Skip to main content

Paul Patterson (b. 1947)


Little Red Riding Hood

Born in Chesterfield, Paul Patterson is now one of Britain's best known living composers. In addition to being Head of Composition and Contemporary Music at the Royal Academy of Music in London (where he himself studied) he is Artistic Director of the Festival in his home city of Exeter and Composer-in-Residence of the festival in Truro. He has written orchestral, instrumental and vocal music for many groups, including the Kings Singers.

Roald Dahl's 'Little Red Riding Hood' was commissioned on behalf of the Roald Dahl Foundation, and first performed at a sold-out concert marking the launch of the Foundation at the Royal Festival Hall in London on 17 November 1992.

The music in this setting is very varied - some is quite modern-sounding and some is very tuneful. It starts sounding quite modernistic (in the forest) but gradually becomes more tuneful as the main characters are introduced. There are also sly allusions to well known pieces of classical music, including Grandma's very Beethoven-ian door-knocker, a reference to Wagner's Tristan and Isolde when the wolf considers eating a nice juicy cow and, when our heroine finally appears in person, a quote from Beethoven's "Eroica".

In this story which hinges on characters pretending to be other characters, there is a great deal of ingenuity in the way that the themes associated with one character similarly impersonate those of another. But then, as the Narrator says near the beginning, in the Forest "appearances can be very, very deceptive. Nothing is ever quite what it seems…"

Back to programme notes index