A Suite, A Serenade, A Symphony
Gustav Holst composed his St Paul’s Suite in 1913 for his students at St Paul’s Girls’ School in Hammersmith, London. The music is filled with folk song and folk dance melodies and rhythms. The finale is entitled “Fantasia on the Dargason” and uses an old 16th century tune in combination with the familiar “Greensleeves.”
Antonin Dvořák composed Serenade for Winds in 1878. While not based on specific folk tunes, Dvořák does incorporate folk dance-like rhythms. Despite the name, it is not scored for winds alone but also includes parts for cello and bass. The winds are 2 oboes, 2 bassoons, 3 horns, and optional contrabassoon.
Ludwig van Beethoven composed his Symphony #2 during the difficult emotional time spent in Heiligenstadt in 1802 when the composer was beginning to cope with his hearing loss. When premiered in Vienna in 1803, it was not well received, many critics openly writing negatively about the score. As often happens, however, the symphony proved popular with audiences and musicians and remains a part of every orchestra’s repertoire.