Updated: May 29
Seven day count down to the famous ABBEY ROAD STUDIOS recording session with 60 singers from London Voices for THE MOONS SYMPHONY.
We continue lunar inspiration a little closer to home for this final week in the 7-part blog series. For the next seven days, we will turn to the libretto to explore the story of this 7th moon and experience a discovery of a different kind.
The first six moons turn to the scientific DATA collected by space probes to share their stories, while the 7th Movement's story draws from the emotional DATA experienced from the hearts of astronauts after seeing our planet united and whole.
Image Credit: Paul Myer Hopkins
Each day, we will focus on the libretto, extracting portions of the poetry to explore the inspiration that fueled this Movement's musical story driven mainly by the power of a single picture taken from the Apollo 8 crew - EARTHRISE.
There is a remarkable back story about the evolution of the music for this 7th Movement. It began with an organization for space artists called the IAAA (International Association of Astronomical Artists,) for which I became a member in April of that year.
In 2018 Earth-moon was one of two remaining moons left to compose for this seven-movement symphony, and ironically was the same year that aligned with the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 8 mission. And what followed next was a very serendipitous chain of events.
Image Credit: Paul Myer Hopkins
It was October that year when ISS (International Space Station) NASA astronaut Nicole Stott approached me with a special request who is also a member of the IAAA. Nicole asked if I could write some music to accompany a tribute video that would be shown at the Kennedy Space Center IMAX theatre that December to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 8 mission.
Being asked to collaborate with an astronaut was one thing, but what equally resonated was that the Apollo 8 mission was made famous because of the lunar Pilot Bill Anders's photograph, which became the most influential environmental image ever taken.
I had not begun composing the 7th Movement, but I emotionally knew the atmosphere I wanted to create, music charged with frequencies of love, awe and reverence. So aligning the 7th Movement with this image made enormous sense to me as I wanted to create an emotional impact, so I told Nicole it would be my honour to help and craft music.
That remarkable mission, the unexpected encounter of seeing earth rise above the lunar horizon, an image which the astronauts shared for us all to benefit, became a powerful message from the universe.
And now, an excerpt from the LIBRETTO to further learn about the story of this moon:
Who and where we are in this place?
Fragile race floating in space
But as we all turn our focus around
To lunar grounds space abounds
The British historian Robert Poole describes the Earth-rise image as;
"Worth more than the proverbial thousand words; these pictures are worth an entire ethos."
Incidentally, Ethos is a Greek word that refers to;
"The power of music to influence emotions, behaviours, and even morals"
This description perfectly aligns with the musical mission of the 7th Movement.
Combining this photo and knowing its impact on the world, I wanted to tell that same story through a musical lens. And the creation of this 7th Movement was possibly the most serendipitous moment experienced in creating this entire work.
EARTH MOON Music Excerpt "Who and Where we are in this Place"