for solo piano (2015)
In the night sky during the winter there are two prominent stars associated with Orion's two hunting dogs, Canis Major and Canis Minor. Procyon, the fainter of the two stars, takes its name from the Greek for "before the dog," referring to the fact that it precedes Sirius in its rotation around the night sky. In Dog Stars, Procyon is treated as an introductory movement whose music is mysterious and rhapsodic, contrasting the rhythmic activity of the second movement, Sirius.
From the Greek for "scorcher," Sirius is the brightest star in the night sky, and it was associated with dogs or wolves in Ancient Greek, Chinese, and even Native American folklore. To the Egyptians, its rising signaled the annual flooding of the Nile; in more recent times, it is the source of the phrase, "dog days" of summer, due to the sun passing through its region of the sky during the hottest part of the year. The ominous, fiery character of Sirius is portrayed through extensive musical energy and vitality in the second movement of Dog Stars.
November 4, 2015
Keith Allegretti, piano