fox and bear, op. 39
This work came about because of a commission from the Central Kentucky Youth Orchestras, their contributions to UNICEF’s “Year of the Child” campaign. After the death of his first wife, Kazu-e, in the summer of 1972, Baber found serious composition difficult until the idea of fulfilling this commission by using a Japanese folk tale took shape. Fox and Bear took the concept of a Peter and the Wolf style children’s guide to the instruments of the orchestra. A narrator introduces the characters of the story, taken by various instruments and sections of the orchestra, then tells the story of a trusting bear and a wily fox. It was first performed in a pair of concerts in the Spring of 1973, with Joseph Ceo conducting the CKYO senior orchestra and Wesley Morgan narrating. The Lexington premiere was repeated at the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, where it was recorded for NPR’s Performance Today.