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Beowulf Music
For guitar and percussion.

In 1975 Nigel Morgan was commissioned to create the score for a production of the Early English epic poem Beowulf at the new National Theatre on London's South Bank. It was a production with life-size puppets by Christopher Leith and a new verse translation by Larry Butler. The score involved two singers as narrators and two musicians playing harp (a copy of the Sutton Hoe instrument) and percussion. In 1978 the composer decided to reinvent the score as an instrumental fantasy: for guitar and percussion. This score was written for the composer/performers Nigel Morgan (guitar) and Patrick Brandon (percussion) and toured extensively as part of a programme featuring their music.

The music does not 'tell the story' of Beowulf but rather focuses on events that recur within the poem but in no particular order: the extraordinary fight scenes, the sea journeys; the formal dialogues between king and hero, the death of a hero. Three extracts from the original text are used as an underscore to introduce particular sections.

Beowulf lies dying (Charles Keeping)

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Nigel Morgan, Prudential Buildings, 55 Westgate, Wakefield, West Yorkshire, WF1 1BW, United Kingdom Tel: 01924 383017 e-mail: tonalitysystems@mac.com

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