the dog and the wolf [2013] for 7 instrumentalists

Marc Yeats - Composer

the dog and the wolf [2013] for 7 instrumentalists

the dog and the wolf: for piccolo, clarinet in Bb, bassoon, trumpet in Bb, double bass, celesta [5 octave] and percussion [1 player: vibraphone / bass drum]. circa 13.5 minutes in duration.

the-dog-and-the-wolfnotes: The instrumentalists play independently of each other. Music is cued to begin only with both instruments starting at the same time. There is no ‘fixed’ synchronisation between the instrumentalists. Whilst the relationship of each instrument is flexibly placed against its neighbour, care has been taken to calculate potential outcomes of coincidence and variability. To this end it is vital that metronome markings are adhered to as accurately as possible although the composer appreciates that it is the various interpretations and practicalities inherent in the realisation of tempi that contribute to the richly unique nature and interplay of each performance.

Compositional material is derived from a series of distant variations that unify all sections with thematic landmarks. Thematic material is audible throughout the piece, bringing cohesion and structure to the work. All the instrumental roles are written to a high degree of virtuosity and most contain extended techniques and quarter-tones. The music itself forms dense, highly complex and constantly changing relationships that are frequently wild and sometimes beautiful.

The score and parts: I have not produced a score for the dog and the wolf; difficulties and variables associated with displaying the musical material in vertical alignment as represented in real time are considerable. Each performance will yield somewhat different results, interplays, gestural and harmonic references and outcomes. As a result, the material contained within the piece can only be read via the instrumental parts. Consequently there is no definitive performance of the piece. the dog and the wolf can only be realised through performance [as opposed to comprehended by reading through a score]; this is the nature of the music – it has to be experienced to be ‘known’.


A word about structure and time code:

The piece begins with a short, solo introduction from the piccolo followed by a pause. Once the pause is complete the piccolo cues the ensemble to begin. This is rehearsal mark 1 for all instrumentalists. From this point on all instrumental lines proceed at their own tempi and have their own specific rehearsal marks within their respective parts. These rehearsal marks have no purpose other than to denote sections and tempi changes in the parts. They do not correspond to vertically aligned reference points between all the parts and should not be considered as such. The only rehearsal mark that is referenced vertically through all the parts is rehearsal mark 1 as mentioned above.

Time code: Time code has been added to each instrumental part for two purposes.

1] To help gauge the overall duration of each part and its sections during personal practice thereby enabling the performer to get a good ‘feel’ for the various tempi and overall duration of the material

2] To serve as a collective reference point in any area of the piece during rehearsals where the ensemble can start rehearsing by each player locating the nearest time code point to the agreed starting point and beginning from there. This is in lieu of rehearsal marks being used for vertical reference and rehearsal purposes in the usual way. The time code is not used to imply the use of any kind of click-track in performance or as a straightjacket to flexible performance within the ensemble; it is used only for the purposes stated above.

A note about the title:
The Moon (XVIII) is the eighteenth trump or Major Arcana card in most traditional Tarot decks.

• Two large, foreboding pillars are shown. Some see them as tombstones, others relate them to Karma.
• A wolf and a domesticated dog howl at the moon.
• A crayfish appears in the water.
• The Moon is “shedding the moisture of fertilising dew in great drops”
• Very clearly, the figure in the moon is frowning, reflecting displeasure.
• The waxing moon has 16 chief rays and 16 secondary rays.
• The beasts are a dog and a wolf, which represent “the fears of the natural mind”.WAITE
• The crayfish crawls from the water onto the land.
• There is a pathway into the distant, dark unknown.

According to Waite’s The Pictorial Key to the Tarot, the card represents life of the imagination apart from life of the spirit. The dog and wolf are the fears of the natural mind in the presence of that place of exit, when there is only reflected light to guide it. This reference is a key to another form of symbolism. The intellectual light is a mere reflection and beyond it is the unknown mystery which it cannot reveal. It illuminates our animal nature, types of which are represented below—the dog, the wolf, and that which comes up out of the deeps, the nameless and hideous tendency which is lower even than the savage beast. It strives to attain manifestation, symbolised by crawling from the abyss of water to the land, but as a rule it sinks back whence it came. The face of the mind directs a calm gaze upon the unrest below, and the dew of thought falls. The message is: “Peace, be still,” and it may be that there shall come a calm upon the animal nature, while the abyss beneath shall cease from giving up form. The Moon [Tarot Card],