Wanting to fly on one’s own… Don’t we all?

For the youthful Ikaros, such a feeling gnaws at him. It would be his father who provides him with his first and only set of hi-tech pinions of the day. For his safety.

Daidalos, we should remember, was a precocious ‘soft’-ware engineer working with wax and with feathers. And he was also known for making the first internet, the Labyrinth of King Minos, and from which at present he must escape. One imagines Ikaros all agog, fluttering those wings for a few brief moments before he truly is obliged to fly. And then, with his father’s admonitions more or less understood (no time for any user manual), he pushes off.

Soon his head points down and then side to side incessantly, for Ikaros is obsessed — maybe bewitched — by the tremors his body creates. And he marvels so much at what he sees as his inconceivable prowess, his wireless mobility (no zip-line), and his lively agility.

Securely fastened now to his own wings, Daidalos joins his airborne son and, being terribly on edge, he calls out at once to Ikaros: Watch where you’re going! Keep your eyes on the corridor ahead, not on your wings! Don’t go too fast! Not so high!

The sun shone brightly that beautiful day. And it was warm…

Such were the impressions that turned over and over in my mind as I composed Ikaros agog… Daidalos on edge.

Thanks to a grant from the Canada Council, the Esprit Orchestra commissioned this work from me for its thirtieth anniversary season. It is dedicated to its founder and conductor, Alex Pauk.