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Sample: pages 1, 2, 6 and 7 of scoreSee details ➔
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The Fall of Icarus is based on Bill Hammond’s painting of the same name. Bill Hammond based his painting on the earlier version by Pieter Bruegel. The ancient story tells how Icarus made bird wings in the hope that he could fly to the sun.
This piece begins with a reference to Douglas Lilburn’s Overture: Aotearoa as the overture reminds me of New Zealand native birds. The opening “bird-like” motif has been developed in several different ways with all the instruments entering. These ideas have been developed with a build-up to the Fall of Icarus as the percussionists switch parts around and thicken the texture. The ascending chromatic passage in the woodwind represents the rising of Icarus towards the sun. The theme is reused to build up to the fall using lower brass instruments followed by a descending chromatic passage in the two violins. The opening entry returns with all instruments including the descending chromatic passage in the woodwinds excluding clarinets. The vibraphone, castanets and cello solo reuse the strings pizzicato motif, followed by a recap of the pizzicato strings with cello and violin solos. This is followed by the conclusion when all the instruments play the same motif as the earlier motif leading to the climax, followed by a violin solo, string tremolo and a quiet harp glissando.