ANDREW SPARROW (b.19??): Pluto’s Crossing.

Catalogue Number: 04W062

Label: Centaur

Reference: CRC 3856

Format: CD

Price: $16.98

Description: Sparrow excels at writing rich, lush orchestral scores, entirely tonal and sumptuously orchestrated, immensely attractive and very easy to listen to, though not remotely challenging in any particular. Pluto's Crossing is a suite of 24 small, separate movements, named for features of the interplanetary voyage and the distant, mysterious dwarf planet, commemorating the 2015 fly-by of Pluto by NASA's New Horizons spacecraft in 2015. The composer readily acknowledges the influence of great film composers, especially John Barry, and this is more than a little apparent - "Solar Escape Trajectory" for instance could easily have been excerpted from a Bond soundtrack - and given Barry's consummate mastery of his idiom, this is intended as a genuine compliment. There are no fast movements; most of the music could accompany NASA animations of elegant, jewel-like probes gliding serenely past planets, or sequences of actual images of strangely beautiful extraterrestrial terrain, utterly tranquil as seen from a satellite's perspective. Melody and warm, romantic harmony are paramount; drama or any sense of the actual staggering velocities or the incredible separation from its origins of the lonely spacecraft as it travels into interstellar space are not the subjects of this music. Neither are the implications of the tongue-in-cheek names applied to some of the planetary features by the scientists; other composers would undoubtedly have been unable to resist the lure of names like "Mordor" and "Cthulhu Regio" (for which some of us will be eternally indebted to the wags of the space agency); Sparrow glides above these dark surface features with no more concern than had they been given numerical designations. The work exudes optimism and a sense of wonderment, appropriate to one of science's most awesome achievements, and the composer’s melodic gift is remarkable. Czech Film Orchestra; Marek Valášek.


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