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Knights of the Red Branch, for three harps and orchestra, by Kevin Kaska
Publisher: Vanderbilt Music Company
Duration: 15 minutes
Instrumentation: 1 1 1 1 — 0 0 0 0, T+3, strings. Perc: glockenspiel, vibraphone, triangle, snare, small triangle, suspended cymbal, tambourine
Movements: The Ride, Lament, The Return
Conductor's score and orchestral parts rental only.
Solo Harp parts sold separately, and can be found here:
Harp 1 - https://vanderbiltmusic.com/kevin-kaska-knights-of-the-red-branch-for-three-harps-harp-1/
Harp 2 - https://vanderbiltmusic.com/kevin-kaska-knights-of-the-red-branch-for-three-harps-harp-2/
Harp 3 - https://vanderbiltmusic.com/kevin-kaska-knights-of-the-red-branch-for-three-harps-harp-3/
Knights of the Red Branch is based on ancient Irish Gaelic literature from the lst century B.C. King Conor MacNessa, who was reputed to be king of the Ulaids of northeast Ireland around this time, formed an order of warriors called the Red Branch Knights. He trained them to be the strongest and most noble of men. King Conor also had a nephew named Setante who wanted to be a Red Branch Knight, and from a very early age showed superhuman qualities of wisdo1n, warfare, magic, and poetry. After Setante proved his fortitude, his name was changed to Cuchulain and he became the central character of the Ulster (Ulaid) cycle. Cuchulain was the greatest of the Knights of the Red Branch. It is said that his prowess was enhanced by the gift of seven fingers on each hand, seven toes on each foot, and seven pupils in each eye. Favored by the gods and exempt from the curse of periodic feebleness laid upon the men of Ulster, he performed superhuman exploits and labors comparable to those of the Greek hero Achilles. The Cattle Raid of Cooley (Tain Bo Cuailnge) records his single-handed defense of Ulster at the age of 17 against the forces of Medb (Maeve), queen of Connaught. According to the most famous legends, he was tricked by his enemies into an unfair fight and slain at the age of 27.
The Philadelphia Chapter of the American Harp Society commissioned this work for the 2004 National Conference in Philadelphia. This work was written for Boston Symphony harpist Ann Hobson Pilot, Dallas Symphony harpist Susan Dederich-Pejovich, and Houston Symphony harpist Paula Page. All three harpists were students of the Philadelphia High School for Girls and studied with Alice Chalifoux at the Cleveland Institute of Music.