Ikarus started life as a composition for 9 solo string instruments but soon grew into a fully orchestrated piece. On one hand it tells the classic story of Ikarus who, ignoring the warnings of his father, flew too close to the sun and died. On the other hand it pays homage to the inventiveness of the human spirit and embraces mankind’s ability, through the creation of complicated machines, to achieve more than our mortal bodies would allow.
The music starts softly with Ikarus preparing for his take-off. Slowly the huge wings unfold and the piece lifts off with a majestic theme/motif. The nervous sixteen notes in the string section symbolize the constant flow of air and motion needed by Ikarus to fly.
The joy of movement is mirrored by the cellos and bassoons, gliding in and out of the orchestra. Sounds of birds, clouds and impressions of earth from above are represented by various short melodic or rhythmic fragments throughout the first phase of his flight.
Slowly the intensity and excitement builds until we are completely swept away and have lost all sense of reason or danger. Then, in the climax of the composition, Ikarus and his wings crash to the ground and the orchestra brakes down with him, loosing feather after feather until all has been destroyed. After this violent moment, the compositions quiets down gradually and reflects on the failure of Ikarus.
Performed and recorded by the Kiev Philharmonic on July 14, 2005
Orchestral Material for Performance available as Rental Only.