Opus 25 (2016) – Like a Dog

Recorded on 04/28/2016 by Mel Shiner.

Program Notes

This work is an example of “process music,” which originated in the 1960s. The piece repeats a recorded reading of a text seven times while aspects of reverb, delay feedback, cutoff frequency and resonance are modified. As the piece progresses, the processed elements begin to compound until the voice is nearly unrecognizable and is caught up in a powerful, noisy clamor.

I wrote the poem Like a Dog during a time of intense frustration with life. After making some poor decisions in the effort to pursue money, and after suffering from those decisions, I realized that I had neglected sound Biblical teachings. In the pursuit of money, I had forced myself to work so hard that my spiritual life and family were experiencing profound hurt. The poem references “pulling weeds,” from the curse in Genesis. Work after the fall is subject to futility. The realization that pursuits of money and pleasure are “vain” and “meaningless” refer to the teachings of Ecclesiastes. The poem hearkens back to the Garden of Eden, realizing that my path has been leading away from the garden and towards Genesis’ tohu wa bohu (chaos and desolation). The work concludes with a cry to “murder me,” a plea for the part of me that makes bad decisions, pushes away God, and pursues selfish desires to be destroyed so that I may be reconciled with Him. Like a Dog is a reminder to me that the teacher in Ecclesiastes was correct: life without God and the pursuit of vain pleasures is devoid of meaning.