Legendary Eagle (2012)

For Orchestra

Duration:  18'30

Program Notes

Legendary Eagle draws its programmatic material from Rosemary Sutcliff’s literary work The Eagle of the Ninth.  The novel was written as historical speculation at what could have happened to the infamous Roman Eagle of the Ninth Legion which was lost around 120AD.  Sutcliff postulates that the Eagle was lost in North Britain as Rome ventured north to capture all of the country.  However after the loss they retreated to Roman-controlled South Britain leaving the mysterious and dangerous territory alone for years.

The story follows a Roman Centurion, Marcus, whose wounds at the outpost Isca Dumnoniorum caused a medical discharge from his military service and ultimately lames him to the life of a rich politician.  Marcus had been suffering from dishonor caused by the fact that his father was the centurion that had lost the Eagle.  Longing for the excitement of his past life he saves a young Briton, Esca, from the Fisher’s Net in the gladiator games 

Deciding to find the Eagle and restore his father’s honor Marcus and Esca venture into the north in search of the lost Eagle.  The work depicts scenes from the narrative, which intertwine with character motifs creating an orchestral drama.

Marcus and Esca, through a series of harrowing adventures do find and rescue the Eagle.  Represented in the final movement is the feelings of bright majesty from their success.

-Chris Lamb, April 2012



2 Flutes

2 Oboes

English Horn

2 Clarinets

Bass Clarinet

2 Bassoons


4 Horns


3 Trumpets

2 Trombones

Bass Trombone



3 Percussionists