Image for Holst: In the Bleak MidwinterNot currently available on BBC iPlayer

Duration: 2 hours, 20 minutes

The first ever full-length film about Gustav Holst, composer and revolutionary - a man who taught himself Sanskrit; lived in a street of brothels in Algiers; cycled into the Sahara Desert; allied himself during the First World War with a 'red priest' who pinned on the door of his church 'prayers at noon for the victims of Imperial Aggression'; hated the words used to his most famous tune, I Vow to Thee My Country, because it was the opposite of what he believed; and distributed a newspaper called the Socialist Worker. Holst's music - especially the Planets - owed little or nothing to anyone, least of all the English folk song tradition, but he was a great composer who died of cancer, broken and disillusioned, before he was 60.

Last on

Sun 1 May 2011 00:20 BBC Four

Credits

Director
Tony Palmer

Broadcasts

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