A musical accompaniment to the Rosetta Mission
Listen to the full Suite here:
Download and physical purchase options from Bandcamp.
The writing of the Rosetta Suite started in 2014, the year in which Philae - the de facto mascot of the Rosetta mission - dramatically touched down on comet 67P, marking a world first for the global scientific community.
The music tells the story of the entire Rosetta Mission, in glorious orchestral colour; from its launch upon an Ariane 5 rocket in March 2004, until the mother probe's final touchdown in September 2016.
The Rosetta Suite album was successfully Kickstarted in January 2015, and the recording and production completed in August of the same year.
Looking ahead, a concert is planned for August 2017, in London, UK, featuring the world-class UK-based youth orchestral outfit Orpheus Sinfonia. The concert will hopefully feature representatives and scientists from ESA talking between the movements about various aspects of the mission.
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Edward Blakeley, the composer, wanted the piece to reflect that immense commitment by making the music itself also immense.
When not working on personal projects, Edward works as a composer, arranger and producer for other artists, and television and videogame productions.
Many scientists have spent their entire lives working on the Rosetta mission, from conception to completion. For those, it is a huge part of their lives. The Rosetta Suite has always been inspired by those scientists who put so much effort and love into making the mission a success.
The Rosetta Suite was born in November 2014 when, after a ten and a half year journey, over a cumulative distance of over 6.4 billion kilometers, Philae - the ‘plucky’ mascot and lander of ESA’s Rosetta mission - sent word that it had successfully landed on the romantically-named comet ‘67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko’.
After seeing the now-famous footage of Professor Monica Grady hugging BBC Science editor David Shukman, I was overwhelmed with emotional inspiration and, having never embarked on a solo album before, decided to turn my then-simple sketches into a full length orchestral suite.
Little did I know then how big a journey would result from that decision.
The Rosetta Suite is an operatic space-themed score of forty minutes in length, written for full orchestra, with each of the six movements describing a chapter of Rosetta and Philae’s journey through the solar system.
The Rosetta Suite is dedicated to John Marriott Smith (1931-2015), my mother’s stepfather; for his endless generosity, encouragement, and faith in all my musical pursuits.
Many, many people are to thank for bringing The Rosetta Suite album to life - all of whom I have listed on the back of the album. I thank them again hugely for their faith and trust in me, and for supporting this original classical music work.
Extra special thanks go to: my mother, Gail, for her energy and support - particularly during the album’s Kickstarter campaign; my father, Garry, for performing all of the violin and viola parts with true virtuosity, and for supporting the album; Rob Leake and Martin Bradshaw for kindly providing their combined decades of experience and musicianship with stunning results; Dick Beetham at 360 Mastering for lending his expert ears and attentive mind, ensuring the album reached its true sonic potential; Mark McCaughrean at ESA, who believed in the project from the start and has always lent a hand when needed; Josh Farkas and his genius Cubicle Ninjas, for sponsoring the project by providing the excellent cover artwork you see on the front cover of the album; Stephen Muir and Gareth Dant, my friends at the University of Leeds who promoted the album’s Kickstarter campaign and have provided excellent moral support; and to my loving girlfriend Sammie, who has patiently and eagerly comforted me during the emotional twists and turns I experienced throughout the writing of The Rosetta Suite.
“What a beautiful, inspirational, dramatic and heartfelt work it is.
I love that it is a unified piece of music – excuse my lack of formal musical terms – but the story begun so well with “Liftoff” is related so well throughout the six movements, that the piece becomes familiar in re-hearing lines here and there that we heard earlier. There are so many spine tingling moments in this music. The music brings so much of humanity with it on its journey of hope so far from home.
From the spirits of the most humble, gazing in wonder towards the planets and stars in centuries past, to the great and the good of music, of art and of faith, down all the centuries, to today’s scientists and dreamers too. They all take their place in this moment, when past and present dreams for the best in our race, find common delight in humanity’s achievement of the near impossible.
I think that we identify so much with Rosetta and Philae because we think of them as children of this planet. Children in whom we have invested so much of our hope, fear, trust and love and of our innate spirit of adventure too. And who against what could have been overwhelming odds succeed, and succeed with all the panache and nonchalance of the best of humanity’s ageless spirit – trusting always in the belief that all will be well, if only by and by.”