Bedd Gelert


Bedd Gelert is a theatrical brass quintet piece featuring stage direction for instrumentalists based upon the story of Gelert, and old Welsh folk tale of a loyal hound slain by his master.

Presented in 5 scenes with on-stage instrumentalists, a character is portrayed by each instrument which follows instructions for when to enter/leave the stage.

Bedd Gelert – Programme Note

In my composition, I have created a theatrical piece of music that places instrumentalists on stage, who act as characters from theWelsh folk tale of Bedd Gelert.
The piece is structured in 5 scenes:

  • ·  Scene 1 – The Palace (Prologue)
  • ·  Scene 2 – Llewelyn’s Hunt
  • ·  Scene3–GelertandtheWolf
  • ·  Scene 4 – Llewelyn’s Return/Gelert’s Betrayal
  • ·  Scene 5 – Llewelyn’s RemorseThe characters are portrayed by short themes/melodies in the instruments, with each instrument being a different character (except for bassoon accompanies):
  • ·  Llewelyn’s Infant Son = Flute
  • ·  Wolf = Oboe
  • ·  Gelert = Bb Clarinet
  • ·  Llewelyn = Horn in F
  • ·  Accompaniment = Bassoon

Each character will enter the stage when their part is played, and precise formation of their positions is notated at the end of the score. If the character is off-stage and still has material to play, this will be treated as accompanying material and not characterised material.There are cues for when the character must move or leave the stage, written in the form of boxed numbers by their music.

There should be a few seconds between scenes for the characters to be in the correct positions before beginning to play a new scene.The musical content for this piece has been largely built upon ideas of medieval modal music, to create more authenticity and reflect music of the era that the folk tale of Bedd Gelert was written in.
The idea of keeping the piece strictly modal soon deviates in scene 3, where many more chromatics and modulations are presented, to create more tension.I began by writing melodies in Dorian and Lydian modes for each character, which I then re-used throughout the piece, applying inversions and transpositions to the themes as the atmosphere of the music changed. Harmonically, scene 1 and 2 use fairly concrete chord progressions, somewhat reflective of modal music, whilst later scenes become darker and more harmonically complex.