As the universe unfolds along our cosmic journey, we see phantasms of deep space distorted by preconceptions from the darkest recesses of the human intellect. Nebular structures become ethereal monsters. An infant galaxy is born before our eyes, as its stellar mother spirals into oblivion. Streamers of gossamer light beckon to us from across the depths of space, drawing us into a stargate of surpassing brilliance and beauty. But, all color becomes pallor, and our perceptions dissolve into ethereal clouds of gray... "Nuages Gris".
When the human spirit becomes burdened with the weight of age, of sorrow, of the loss of youth, and youthful accomplishments, life turns grey and uncertain. So it was with the master Franz Liszt. In 1881, the year of this composition, he arrived in Weimar, Germany to teach piano, to pass along his brilliance and vitality to a new generation of performers. Instead, a fall down a flight of stairs robbed him of mobility and health. Desolation and despair overtook his spirit, and his compositions began to reflect his slow, stately descent to death. Yet, his works from this period contain the seeds of new musical life, of the exploratory tonalism and experimentation that still grow today in modern ambient and space music.
This eerie, haunting soundtrack performed by Geodesium is a note-for-note performance of Liszt's original score. The original 'Andante' tempo indication was slowed to 'Adagio', as appropriate for the stately procession of nebulae in the visualization, and Liszt's minimalist piano lines have become the sonorous, sostenuto chorale and tremolande strings characteristic of the Geodesium space music sound. Whereas Liszt's piano score wanders to an end with a subdued, delicate pianissimo, this work builds to an intense, sustained and dramatic climax — yet remaining true to the notes Liszt penned more than a century ago.
Running time: 5:00
Suitable for: General Public
Music: arranged, performed, and recorded by Geodesium
Imagery: Gemini Observatory, Space Telescope Science Institute, Spitzer Science Center; starfields from DigitalSky
Video production by: Mark C. Petersen
Year of production: 2011