HOLST Imogen, Cinquepace & Gigue from Suite for Unaccompanied Viola

Imogen Holst, the daughter of Gustav Holst, wrote this suite for viola in 1930, though the exact date is unknown. It was first performed on 14th December 1931 at the Ballet Club Theatre, 2a Ladbroke Road, London W11, by Violet Brough who was the viola player with the Macnaghten String Quartet. In this concert the Quartet and others performed Elizabeth Maconchy’s Quintet for Strings, a Haydn String Quartet, songs by Patrick Hadley and Philip Rosseter and also gave the first performance of a string quartet by Betty Lutyens.


In June 1932, Imogen Holst specially wrote out a fair copy of the work and gave it to her schoolfriend Leila Andrews as a wedding present. It bore the dedication “For Leila with love from Imo. June 1932”. It seems as though it was the copy of the work that was given as the gift, rather than the work itself. With her solo suite for violin, Imogen Holst appears to have given a number of copies of the work to different people with individual dedications on each. However, with the Suite for Viola, only Leila Andrews’ copy has come to light with a dedication.


The work is in four movements: Prelude, Cinquepace, Saraband & Gigue.


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