Op. 4, ?1903-04†, 15:00


Our knowledge of this work appears to be limited to two reports in The Staffordshire Sentinel. A paragraph in the issue of 24 November 1905 headed ‘Mr W Havergal Brian’ states that: »… a ‘Legende’ by Mr Brian is down for performance at a coming subscription concert at Liscard… the legende is based upon a passage in Malory’s Le morte d’Arthur, describing the meeting of Sir Bois de Ganio [sic – actually Sir Bors de Ganis] with the chivalrous Sir Launcelot. It is written for a large orchestra and will require fifteen minutes to play.«

In the list of Brian’s works printed on 15 January 1907 [The Staffordshire Sentinel] the Legende reappears as ‘opus 4’. There is no evidence that the proposed Liscard performance ever took place, but further research in this area is required.

This is Brian’s earliest recorded use of a form of the title Legend, which several other works were to bear over the years. The passage from Malory referred to in the first report must be one of two possible episodes in Book 18 of the Morte d’Arthur involving Sir Lancelot and his cousin Sir Bors de Ganis (the same Bors who achieved the Holy Grail). In chapter 6, Bors prepares to fight as Queen Guinevere’s champion when she is accused of treason by Sir Mador, but is relieved of that responsibility by Lancelot who fights for her incognito. In chapters 15-18, Bors goes in search of Lancelot, to persuade him to fight again for the Queen at a tournament at Winchester, and discovers him seriously wounded in a hermitage. Malcolm MacDonald

large orchestra

unpublished; probably unperformed