About this work:
The myth of Icarus seems an apt metaphor for the creative process: the attempt to transcend, and the riskiness of the endeavor. The story of the escape of Daedalus, noted for his wonderful sculptures, together with his son Icarus is a compelling one. Imprisoned by King Minos in the labyrinth that Daedalus had designed, and the Minotaur later inhabited, Daedalus searched for a means of escape. He fashioned wings made of bird feathers and wax, and he and Icarus flew away, soaring over the Aegean Sea. But, according to the story, Icarus, heedless of his father’s warnings, flew too near the sun, the wax melted and he plunged to a watery grave.
This myth has inspired many artists: Bruegel in his Landscape with the Fall of Icarus; Matisse, in The Flight of Icarus; Auden’s Icarus; William Carlos Williams’s Landscape with the Fall of Icarus; Anne Sexton’s To a Friend Whose Work Has Come to Triumph; Nino Rota’s piano concerto, also named Icarus. There are numerous examples, each with its own twist. My Icarus, composed for violinist Kevin Lawrence in 1983, is cast in four movements. Each was inspired by a different aspect of the story. The first, marked Majestic, is assertive, confident, with an extended violin cadenza that soars, expressing the will to break barriers, as well as the innocence of one who has not yet had to do so. The second suggests the complex relationships between father and son, now in agreement, now in heated debate. The third hovers in the registral stratosphere, conveying the floating quality of flight, as well as its inevitable turbulence. The last movement shivers with the violence of effort and the catharsis of the plunge. Icarus is published by Wendigo Music, distributed by MMB.
Year composed: 1985
Ensemble type: Chamber or Jazz Ensemble, Without Voice:Keyboard plus One Instrument
Instrumentation: 1 Piano, 1 Violin
Instrumentation notes: vln, pno