The work is at once pastoral and romantic, the music fully expressing Holst’s affection for the landscape. It is also a gentle tribute to the great designer and Socialist visionary, William Morris, who was one of Holst’s great heroes, evoking Morris’ vision of the English countryside as a Heaven on Earth. It is a joyful work with hints of the greatness to come, and his masterpiece The Planets, with its visionary opening Mars, the Bringer of War. Invocation, a hauntingly contemplative work for cello and orchestra, has a shimmering, mystical quality that is curiously evocative – exotic, and yet somehow, unmistakably English. Written during the build up to the Second World War, Vaughan Williams’ Dona Nobis Pacem is an eloquent cry for peace and a reminder that war inevitably brings misery and loss before culminating in a joyous vision of the ending of war through reconciliation between people and nations and the hope for a brighter future.

Works and composers

Holst Symphony in F 'The Cotswolds'
Holst Mars, the Bringer of War
Holst Invocation
Vaughan Williams Dona Nobis Pacem

In memory of

Canon & Mrs Ivor Jeffrey-Machin