The Tall-Eared Fox and the Wild-Eyed Man was originally composed for string Quartet; I completed this version for string orchestra in 1994.
The piece grew out of my involvement with Irish traditional music, and consists of two Irish (or Irish-American!) jigs. In Irish dance music there is a tendency for tune titles to make rather prosaic reference to daily life; titles such as "Boiled Goat's Milk" and "The New Toyota" abound. In my case, the composition was motivated by experiences that I had while traveling in western Wales, around St. David's Head. I happened to see a fox with very tall ears standing with his nose to the wind in a field by the ocean. Later, while walking down a steep back road I was passed by a farm cart, in which was a man with the wildest eyes I have ever seen. He was standing up, facing the rear of the wagon with his head thrown back, his long, knotted hair streaming, swaying violently from side to side with his arms outstretched, looking right at me, and he was laughing --
It struck me as an admonition that we should live life like we make music, with love, a deep sense of the simple and overwhelming beauty around us, and with wild abandon.