Flight of a Cuckoo (2017) – flute, viola, bass clarinet, percussion
Written for the 2017 nief-norf Summer Festival
“Never before did I realize that mental illness could have the aspect of power, power. Think of it: perhaps the more insane a man is, the more powerful he could become.” – Harding from One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
Flight of a Cuckoo is inspired by the 1962 novel One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey. The title is a play on words due to its direct reference to the cuckoo bird in flight, the bird call of a descending minor third, and the historical reference to people with mental illnesses. I was originally intrigued with the concept of “flight of ideas,” occurring when individuals speak/think rapidly and abruptly change from subject to subject. This piece hopes to explore some of the aural aspects of mental illness with the acknowledgement that no one experiences identical symptoms. In my writing this piece, I hope to empower individuals to talk about their experiences with mental health and encourage a dialogue about the many benefits these individuals can offer to our society. A big thank you goes to Danna Webber for allowing me to use excerpts of her personal writings for most of the spoken text.