LET SLIP

Composer: 

Year Authored (or revised): 

2017

Scoring: 

Fl. (dbl picc, afl), Ob., Violin, Viola, Perc. (vibe, chimes, 2 susp. cym. (high, medium), glock.

Duration (min): 

10

First Performance: 

June 23, 2017. Charlotte New Music Festival

Composer's note: 

Some wars are just; some battles must be joined.

But no war, in my lifetime, has ended well, to the extent that they have ended at all. Each one exacts a cost that continues to demand repayment.

When Marc Antony comes upon his friend slain by traitors in Act III of Julius Caesar, his grief bursts forth in a bloodthirsty speech, words that lash up a lather of hatred and violence. The speech famously culminates “Cry 'Havoc,' and let slip the dogs of war.” The metaphorical hounds, once let off their leash, bring “dreadful objects so familiar/That mothers ... but smile when they behold/Their infants quarter'd with the hands of war.”

Forever warring or on the brink of war, mankind has let slip those beasts time and time again, always with dreadful consequences. We haven’t yet learned – nor, I fear, will we ever -- that once the dogs of war are let loose, we can’t expect them to return tamed.

The world of Let Slip is built around the sonority of the tubular bells -- sometimes marking the passage of time, sometimes sounding the alarm.

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