2021; dur: 18'; Tbn solo and small orchestra; Score at Wise Music ClassicalWatch the premiere of Considering Icarus, performed by SWR Symphonieorchester. Soloist is Stephen Menotti. Conducted by Brad Lubman. First performed at Donaueschinger Musiktage Oct. 14, 2021.
William Butler Yeats once wrote a poem titled To a Friend Whose Work has Come to Nothing (1931). In 1960, the American poet Anne Sexton wrote the following poem, as a part of her first published work, Bedlam and Part Way Back. I see it as an encouraging advice to reach the sun. If you never tried, you’ll never know. I thought it fitted very well to the trombone concerto and the soloist’s determined will to make the music fly.
To a Friend Whose Work Has Come to Triumph
Consider Icarus, pasting those sticky wings on,
testing that strange little tug at his shoulder blade,
and think of that first flawless moment over the lawn
of the labyrinth. Think of the difference it made!
There below are the trees, as awkward as camels;
and here are the shocked starlings pumping past
and think of innocent Icarus who is doing quite well.
Larger than a sail, over the fog and the blast
of the plushy ocean, he goes. Admire his wings!
Feel the fire at his neck and see how casually
he glances up and is caught, wondrously tunneling
into that hot eye. Who cares that he fell back to the sea?
See him acclaiming the sun and come plunging down
while his sensible daddy goes straight into town.
(With kind permission of Houghton Mifflin Publishing Company)