Icarus Song 2019
A hidden, secret piece written for bassist Kirsty McCahon, for the cycle Restraints commissioned by Ken Unsworth.
The story of Icarus is fascinating and resonates in today’s society as ever, of a young man given the gift of wings from his ingenious father who built them for him as a gift. The young man is warned by his father not to fly too low so that the moisture from the ocean’s waves will not drag the wings into the water and become too heavy to lift, or to fly too high where the heat from the sun’s rays will melt the wax where the wings will disintegrate and fall apart. The young man wears the wings and is delighted with his newfound freedom of flying, daring to reach higher and higher, feeling the wing against his arms and leg as he spins and dives and rises, forgetting the warning of his father, he nears the sun and his wings begin to fall apart. Without the wings of his father, he is left bare to fall from such a height and plummets to his inevitable death.
This song was written for double bass, to play the melody in the highest register of the bass, where the low register represents the sea and the high register represents the sun. The melody, reminiscent of a folk tune melody, flies high, soaring into the extremes of the instrument. Too high. The tension of the instrument is felt. The desire to fall is magnetic.