• Haflidi Hallgrímsson
  • The Flight of Icarus (1991)

  • Chester Music Ltd (World)
  • Flute
  • 7 min

Programme Note

It had been my intention for many years to compose a solo piece for flute, based on the famous legend of Icarus. In 1991 I wrote a solo piece for flute inspired by this fascinating legend which I had known since my boyhood in Iceland. 'The Flight of Icarus' is dedicated to the brilliant Icelandic flautist Kolbeinn Bjarnason, who premiered it on 29 September 1991 at the National Gallery of Art in Reykjavik.

This descriptive and virtuosic composition makes full use of the flute’s technical range and infinitely varied and subtle colouring, making great demands on the performer's suggestive and technical powers.

The first movement centres on Daedalus describing with great excitement to his son Icarus their plan to escape from prison on manmade wings, but Icarus is far from convinced. Then follows a quiet, busy and intricate movement, describing in a maze-like fashion the detailed making of the wings. In the last movement Icarus and his father take to the air in a quiet and magical way, Icarus ignoring his father’s warning not to fly too close to the sun. His wings melt in the hot sunshine and Icarus in a dramatic and terrifying fall, drowns in the deep blue sea.

© Haflidi Hallgrímsson