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Somerset Rhapsody, A

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Gustav Holst

Gustav Holst (trans. Clare Grundman)

This work bears the designation Opus 21.

General Info

Year: 1906 / 1927 / 1980
Duration: c. 9:30
Difficulty: V (see Ratings for explanation)
Original Medium: Orchestra
Publisher: Boosey & Hawkes, Inc.
Cost: Score and Parts (print) - $90.00   |   Score Only (print) - $12.50


Full Score
C Piccolo
Flute I-II (4 players suggested)
Oboe I-II
English Horn
Bassoon I-II
E-flat Soprano Clarinet
B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-II-III
E-flat Alto Clarinet
B-flat Bass Clarinet
B-flat Contrabass Clarinet
E-flat Alto Saxophone
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 (4-5 players), including:

  • Bass Drum
  • Crash Cymbals
  • Glockenspiel
  • Snare Drum
  • Suspended Cymbal
  • Vibraphone


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

A Somerset Rhapsody, Op. 21, was composed in 1906 and was dedicated to Cecil Sharp, the renowned collector of English folksong music. It is based on three tunes found among Sharp’s many collections: It’s a Rosebud in June, High Germany, and The Lover’s Farewell. It was rewritten and premiered at Queens Hall by conductor Edward Mason in April of 1910, and published by Boosey & Hawkes in 1927.

- Program Notes by Nikk Pilato

The nationalistic inclinations displayed by the cataloguing and cultivation of folk songs in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries was enthusiastically embraced by Gustav Holst and his contemporaries. A Somerset Rhapsody was composed in 1906 at the request of Cecil Sharp, one of England's foremost folk song collectors. The piece received its first performance in February of 1906 by the City of Bath Pump Room Orchestra with Holst conducting. It was rewritten following this performance and produced at Queens Hall, London, by Edward Mason on April 6, 1910. Clare Grundman transcribed the work for band in 1980.

The three folk songs employed, Sheep Shearing, High Germany, and The True Lover's Farewell, are presented without significant melodic variation. More interesting is the harmonic language and contrapuntal textures Holst offers. The choice of this piece3 for transcription is a natural one given the subject material.

- Program Note from the West Chester University Wind Ensemble concert program, 1 November 2020


(Needed - please join the WRP if you can help.)

State Ratings

  • Florida: V
  • Georgia: V
  • Kansas: V
  • Louisiana: IV
  • Maryland: V
  • South Carolina: V
  • Virginia: V


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

  • West Chester (Penn.) University Wind Ensemble (Andrew Yozviak, conductor) - 1 November 2020
  • Eastman School of Music (Rochester, N.Y.) Wind Orchestra (Mark Scatterday, conductor) – 18 October 2019
  • Massachusetts Youth Wind Ensemble (Boston) (Michael Mucci, conductor)– 18 December 2018
  • McGill University (Montreal, Que.) Wind Orchestra (Alain Cazes, conductor) – 2 November 2018
  • Colorado (Denver) Wind Ensemble (David Kish, conductor) – 7 April 2018
  • Henderson State University (Arkadelphia, Ark.) Wind Ensemble (Steven M. Knight, conductor) -29 November 2016
  • Lexington (Mass.) Bicentennial Band (Jeffrey Leonard, conductor) – 31 January 2016
  • California State University Symphonic Band (Nikk Pilato, conductor) - 15 March 2012

Works for Winds by This Composer

Adaptable Music

All Wind Music