstly the 'pesante' theme, then a hammered fanfare, followed by a playful leggiero tune. Like the scherzo, this march has a trio, the melody of which bears a definite resemblance to the chorale of the second movement. Most certainly this linking device was subconscious on Holst's part, but with the predominant use of the interval of a fifth, it helps to explain the feeling that the suite is thematically tightly knit.

- Program Note from publisher


State Ratings

  • Alabama: Class AA
  • Arkansas: IV
  • Florida: V
  • Iowa: IV
  • Kansas: V
  • Louisiana: V
  • Texas: V. Complete
  • Virginia: V


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

  • University of North Texas (Denton) Wind Ensemble (Amy Woody, conductor) – 28 September 2023
  • California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, Wind Ensemble (Christopher J. Woodruff, conductor) – 5 March 2023
  • University of Toronto (Ont., Can.) Wind Ensemble (Daniel Bartholomew-Poyser, conductor) - 2 April 2022
  • University of Texas at Arlington Wind Symphony (Douglas Stotter, conductor) - 14 March 2021
  • California State University Bakersfield Concert Band (Leo Sakamoto, conductor) – 2 December 2019
  • Keene (N.H.) State College Concert Band (John T. Hart Jr., conductor) - 21 November 2019
  • University of Kentucky (Lexington) Concert Band (Michael Hudson, conductor) - 17 November 2020
  • Sacramento (Calif.) State University Symphonic Wind Ensemble (Matthew Morse, conductor) – 9 October 2019
  • Baylor University (Waco, Texas) Symphonic Band (Isaiah Odajima, conductor) – 4 March 2019
  • West Virginia University (Morgantown) Symphonic Band (Jay Drury, conductor) – 13 November 2018
  • Ouachita Baptist University (Arkadelphia, Ark.) Wind Ensemble (Craig V. Hamilton, conductor) – 12 November 2018
  • University of North Texas (Denton) University Band (Brett Penshorn, conductor) – 3 October 2018
  • Savanna High School (Anaheim, Calif.) Wind Ensemble (Brian Belski, conductor) – 23 February 2018
  • University of Arizona (Tucson) Wind Ensemble (Chad R. Nicholson, conductor) – 26 October 2017
  • Lawrence University (Appleton, Wisc.) Symphonic Band (Matthew Arau, conductor) – 13 October 2017
  • Penn State University (University Park) Concert Band(Gregory Drane, conductor) – 2 March 2017
  • Seattle Pacific University Wind Ensemble (Danny Helseth, conductor) - 24 February 2017
  • Allegheny College (Penn.) Band Camp for Adult Musicians (Michael Colburn, conductor) - 17 June 2016
  • Brooklyn Wind Symphony and Grand Street Community Band (Jeff Ball, conductor) – 20 March 2016
  • Illinois State (Normal) University Symphonic Band (Joe Manfredo, conductor) – 13 November 2015
  • Gold Coast Wind Ensemble (Thousand Oaks, Calif) (Michael Doty, conductor) - 23 November 2014

Works for Winds by This Composer

Adaptable Music

All Wind Music


  • Fennell, Frederick. "Gustav Holst: A Moorside Suite." BDGuide 3, no. 3 (January-February 1989), pp. 6–10. Reprinted in A Conductor’s Interpretive Analysis of Masterworks for Band. Meredith Music Publications, 2008, pp. 48–52.
  • Holst, G.; Wright, D. (1983). A Moorside Suite [score]. G & M Brand: Wingrave, Bucks, England.
  • Miles, Richard B., and Larry Blocher. Teaching Music Through Performance in Band. Volume 4. GIA Publications, 2002, pp. 421-431.
  • Mitchell, Jon C. "Sketches for Holst's A Moorside Suite." Journal of Band Research 22, no. 2 (April 1987), pp. 1-6. Reprinted in The American Bandmasters Association Journal of Band Research: A Repertoire Anthology (1964–1989), general editor Terry Austin. GIA Publications, 2013, pp. 259–264.