Music of the Spheres

MUSIC OF THE SPHERES was commissioned by the Yorkshire Building Society Band and first performed by them at the European Brass Band Championships in Glasgow, May 2004. 

The piece reflects the composer's fascination with the origins of the universe and deep space in general. 

The title comes from a theory, formulated by Pythagoras, that the cosmos was ruled by the same laws he had discovered that govern the ratios of note frequencies of the musical scale. (‘Harmonia’ in Ancient Greek, which means scale or tuning rather than harmony – Greek music was monophonic). He also believed that these ratios corresponded to the distances of the six known planets from the sun and that the planets each produced a musical note which combined to weave a continuous heavenly melody (which, unfortunately, we humans cannot hear). In this work, these six notes form the basis of the sections MUSIC OF THE SPHERES and HARMONIA.  

The pieces opens with a horn solo called t = 0, a name given by some scientists to the moment of the Big Bang when time and space were created, and this is followed by a depiction of the BIG BANG itself, as the entire universe bursts out from a single point. 

A slower section follows called THE LONELY PLANET which is a meditation on the incredible and unlikely set of circumstances which led to the creation of the Earth as a planet that can support life, and the constant search for other civilisations elsewhere in the universe. 

ASTEROIDS AND SHOOTING STARS depicts both the benign and dangerous objects that are flying through space and which constantly threaten our planet, and the piece ends with THE UNKNOWN, leaving in question whether our continually expanding exploration of the universe will eventually lead to enlightenment or destruction.