Metric Conflict as Variation in Gustav Holst's 'Jupiter, the Bringer of Jollity'

Jay Smith, Texas A&M University - Kingsville

Previous scholars have discussed Gustav Holst's use of variation, tying it to his affinity for folk songs and even tracing the First Suite's "Chaconne" through multiple movements. Discussions of Holst's manipulations of meter as a means of variation, however, are largely absent in the literature. Although Holst's daughter, Imogen, criticized Jupiter's theme and variations in m. 108 as lacking "any feeling of organic growth to justify so much repetition," I argue the repetition is absolutely justified, as Holst's progressive manipulations of rhythm and meter throughout the variations generate increasing intensity throughout the section. This paper combines Richard Cohn's (2001) metric states, Harald Krebs's (1997) grouping and displacement dissonance, John Roeder's (1994) pulse streams, and my own composite downbeat attack point system to illuminate metric conflict as a means of variation.