The Prince of Wales has revealed more of the inspirations behind the piece of music he commissioned to honour his grandmother, The Queen Mother, after her death. He was speaking on Classic FM on Tuesday evening.
“I asked [Nigel Hess] to write a piano concerto in memory of my grandmother, Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother,” Prince Charles said in the interview. “And when we talked about the structure of the piece, we decided each movement should reflect an important aspect of her character.”
Hess wrote the piece in 2007 and it was first played by Lang Lang and the London Chamber Orchestra that year. The piece, The Concerto for Piano and Orchestra, is subtitled ‘The Love, The Smile, The Duty.’
“The smile, the love, the sense of duty, which remained deep right to the very end,” were the character elements that Prince Charles wanted represented.
Classic FM’s website notes that the piece is “an unashamedly romantic work with touches of Chopin, Rachmaninov and Holst, and all of the sweeping melody you would expect from Hess, composer of such popular film themes as Ladies in Lavender.”
Prince Charles also revealed that his love of classic music was encouraged by The Queen Mother, who took him to the opera for the first time when he was seven years old.
“I suspect the first time I really became aware of it was being taken by my grandmother, Queen Elizabeth, to Covent Garden aged seven, I think, it must have been in 1956 to see the Bolshoi Ballet perform,” he said. “It was their first visit to the United Kingdom and I shall never forget that incredible occasion. I was completely inspired by it.”
And he revealed that once his grandson, Prince George, turns seven, a trip to the opera may be in the cards. “It’s so important, I think, for grandparents or other relations to take children—at about the age of seven—to experience some form of the arts in performance.”