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Brian Current (b.1972): Airline Icarus, chamber opera / Carla Huhtanen, Krisztina Szabo, Graham Thomson, Alexander Dobson, Geoffrey Sirett

Notes & Reviews:

1st recording of the Canadian Brian Current's chamber opera Airline Icarus, set aboard an airliner.

American Record Guide, March/April 2015
The music is an extreme mixture of styles and techniques. It's movingly quiet. Of great beauty is The Pilot's aria, 'No peace so great, no joy so pure', as Icarus must have felt just before he fell to earth. We can rejoice in our power to create wonderful things. There is an English libretto at the Naxos website.

Notes & Reviews:

Recording information: Conservatory Theatre, The Royal Conservatory, Toronto (11/25/2012).


Interesting and somewhat hard-hitting contemporary chamber opera
This CD is a performance of Brian Current’s “Airline Icarus”, which is predominantly about the thoughts and feelings of passengers on a “modern” commercial airplane. Those of us that travel frequently will definitely sympathize with and recognize the various characters insecurities, fears, desires, and the behavior patterns (“please don’t talk to me…”) that various individuals manifest when in the close confines of an airplane going from point A to point B. Each character (the Business Man, the Scholar, the Flight Attendant, the Ad Executive) is absorbed in their own thoughts and what they hope to accomplish when they get to wherever they are going, but the vocalized thoughts of each rather hits home for anyone who has ever had to fly when they didn’t really want to.

Eventually, the plane shakes and disappears, and the work ends somewhat open-endedly in the same way that the ending to an airline tragedy leaves the lives of the people onboard unfinished. This is both unsettling, but thought provoking at the same time as the myth of Icarus is continually referenced.

The liner notes are sparse, but what little is there comes from notes by Brian Current about what he was depicting and where he drew his inspiration for the work, which was commissioned in 2001 by Opera Breve in Vancouver.

As for the music itself, it is performed well but is definitely contemporary in nature – so it is therefore more likely to suit those open to more than the standard concert repertoire. That being said, I found this to be a rewarding listening experience, and I am glad to have this recording in my collection.

Submitted on 01/22/15 by KlingonOpera 
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Works Details

>Current, Brian : Airline Icarus, opera
  • Performers: Gregory Campbell (Viola); Veronique Mathieu (Violin); Taylor Strande; Carla Huhtanen (Voice); Charles Davidson; Anthony Thompson (Clarinet); Ryan Scott (Percussion); Krisztina Szabó; Kathleen Rudolph (Flute); John Rudolph (Percussion); Paul Widner (Cello); Graham Robinson; Loralie Kirkpatrick; Benjamin Bowman (Violin); Adam Sherkin (Piano); Alexander Dobson; Graham Thomson; Geoffrey Sirett; Leigh-Anne Martin; Jennifer Taverner
  • Conductor: Brian Current
  • Running Time: 1 min. 25 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary
  • Form: Opera/Operetta