Pale Blue Dot (1995)
for large orchestra
Orchestral Reading Project competition prize recipient, American Composers Forum and Plymouth Music Series Orchestra, Philip Brunelle conductor, Minneapolis, MN 1998
Pale Blue Dot was composed in 1995 in homage to Carl Sagan, astronomer, planetary scientist, cosmologist, astrophysicist, astrobiologist, author, and science communicator. It was inspired by Sagan’s reflections on the future of the human race as set forth in his book of the same title. Though Sagan did not know me personally, he responded to the work positively in a letter he wrote to me after viewing the score and hearing a MIDI realization (computer rendering) of this piece.
The work is scored for large orchestra, and it draws from contemporary classical as well as folk and rock music. It is arranged in seven movements:
V. Laughter, Fear, and Love
VI. Where Once Darkness, Light!
The music and message of Pale Blue Dot are well suited to a variety of performance contexts — which might include multi-media imagery of Earth and the cosmos projected in the concert hall. At a time when humans face the fragility of planet Earth more than ever, Pale Blue Dot is, I believe, relevant and timely.
The work was selected for a first reading as part of the American Composers Forum’s Orchestral Reading Project in 1998 and played by The Plymouth Music Series Orchestra, conducted by Philip Brunelle, in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The public premiere of the work took place at Teatro Romano di Fiesole, Italy, in July 2000 as part of the ballet Earth Trilogy, choreographed by Keith Ferrone for the Florence Dance Company, and played by the Orchestra Leopoldo della Ferrovia dello Stato, conducted by Enrico Caproni.
First reading: Plymouth Music Series Orchestra, Philip Brunelle conductor, 1998
Premiere performance: Florence Dance Festival, Fiesole, Italy, 2000, rev. 2022
MIDI Realization (computer rendering)