Pale Blue Dot

I was really affected by a particular photograph taken by Voyager 1 in 1990; the Earth as seen from a distance of 6 billion kilometers and appears less than 1 pixel in size. For a while, I had been toying with the idea of writing a piece for string quartet, a horn and drums, and I felt that this provided me with the perfect material. There are four movements, each observing the Earth from different perspectives, the titles of which are taken from a famous speech by Carl Sagan about this photograph.

I: Everyone You Love
II: Endless Cruelities
III: Momentary Masters of a Fraction of a Dot
IV: Save Us From Ourselves

My hope is that the listener will, albeit temporarily, be able to take a step back from any frustrations and anxieties of “everyday life”, and the atrocities of the world, and place themselves in the serenity of the edge of our Solar System, where all of humanity’s problems seem insignificant.

Mark Hanslip tenor sax | Gemma Bass violin | Aby Vulliamy viola
Alice Eldridge cello | Seth Bennett double bass | Johnny Hunter drums

Photos by Peter Fay, June 2018