Large Orchestra


double 2

This composition was commissioned by the Oakland East Bay Symphony for their 2009/10 season, with a grant by the James Irvine Foundation, and premiered in April, 2010, at the Paramount Theater in Oakland, CA, under the baton of Michael Morgan. Since then, the Sacramento Symphony and Atlanta Symphony have performed the piece during their season subscriptions.“Double Identity” is my third composition with the objective in bringing Swing Jazz/Bebop music into a classical setting. Here are a few critic’s responses:

“No one will argue with the fact that Jazz is America’s great contribution to 20th century music. And that point was underscored eloquently Saturday evening when the Sacramento Philharmonic performed composer Benedikt Brydern’s “Double Identity” at Sacramento’s Community Center Theater. There is something fresh and immediate about jazz music when rendered through the wide and bold palette of a large orchestra. And the Philharmonic was smart in christening its 2011-12 season with Brydern’s sultry paean to swing and bebop with his three movement work.”(Sacramento Bee)

“Brydern’s Double Identity was a demonstrable success.  The work is alive with the idioms of swing and bebop. It abounds with energy, a feature brought out by the orchestra’s bubbly performance, impressive both for its life and for its cleanliness.”(


ikarusIkarus started life as a composition for 9 solo string instruments but soon grew into a fully orchestrated piece. On one hand it tells the classic story of Ikarus who, ignoring the warnings of his father, flew too close to the sun and died. On the other hand it pays homage to the inventiveness of the human spirit and embraces mankind’s ability, through the creation of complicated machines, to achieve more than our mortal bodies would allow.

The music starts softly with Ikarus preparing for his take-off. Slowly the huge wings unfold and the piece lifts off with a majestic theme/motif. The nervous sixteen notes in the string section symbolize the constant flow of air and motion needed by Ikarus to fly.

The joy of movement is mirrored by the cellos and bassoons, gliding in and out of the orchestra. Sounds of birds, clouds and impressions of earth from above are represented by various short melodic or rhythmic fragments throughout the first phase of his flight.

Slowly the intensity and excitement builds until we are completely swept away and have lost all sense of reason or danger. Then, in the climax of the composition, Ikarus and his wings crash to the ground and the orchestra brakes down with him, loosing feather after feather until all has been destroyed. After this violent moment, the compositions quiets down gradually and reflects on the failure of Ikarus.

Performed and recorded by the Kiev Philharmonic on July 14, 2005

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