Voyage to the Moon

Length: 14

The Meeting House, University of Sussex, 24th Sep 2015
The Warehouse, Theed St, London, SE1 8ST, 25th Sep 2015

Genre: Works for 2-6 players

Programme Note:

Voyage to the Moon is a continuous score of approximately 12 minutes with outer fast sections and a slower inner section of a dream-like character. The work is inspired by a film entitled Le Voyage dans la Lune (1902), written and directed by Georges Méliès.

The film itself reflects 19th century interests in science and discoveries, as well as the science fiction of Jules Verne. At the same time it expresses literary fantasy and some critics point out an underlying critique of colonial adventuring. The plot describes a group of astronomers who determine to fire a rocket to the moon including a handful of explorers. They reach the moon (famously landing in the moon’s face) and then encounter a strange race of aliens, with whom they argue and destroy. The return to earth involves a dramatic descent, a plunge into the ocean and then celebratory dancing.

I wanted to respond to this film because it inhabits a surreal and dream-like space, and uses an idiosyncratic visual language, but also speaks directly to today’s audiences. The score was conceived as part of a tour to schools in Hastings, Brighton and Lewes. School audiences may be provoked to discuss science questions and to consider ideas about the moon and attitudes to exploration in 1902.

There is also a version of this piece for orchestra, entitled Le Voyage dans La Lune.

EH – June 2015