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Programme Note

Commissioned by the Park Lane Group Young Artists New Year Series and premiered by the Lendvai String Trio at the Purcell Room in January 2007.

The Ogre Lover was inspired by a poem by Ted Hughes called Fairytale (which is part the Birthday Letters collection, based on his relationship with Sylvia Plath). The poem is full of the vivid imagery of the couple’s dreams, of high palaces with forty- nine doors, “tingling stars”, and an ogre lover that waits “inside death” for Sylvia to return to him every night.

The string trio is divided into seven (very short) connected movements, each of which is based on a line or two of the poem. The Ogre Lover was written immediately after finishing a large-scale orchestral piece (which completed my recently submitted PhD portfolio). This had left my brain somewhat frazzled (and temporarily unable to cope with the ‘large-scale harmonic structures’ with which I had become so obsessed): in The Ogre Lover I therefore simply had fun, indulging myself with all the timbres, motives and harmonies that the poem suggested.

© Cheryl Frances-Hoad, 2007