Straw Dogs is a reaction to the following passage from John Gray’s book Straw Dogs:
“In ancient Chinese rituals, straw dogs were used as offerings to the gods. During the ritual they were treated with utmost reverence. When it was over and they were no longer needed they were trampled on and tossed aside: ‘Heaven and earth are ruthless, and treat the myriad creatures as straw dogs.’ If humans disturb the balance of the Earth they will be trampled on and tossed aside. Critics of Gaia theory say they reject it because it is unscientific. The truth is that they fear and hate it because it means that humans can never be other than straw dogs.”
I take the ideas of reverence and destruction and apply them in a musical setting. Long, yearning melodies set against turbulent textural passages characterise the first half of the piece whilst the second half is more reflective and leads towards a destructive climax.
© Mark Simpson, 2011