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"Aesop Fables" for Brass Quintet and Narrator
music by Jerzy Sapieyevski
score and performance by Annapolis Brass with Patrick Hayes narrator

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Narrator’s text adapted by Jerzy Sapieyevski:

1. THE WOLF AND THE KID
A kid had no sooner strayed a little way from his flock than he found the wolf at his heels. He ran as fast as he could but at last, seeing that he would be caught, he turned and reasoned with the wolf. “There is no denying that you will catch and eat me,” said the kid, “but since my life must be so short, why should it not be merry? Play me a tune before I die, I will dance, and it will whet your appetite.” The wolf saw no harm in the idea. He took his horn and played while the kid danced around him. The music was so loud and merry that the shepherds could not help but hear. They ran to see what could be the cause of such celebration, and chased the wolf away. As the wolf ran off, he turned and shouted to the kid: “It’s no more than I deserve. After all, I am a butcher by trade. I had no business becoming a musician just to please a kid!”

2. THE OLD HOUND
There was once a hound who had been faithful to his master all his life long, and served him well. He had run down many a quarry in his time, but at last he grew old and lost his strength and speed. One day, when they were hunting, a wild boar ran out of the forest and the master set his hound to the chase. The hound managed to catch the beast but his teeth were weak and he could not maintain his hold, so the boar escaped. The master was furious and was about to punish the hound but the hound stopped him: “I would serve you better than ever if it were in my power, but my body is too weak to obey my will. You should honor me for what I have been, rather than punish me for what I am!”

3. THE EAGLE AND HIS CAPTOR
A man once caught an eagle, clipped his wings, and turned him loose among the fowls in his barnyard. The bird became so sad and scrawny that after a while the man was delighted to sell him to a friend, who took him home and allowed his wings to grow. The eagle was so grateful that as soon as he could fly again, he caught a hare and brought it back to his benefactor. A fox, observing this, laughed scornfully. “You’re wasting your time!” he told the eagle. “You should have given the hare to the man who first caught you. If you make him your friend, with luck he won’t catch you and clip your wings a second time!”

4. THE MISER
A miser once sold all his possessions for gold, which he melted down into a single lump and buried secretly in the corner of a field. Unable to keep away from the spot, however, he went there every day to gloat over his treasure. These visits did not go unnoticed. At last, one of his servants followed him, and taking care to keep out of sight, discovered his secret. That very night the servant crept back, dug up the gold and ran away with it. When the miser saw that his hoard was gone he tore his hair and screamed with rage. A neighbor heard the commotion and came to see what the trouble could be: “Why, that’s easily solved” said the neighbor when he was told of the miser’s loss.” Just bury a stone in the same hole and taker a look at it each day. You’ll be no worse off than before for even when you had your gold. It was of no earthly use to you.”

5. THE TRUMPETER TAKEN PRISONER
A trumpeter marched boldly into battle at the head of all the troops, playing such warlike tunes that all who followed him were inspired with courage. He was soon captured by the enemy, however, and sentenced to death. “Why put me to death?” he argued as he begged for mercy. “I have killed no one. My only weapon is my trumpet, and you must admit it is a harmless one.” “For that reason you are more to blame than ever,” the judge replied. Instead of fighting yourself, you stir up your followers to do so.”

From the Program Notes:
The amazing Aesop fables are concise portraits of humanity and through symbolism, provide universal meaning. The power of these tales lies in the fact that no value judgment is made by the narrator who, while depicting human, often thoughtless behavior, accepts it as fate. As in music, each listener responds to the way he identifies with the allegory. Each fable delivers a moral concept or presents an ethical question.

Musical elements lurk in gifted oratorical arguments. Every speech has its tone, rhythm, tempo, crescendos and diminuendos - compositional elements leading the listener to its content and meaning. Some speeches are like concertos. Some others are less musical and on occasion, are tone deaf. An orator might not be aware of this phenomenon because his skill is subconscious and an intangible aspect of talent and instinct. In many areas of endeavor great performances of any kind reveal a certain innate musicianship...

Score and parts published by Theodore Presser Co.

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