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How the Solar System Was Won was the working title of the Kubrick classic, 2001: A Space Odyssey, my favorite film. Using the title as an impetus, this piece is about three very different but related things: one astronomical, one musical, and one deeply personal.
The astronomical narrative is about how the solar system became what it is today through the chaotic mess of celestial mechanics and cosmic collisions. Over billions of years various gasses, rocks, and other debris have interacted with each other in these ways to create this tentative orbital balance we have around us, still slowly (but consistently) changing. It is interesting that some of the most recognized astronomical objects (Saturn’s rings, the asteroid belt, the moon) came as a direct result of a collision of some sort that has momentarily thrown off the balance that gravitational forces have been working so hard to create.
The second narrative deals with my use of musical grooves. I repeatedly set them up one by one for only a few bars at a time – just before the audience can be lulled into a comfortable, restful languor (much like an orbit) – and then quickly subvert them in chaotic and surprising ways to make something new and exciting –a musical version of Saturn’s rings.
The final narrative is about how the most chaotic and devastating moments in our normally groove-filled lives are what contribute most to shaping our personalities, and help give us our own personal rings of Saturn.solarsystem_fullscore_2.22.15
- Performed by the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, Francesco Lecce-Chong, Conductor
- Performed by the New England Philharmonic, Richard Pittman, Conductor
- Performed by the Santa Rosa Symphony, Francesco Lecce-Chong, Conductor