Gustav Holst is known almost exclusively these days for The Planets and his two Suites for Military Band, but he wrote a great deal of fine and interesting music beyond his couple of war-horses. Today’s selection is one of those pieces, a tone poem called Indra. Holst had an abiding interest in the mysticism of the Far East and of the Subcontinent, which manifests in this piece. Indra depicts in music the story of the Hindu god Indra, deity of rain and storm. The legend has Indra battling a dragon who has caused a drought to afflict the land, but in victory Indra manages to restore the rain to the fields. Holst’s piece is full of exotic color, even if the melodic material has no specific claim to Indian nativity at all. At the end one can almost feel the exuberant joy as the rains begin again.
Here is Indra by Gustav Holst.