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Flight of Icarus

PIECE INFORMATION
Duration: 14 minutes
Year of composition: 2012
SATB saxophones
Commissioned by the Capitol Quartet

Click here to view a perusal score.
Movement 1:
Icarus Ascending (excerpt)
Movement 2:
Deadalus Mourns (excerpt)


Performed by the Red Clay Saxophone Quartet (Susan Fancher, Robert Faub, Steven Stusek, and Mark Engebretson)

Ordering Scores
Theodore Presser Company
114-41723 • $56.99 • full score and saxophone parts • click to order
114-41723M • $42.99 • set of parts • click to order
114-41723S • $23.99 • full score only • click to order
Sheetmusicplus.com
PR.114417230 • $56.99 • full score and saxophone parts • click to order
PR.11441723M • $42.99 • set of parts • click to order
PR.11441723S • $23.99 • full score only • click to order

Program Notes:

One of the first pieces I ever composed was a short saxophone quartet named Soaring Eagle. I was eighteen and played the alto saxophone in high school, so it was quite natural to write a piece that my marching band classmates could play. While that early work has long been forgotten, I have always remembered feeling exhilarated at hearing those four saxophones dipping and weaving around each other as they played the piece’s main theme. When the Capitol Quartet commissioned me for a new work, I decided to revisit the topic of soaring, to see if I could capture the essence of exhilaration once again. Additionally, I recently wrote a choir piece on the poetry of Paul Laurence Dunbar. One of the poems, Not They Who Soar, came to mind as I began this piece; the haunting theme of that setting serves as the basis for the musical material.

Flight of Icarus is based on the Greek legend of Daedalus, an architect and engineer, and his son Icarus. On the island of Crete, Daedalus had built a maze for King Minos. Minos imprisoned a Minotaur (a half-bull, half-human creature) within the maze and annually sacrificed fourteen Athenians to the creature. Being an Athenian himself, Daedalus was upset with this arrangement and helped another king to successfully navigate the maze and kill the Minotaur. Minos sent his army after Daedalus in retaliation, but Daedalus was prepared. He and his son Icarus affixed wings crafted of wax and feathers to their backs and took to the sky. Daedalus warned Icarus not to fly too low, so the waters would not weigh down the feathers, nor too high for the sun to melt the wax. Icarus, however, was so elated with the thrill of flying that he drew too close to the sun. The wax melted, and Icarus fell to his watery demise.

Flight of Icarus consists of two movements. Icarus Ascending follows Icarus’ flight toward the sun and subsequent fall; Daedalus Mourns depicts a father’s grief for his lost son.
-S.G.


Watch a dance video of Movement I: Icarus Ascending
A film by Jan Van Dyke and Michael Frierson
Additional camera: Zack Haines
Performers: Red Clay Saxophone Quartet
Dancers: Virginia Freeman Dupont and Christine Bowen Stevens of the Van Dyke Dance Group


Click here to view more saxophone works by Stacy Garrop.
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