A Way of Talking to a Dog
You Don't Know

Scoring

Two versions:
1. Baritone and piano
2. Orchestrated as No. 1 of American Songs–Sacred and Profane

 

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Details

7:00
1994

Tim Krol, baritone (in the version for baritone and piano)
Lehigh University Choral Arts and Orchestra (orchestrated version)
Steven Sametz, director
Nathaniel Watson, baritone

Tim Krol, baritone
Lehigh University Choral Arts and Orchestra (orchestrated version)
Steven Sametz, director
Nathaniel Watson, baritone

ECS No. 7154-01

Program Notes

“A Way of Talking to A Dog You Don’t Know”  is a depiction of a someone in dialogue with a dog he hears howling across the prairie late at night.  The loneliness in the dog’s baying sparks a conversation where the narrator, exploring his own solitude, comforts the dog, saying,  “easy, Booby-pup … it’s not so bad to spend the night alone.”

Text

A Way of Talking to a Dog That You Don’t Know

The desperate dog is baying long,
for his farm is empty of folk tonight.
It’s Saturday [night], and everyone’s gone to town
dancing.

But I hear you, Booby-Pup,
(two fields away and across the road)
and I understand how you feel.
I’m alone tonight too.

Your voice feels good, doesn’t it?
You hear yourself, you say yourself,
you throw yourself way up high in the wind
and you don’t think about it too real directly,
but you kind of wonder, don’t you,
if something out there might not hear you
and come.

Well, I’m coming in my own way.
Oh, I’ll stay here where I am alright,
but I’m extending the human mind to you.
It comes over there right beside you where you’re howling
and it wraps this good intention
around your cocked back throat
and its trajectory of sound:

Easy. Easy Easy.
It’s not so bad to spend a night alone.
You’ve got your health. You’ve got your bones.
You’re strong. You’ll be running free again tomorrow.
Easy, Booby-Pup.
I love you. You’re not alone.

Some time passes, and
Now it’s grown quiet again.
Is the dance over so early?
Or maybe the desperate dog felt me come.
Anyway, something through the silence is now reaching me
and saying:

Easy. It’s not so bad to spend a night alone.

—Jeremy Driscoll