St George and the Dragon

  • Duration: 8 minutes
  • Instrumentation: Harp ensemble (min. four harps – fourth harp optional lever harp)
  • Published: Hawes Music

Commissioned by the National Youth Harp Orchestra of Great Britain‘s 15th Anniversary Concert in St James’ Piccadilly, London in 2017.

The following description of the work is taken from Patrick’s programme notes from the World Premiere:

When I was approached to write a piece for the NYHO I immediately felt that it should be a descriptive work.  The harp tells a story so well – given its wide range of notes, colour and atmosphere – particularly stories of old, since it easily evokes ancient string instruments such as the lyre of the psalmist.  I wanted to choose a story which lies deep in the English heritage and so it wasn’t long before I decided on St George and the Dragon.  Here there is opportunity to describe graceful and noble characters in the Princess and St George himself.  There is also the backdrop of the lake at one extreme – with the immediate suggestion of rippling harp figurations – and the ferocoious and frightening Dragon at the other which calls for much more strident orchestral writing.  To use the four harp sections to full effect, the piece demanded an inherent drama ranging from moments of stillness to climaxes of full intensity.  In this work, the former can be found at the very start with the portrayal of the innocent and beautiful Princess while the latter occurs during the brutal conflict between St George and the Dragon.  Writing for young players, it was always my intention to make the work as interesting and melodic as possible.  I hope that the audience also finds this to be the case.  

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