Program Note

God Save the Human Cannonball is based on the notion of ilinx as discussed by Roger Caillois.   He describes it as a form of play that makes “an attempt to destroy momentarily the stability of perception and inflict a kind of voluptuous panic upon an otherwise lucid mind.” Fast and wild rides at amusement parks, skiing at high speeds, racing in sports cars are examples of ‘play’ activities that fall into the ilinx category.  Of amusement park rides Caillois says, “it is worth watching people leaving these vertigo-inducing machines.  The contraptions turn people pale and dizzy to the point of nausea.  They shriek with fright, gasp for breath, and have the terrifying impression of visceral fear…. Moreover, the majority of them, before even recovering, are already hastening to the ticket booth in order to buy the right to again experience the same pleasurable torture.”  In this piece I’m trying to musically capture the thrill of being blasted from a cannon, flying through the air and having a feathery-light landing.