The Saga of Haakon the Good was commissioned by Frei Hornmusikk, from Norway, to celebrate the joining of the two neighbouring Kommuner of Frei and Kristiansund, which took place on 1st January 2008. The band used it as their test piece in the Norwegian National Brass Band Championships the following February.
The piece traces key events in the life of Haakon the Good (c. 920–961), later to become King Haakon 1 - THE FUTURE KING - who had been fostered by King Athelstan of England as part of a peace agreement made by his father. The English king brought him up in the Christian religion, and, on the news of his father’s death, provided him with ships and men for an expedition against his half-brother Eirik Bloodaxe, who had been proclaimed king of Norway. On his arrival he travelled north - THE JOURNEY TO TRONDHEIM - where he began to gain the support of the landowners by promising to give up the rights of taxation his father had previously claimed.
Eirik’s sons allied themselves with the Danes, but were invariably defeated by Haakon, who was successful in everything he undertook except in his attempt to introduce Christianity to the country - THE MISSIONARY KING - which aroused an opposition he did not feel strong enough to face.
One of his most famous victories was THE BATTLE OF RASTARKALV (near to Frei) in 955. By placing ten standards far apart along a low ridge (to give the impression his army was bigger than it actually was) he managed to fool Eirik’s sons that they were out-numbered. The Danes fled and were slaughtered by Haakon’s army. These ten standards are represented by ten loud chords starting in bar 420