Icarian Rhapsody

$ 60.00

for String Orchestra - Proceed to purchase if you would like to buy a study score.  

Conductor's Score and Performance Parts for RENTAL ONLY. Please send an email to info@aphramusic.com to request a rental application form.

Approximate Duration: 12'


The title of this work alludes to its rhapsodic and lyrical essence, the seed out of which grows the entire piece, but also to its fundamental metamorphosis. The mythological character of Icarus, after all, soars so close to the sun that his wax wings melt, plunging him into the sea. While not a meditation on high hopes shattered, the piece shares a similarity to Icarus' trajectory : moving from the ground to the air, then falling (if quite gently) back to earth.

The uniform sound of a string orchestra inspired a melody covering a vast range - almost two octaves in its first phrase alone. But there is another special quality of string instruments - the ability to play extended passages without a break, since no breathing is required - that suggested a metamorphosis into highly minimal figuration. Indeed, the opening melody ultimately shatters into a panoply of minimalist fragments that float by in different rhythmic and harmonic worlds. These shards ultimately fuse back together into a long line - but it is forever changed, as a comet-like trail of figuration dances in its wake.


“Morgan led the world premiere of Icarian Rhapsody, an appealingly crafted work for strings by Oakland composer Mason Bates … lovely to hear and ingeniously constructed… “The piece gets under way with a convincing liftoff, as low, arching melodies come vaulting up gracefully from the cellos. As the music's center of gravity gets higher, the violins take over with skittering harmonics atop repetitive harmonic patterns. With further repetitions, the rhythmic energy gets more intense and the harmonic language simpler, until the music peaks and cascades earthward with a gentle flourish ….” —Joshua Kosman (San Francisco Chronicle)