This piece is the first time I have combined my interests of music and the study of space. At the time of writing the libretto in late 2017, a renewed interest in Space was very apparent, spurred on by the flamboyant publicity surrounding the company SpaceX and their novel re-usable rockets. My own interest in space exploration started as a child. I could remember that at the age of seven, I was enamoured with tales of space exploration, from the Apollo moon landings to the then current Space Shuttle program.
In this work, I set out to write in response to the idea of extra-terrestrial colonisation, from posing the idea to musical representations of the challenge and the emotions that they may well provoke. I used quotes from three scientists who have put forward their thoughts on the subject, and indeed, the title of this piece is a development of Konstantin Tsiolkovsky’s musing of “Earth is the Cradle of Humanity, but one cannot live in the cradle forever”. I decided to use an orchestra along with a chorus and a narrator.
The work is in five sections:
II. The Challenge, part 1 – Technological
III. The Challenge, part 2 – Social
IV. The Challenge, part 3 – Danger!
V. Reaching Out, in memoriam Stephen Hawking
I completed this piece with, initially, a very different movement from the one in this final score. That movement was going to be a somewhat faster and more forward-looking piece of music, using only in part the quotation from Stephen Hawking. However, on March 14th 2018, Professor Stephen Hawking died at the age of 76. It sent a shockwave throughout the world, and I could not help but rethink the last section of my work to pay respect to his memory as a scientist. I chose a smaller orchestration to contrast the full orchestral tutti of the penultimate movement and ends with the narrator reading out a set of quotes from Hawking which I assembled from the NASA 50th Anniversary lecture that he conducted. With that in mind, I have decided to dedicate this work to the memory of Stephen Hawking, and all those who have come before, and will go in the future, to further unravel the mysteries of the universe.