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Sword of Honour

With Sword of Honour, Tom De Haes spotlights the noble knight Gawain of King Arthur's court. Gawain appears in the early Arthurian literary sources, such as in the mysterious encounter with the green knight.
The "Green Knight" offers to allow anyone to strike him with his axe if the challenger will take a return blow in a year and a day. Gawain accepts, and beheads him in one blow, only to have the Green Knight stand up, pick up his head, and remind Gawain to meet him at the appointed time. The story of Gawain's struggle to meet the appointment and his adventures along the way demonstrate his courage and righteousness.
But Gawain doesn't end up decapitated, as the green knight proves to be Bertilak de Hautdesert, sent to challenge the braveness of Arthur's knights. In later stories on Camelot, Gawain is somewhat overshadowed by other knights, like Lancelot and Parsifal. They all embody courage, honesty and unconditional pride. In short, all the characteristics of knights of the king's court.
The composition is structured around two main themes expressing Gawain's pugnacious and noble character. The different instrumentations and orchestrations, in which both themes have been incorporated, reflect the multitude of meanings of these courtly characteristics. Sword of Honour starts off in mysterious cadenzas for flute (or soprano saxophone) and trumpet, giving way for an allegro marziale, which marks the first theme. After an introduction of the second theme by the horns and trombones, the first theme resurfaces in the subsequent slow part, while in the back the percussion ensemble is rhythmically reminiscing about the second theme. After a great climax, based on the opening motive from the mysterious introduction, the main theme resounds in a majestical orchestration.
Scherzando Music Publishers, P.O. Box, CH-6332 Hagendorn, Switzerland
Concert Band - Fanfare Band
Publication Number
1404-07-010 S
Difficulty 3/6
CD Recording
Concert Band:
Sword of Honour, The Royal Netherlands Army Band 'Johan Willem Friso', DHR 02-041-3, 2007

Fanfare Band:
Cry of the Falcon, Koninklijke Fanfare Kempenbloei, DHR 12-010-3, 2007
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copyright - tom de haes - 2017