For Brass Quintet (Cornet 1 in B-flat, Cornet 2 in B-flat, Horn in E-flat, Trombone, Tuba)
Mythical Tales (2012) is a ten minute work in three movements which represents three of the most popular folk stories or indeed in the case of the first movement, true stories, in Welsh culture.
I. Owain Glyndwr
Owain Glyn Dwr was born around the 1350s into an Anglo-Welsh gentry family. His estates provided him with a modest power base in north-east Wales. After a number of disputes, he proclaimed himself prince of Wales in September 1400.
Glyn Dwr led several battles with the English, although he was never captured. Over the next few years punitive measures were enacted to keep control of Wales, but these were matched by many acts of Welsh rebellion - among them the capture of Conwy Castle in April 1401. In June 1402, at the Battle of Pilleth on Bryn Glas Hill, Glyn Dwr led his troops to victory over an English army. By now Glyn Dwr was leading a national revolt. In 1404, he led a march towards Wocester, but failed, with the English capturing parts of Wales. He died defending his country.
Myfanwy was the most beautiful woman in Powys, but she was vain and liked nothing better than to be told how beautiful she was. Many handsome men would court her, but she would not show interest because they couldn’t sing and play to her, reflecting her true beauty.
Luckily, a penniless bard, Hywel ap Einion was in love with Myfanwy, and one day plucked up the courage to climb up the hill to the castle with his harp, to sing and play to her. He’s allowed in to play for her, and while he’s playing and complimenting her on her beauty she can neither listen nor look at any other man. Because of this Hywel believes that she has fallen in love with him. But his hopes are dashed when a richer, more handsome and more eloquent lover comes along. The music of the second movement portrays the despair and upset that Hywel must have felt.
III. Battle of the Dragons
Many centuries ago when dragons roamed the land, a white ice dragon descended on a small village and decided to live there, not knowing that a red fire dragon was already living nearby.
Six months later the red dragon awoke to find a huge white dragon wrapped around his village that he cared for. He could tell that his people were ill from the cold. The Land was bare; nothing was able to grow not even the pesky dandelions. The people were starving. The people longed for the red dragon to free them from the icy misery, so that their life and land could return to the sunny and warm climate that it was once before.
The red fire dragon challenged the white ice dragon to a single combat fight at the top of the cliff the next day. The people of the village watched in terror awaiting their fate. The red dragon beat the white dragon, and the crowd cheered with joy as the red dragon roared with triumph. The mayor of the village declared that the land should always fly a flag with the symbol of a Red dragon on it. The flag's background should be half green and half white; the green to represent the lush green grass of the land and the white to represent the ice. This way no one would ever forget what happened.