A New Planets Suite

Originally published in the Ringing World on 5th April 2013:

We have long suspected that Gustav Holst, best known as the composer of the Planets Suite, was interested in change-ringing and might have turned his compositional talents in that direction. We have been searching the Holst archives and have discovered two peal compositions of Spliced Treble Dodging Major which show that Holst was remarkably far ahead of his time from the ringing point of view. His first composition, which we call Holst’s Original, is a one-part all-the-work with good method balance and distribution, nice musical properties, and a rather curious finish – was the composer ultimately unable to achieve his goal with bobs alone?

Later he produced a much simpler composition, which we call Holst’s Ten Part. The method balance is good, and it has the welcome feature of being all-the-work for bells 2-6, but it is the breathtaking internal structure which stands out. The calling used in each part of the second half of the peal is the reverse of that used in the first, as are the coursing orders of the part ends; in joining the two halves together with a Holst’s bob-single the composer has therefore created a beautiful palindromic arrangement.

The methods contain a range of features and levels of difficulty, and should provide a nice challenge for bands who are looking for something new. We think the compositions deserve to be rung, especially as they contain two unrung methods which need to be named. We will therefore award a small prize to the first band to ring each composition.

Simon Gay & Mark Davies

5024 Spliced TD Major (Holst’s Original)

7 methods: 832 Mars, Mercury S (K); 736 Jupiter, NeptuneD; 640 Saturn, Uranus S; 608 Venus S; 128 COM, ATW

  23456   M  W  B  H
  23564         -  -     KNN.NSV. 
  45362   -        -     MMM.KNNKN. 
  36452   3  -     -     MJU.KU.KJ.J.JUJ. 
  65243         2  -     MU.MV.NVK. 
  54632         -        KSN.SSN 
  42635   -        2     SKM.SSNSVK.UMJJMUM. 
  42356         -  -     KSN.NVK. 
  54263         -  2     KV.KK.MUJJJMU. 
  52643      -     2     KSKNKJ.K.MMVJU. 
  23645   -        2     K.VKNVK.MUJJV. 
  46325      2     2     MV.UVK.JMJ.UMJUV. 
  53624   -        -     UMU.NSSSNK. 
  25634      -     3     UUJM.V.S.JVV. 
  46532   -        -     V.MMMU. 
  34625      -  -  -     SVKSNS.JJUMM.JM. 
  34256         -  -     JU.NNV. 
  23456            S--S  KSNNSK'N.S.N' 

Saturn S = -58-14.58-56.38.12-14.58-16.34.18 mx 
Neptune D = -56-14.56-58.16-34-18.36-56.18 mx 

Contains one hundred and forty-seven sequences, starting at the front or ending at the back of the change, of four consecutive notes from a scale.

5120 Spliced TD Major (Holst’s Ten Part)

7 methods: 960 Jupiter D, Uranus S; 640 Mars, Mercury S (K), Neptune D, Saturn, Venus S; 114 COM, ATW for bells 2-6

  23456   M  W  B  H
 (23564)     -  -      UV.KKN. 
  56234      -     -   VK.MMU. 
  35264      -    (x)  SJ.V 

Repeat 4 times with a Holst's Bob Single at end, to give:

  24365   M  W  B  H
  53462   -        -   MUU.VU. 
  36452   -     -      JJJ.NNN.SSS 
  46253   -       (x)  K.JMJU 
Repeat 4 times with a Holst's Bob Single to finish.
x = 123456 

Saturn S = -58-14.58-56.38.12-14.58-16.34.18 mx 
Neptune D = -56-14.56-58.16-34-18.36-56.18 mx