This song is the most appropriate
selection for this list; the “dog days” of summer are named after Sirius, also
known as the Dog Star, which rises at the same time as the sun during this
period (at least it did during ancient Greek times – I’m not sure how much it
has changed since then).
“I’ll Sail Upon
the Dog Star” is a mad song by 17th century English composer Henry Purcell –
well, we all go a little mad sometimes. Haven’t you?
Mundus Canis [A Dog’s World] (George Crumb)
This is a light-hearted and
brilliant little set of pieces for percussion and guitar. I’ve seen the composer perform it twice with
guitarist David Starobin (once in Princeton and then
again in Indiana). Each
movement conveys the character of a different dog owned by Crumb. Here’s an interview with George Crumb, from
when he was inducted into the West Virginia Music Hall of Fame:
A Conversation with George Crumb
Elgar dedicated his Enigma Variations “To My Friends
Pictured Within.” Not all those pictured
are human. The eleventh variation
(G.R.S.) is dedicated to George Sinclair, though it is Sinclair’s dog, Dan, that
is portrayed in the music; you can hear Dan falling into a river and (dog)paddling
in the water.
Promenade (Walking the Dog) (George Gershwin)
Frank Zappa created several
orchestrations of the Dog Breath
Variations, based on his song “Dog Breath, in the Year of the Plague” (both
the song & a short set of variations originally appeared on the album Uncle Meat.) Different versions have been recorded by the
Ensemble Modern, the Omnibus Wind Ensemble, and the Cincinnati Wind Symphony.
Any other canine musical
selections to suggest? Share your thoughts in the comments.