The Legend of King Arthur is both timeless and timely…we need people to stand up for the vulnerable and helpless and for what is right in our world today. The mystery and romance of the legend offers a refreshing respite from today’s craziness and shows us how people from ages past stood up to evil and fought for good.
While researching for my first symphony, “King Arthur”, I’ve found that there is so much to explore pertaining to the legend such as the ancient legendary places in England that still exist, how Arthur is portrayed in art and literature, what was happening historically when Arthur was said to have lived, and the rich English heritage in general. There is a vast world to explore when searching for inspiration about King Arthur and his knights.
In case you are interested in setting out on a similar journey, here are some of the resources that I have found so far to start you out:
- I found a very readable version of the legend written by Roger Lancelyn Green. It took me a good year and a half to read it what with balancing family life with cultural pursuits, but it is a good clear edition. The citation is as follows:
Roger Lancelyn Green, “King Arthur and His Knights of the Round Table” (London: Puffin Books), first published 1953, reissued 1994.
- English illustrator Arthur Rackham (1867 – 1939) was able to bring forth the magic of the legend in his mysterious paintings.
- Among the romantic legend sites in England, Tintagel Castle, Arthur’s birthplace, stands out with significance. It is, according to the story, where Arthur’s father Uther Pendragon came disguised as Lady Igrayne’s husband Gorlois and won her over so that she became his wife. Their son Arthur was taken away from Tintagel by Merlin soon after he was born. Merlin stole him away by night down the cliffs and Arthur’s true identity was not revealed again for many years. You can learn more about Tintagel and see what it looks like at the following link:
Part I of my symphony tells the story of the land in chaos, how Arthur became King, and the glory of his coronation and wedding day. For Part II, the movements will go something like this: 1) Quest for Good 2) The Glory of Logres 3) The Holy Grail, “Agnus Dei” by William Byrd 4) Lancelot and Guinevere 5) The Final Battle 6) Arthur, the Once and Future King. I’m hoping to have LVSO play the whole symphony once it’s complete. They premiered Part I last fall. I’ll be sharing the whole symphony with you once it’s completed. I’m hoping to have both the string orchestra and the full symphonic versions completed by the spring of 2017. In the meantime, keep up the good fight!