Beowulf was commissioned jointly by the BBC and the Royal Philharmonic Society as part of BBC Radio 3's New Generation Artists Scheme. It was premiered on the 11th of July at St. Lawrence Jewry as part of the 2012 City of London Festival by Jennifer Johnston and Alisdair Hogarth.
In my setting of excerpts from Beowulf I wanted to convey the heroism and grandeur of the tale and of Beowulf himself. The work was very much inspired by seeing the poem spoken live several years ago, and I wanted to retain the drama and immediacy of the words in my setting which is at time quite sparse and monolithic. I thought of this song cycle more like an opera for two musicians, and wanted the narrative to be very clear (even though large chunks of the tale have had to be left out).
© Cheryl Frances-Hoad, 2010