Suites for Strings

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The composers of Great Britain have a long tradition of writing suites for string orchestras. We’ll hear a few of them on this week’s English Pastorale.

Hubert Parry’s Lady Radnor Suite was written in 1894 for an all-woman orchestra lead by Lady Radnor of Salisbury. The six movements are marked by charm and invention and, perhaps, a hint of Elgar.

Frank Bridge (PHOTO) was a prolific composer of chamber music. His Suite for String Orchestra was written in 1910 but wasn’t published until the mid 1920’s. Despite high hopes by the composer, the work wasn’t a popular success.

Gustav Holst is best remembered today as the composer of “The Planets” suite for large orchestra. His Moorside Suite was originally written for brass band. He later produced a string orchestra version for the girls at St. Paul’s School, where he was employed.

The Florida Suite by Frederick Delius was his first orchestral composition, written while the composer was a music student at the Leipzig conservatory. The work draws on his experiences in America while living on a Florida orange plantation.

Parry – Suite in F Major (Lady Radnor Suite)
Bridge – Suite for String Orchestra
Holst – A Moorside Suite
Delius – Florida Suite: By the River

Listen to a movement of the original brass arrangement of Holst’s A Moorside Suite:

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