The Ogre Lover

For String Trio
(2006) 9 minutes

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.

Programme note 

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


"The Ogre Lover comprises seven short, linked episodes, based on poetry by Ted Hughes. There is a sense of playfulness here, with a variety of textures within the episodes describing dream-like images. This is a piece which appeals to the imagination and demonstrates Frances-Hoad’s compositional craft." 

Carla Rees, MusicWeb International 

Performance history (post-premiere)

3rd October 2019 - The Lendvai String Trio at New Walk Museum and Art Gallery, Leicester, UK

24th August 2019 - Mathilde Milwidsky, Sarah-Jane Bradley and Alice Neary at the Church of St. Mary Magdalene, Bleddfa, Wales, UK - part of the Presteigne Festival 

18th May 2019 - Ensemble Joseph Hel at Salle Paul Eluard, Cherbourg-en-Cotentin, France

31st March 2019 - The Equinox Chamber Ensemble at Koncertkirken, Copenhagen, Denmark

1st March 2019 - The Fair Trade Trio at Smith College, Massachusetts, USA

6th May 2018 - The Fair Trade Trio at Bloomingdales School of Music, New York, USA

6th March 2018 - The Fair Trade Trio at The Artists Co-op, New York, USA

20th May 2015 - The Buffalo Chamber Players at the Buffalo Seminary, USA


Buy The Glory Tree, Cheryl's CD featuring The Ogre Lover

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