Daedalus. 2014. 8’30”
For alto and bass flute, oboe, clarinet and bass clarinet, horn in F and bassoon.
Commissioned by The City of Tomorrow:
Elise Blatchford, flutes Stuart Beczinski, oboe
Rane Moore, clarinet
Nanci Belmont, bassoon Leander Star, horn
Daedalus was commissioned by the wind quintet The City of Tomorrow as part of their series on nature, the mechanical and the apocalyptic. Meant as a triptych of programs, each concert was to describe some aspect of human life, from its origins to its powerful manipulations of those origins and, perhaps, its own undoing. I was tasked with the project of composing a piece that would comment on the human’s struggle with the machine, technology and industry. For me, the myth of Daedalus fits perfectly with this theme as both an inspiration and a cautionary tale. The machinations of Daedalus, such as the labyrinth, shield us from what we do not want to acknowledge. And his wings, cured from the wax of bees, promise transcendence but betray the costs of our overconfidence.
The quintet is tasked with imagining these liminal zones of human and psychological discovery by playing a range of techniques that are analogs to the natural and the mechanical. Interestingly, it is in the midst of what we might think to be the most mechanical sounds that we most clearly hear human expression.