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In 1818, Percy Shelley wrote a sonnet entitled Ozymandias, which told the story of a traveller ‘from an antique land’ who finds a huge, broken statue in the desert. The statue is of a once mighty but now long forgotten king, who believed his glory and power would last forever, a belief now mocked by his ruined statue surrounded by desert. The themes of both the poem and the music are those of the inevitable decline and fall of all leaders and the empires they build, no matter how powerful they are at their height. This symphonic poem is a musical re-imagining of the sonnet, portraying the traveller finding the statue and imagining the civilisation and power that must have existed to enable its creation. He gets lost in his thoughts, tracing and following the ruins of the city that the statue stands in, recreating in his mind how he believed it must have looked; the marketplace, the arenas, the palaces, before snapping to his senses and remembering he’s standing in a desolate ruin. Finally he rides away into the shifting sands and the statue is lost forever to the desert. Ozymandias was first performed on the 6th of April 2011 by the Frontiers Wind Orchestra, conducted by Alexander Webb, narrated by Stephen Mears.
Due to the size and complexity of this score, it is not available as a download.