• Martin Dalby
  • The Keeper of the Pass (1971)

  • Novello & Co Ltd (World)

Commissioned by the Edinburgh International Festival

  • 3cl(tenor/Ebclt/bcl).sax/perc/pf
  • soprano
  • 17 min

Programme Note

Martin Dalby: The Keeper of the Pass
for voice, 3 clarinets, piano and percussion

Clouds rise up to heaven:
The image of WAITING.
The superior man eats and drinks,
Is joyous and of good cheer.

Waiting in the meadow.
It furthers one to abide in what endures.

If you are sincere,
You have light and success.
Perseverance brings good fortunate
It furthers one to cross the great water.

(Book of Changes - Richard Wilhelm translation, English version by Cary F. Baynes. Routledge and Kegan Paul Ltd, London)

Is not the way of heaven like the stretching of a bow?
The high it presses down, the low it lifts up…
It is the way of heaven to take from what has in excess
in order to make good what is deficient.

There is a thing confusedly formed. Born before heaven and earth.
Silent and void it stands alone and does not change, goes round and does not weary.

(Lao Tzu - Tao te Ching, trans. by T. C. Lau, Penguin Books Ltd)

Waiting on the sand.
There is some gossip.
The end brings good fortune.
Waiting in the mud.
Waiting in the mud.
Brings about the arrival of the enemy.

(Book of Changes - Routledge and Kegan Paul Ltd)

I have drawn back the curtain on the depravity of man.

There are days when I am haunted by a feeling blacker than the blackest melancholy - contempt of man. And so as to leave no doubt as to what I despise, whom I despise: it is the man of today, the man with whom I am fatefully contemporary. I suffocate of his impure breath.

(The Anti-Christ - Nietzsche, translated by R. J. Hollingdale, Penguin Books)

Flee for your very life from these men; they are poisonous growths with a deadly fruit, one taste of it is speedily fatal. They are none of the father's planting.

(Epistle to the Trallians - Ignatius of Antioch. Early Christian Writings, trans. by Maxwell Stamforth, Penguin Books)

Waiting on the sand.

(Book of Changes - Routledge and Kegan Paul Ltd)

I was led in imagination down on to the sea bed, and there I saw green hills and valleys looking as though they were moss-covered, with sea weed and sand.

After this I looked, and saw the body which was bleeding copiously. The fair skin was broken and there were deep weals in the tender flesh of that dear smitten body.

(Revelations of Divine Love - Julian of Norwich, trans. by Clifton Wolters, Penguin Books)

Waiting in blood

(Book of Changes - Routledge and Kegan Paul Ltd)

The way of Death is this.
To begin with, it is evil, and in every way fraught with damnation. In it are murders, adulteries, lusts, fornications, thefts, idolatries, witchcraft, sorceries, robberies, perjuries, hypocrisies, avarice, jealousy, arrogance, and boastfulness. Here are those who persecute good men, hold truth in abhorrence, and love falsehood; who lie awake planning wickedness rather than well-doing.

(The Didache - Early Christian Writings, trans. by Maxwell Stamforth, Penguin Books)

I can write in letters which make even the blind see… I call Christianity the one great curse, the one great intrinsic depravity, the one great instinct for revenge for which no expedient is sufficiently poisonous, secret, subterranean, petty - I call it the one immortal blemish of mankind.

(The Anti-Christ - Nietzsche, trans. by R. J. Hollingdale, Penguin Books)

I know a bird can fly, a fish can swim, and an animal can run. For that which runs a net can be made; for that which swims a line can be made; for that which flies a corded arrow can be made. But the dragon's ascent into heaven on the wind and the clouds is something which is beyond my knowledge.

(Confucius, from the Introduction to Tao te Ching by T. C. Lau, Penguin Books)