Falcon 9 for organ
The Falcon 9 is a two-stage rocket designed to transport satellites and spacecraft into orbit. Named for its use of nine first-stage engines, the rocket was designed by SpaceX, a privately funded aerospace manufacturer founded and led by the business magnate and engineer Elon Musk. On December 21, 2015, SpaceX successfully returned the first stage of the Falcon 9 rocket back to its launch site via a vertical propulsive landing, historically marking the world’s first successful landing of a rocket used for orbital launch. Tim Urban from Wait but Why compared the feat to “firing a pencil over the top of a skyscraper and trying to land it on a shoebox on the ground—on a windy day.” On Friday, April 8, 2016, SpaceX landed the Falcon 9 on a robotic barge for the first time. The monumental undertaking will have profound ramifications for the future of space travel. Prior to Falcon 9, rockets could launch only once, and then burned upon reentering the Earth’s atmosphere or plunged into the ocean as scrap metal. By creating a reusable first-stage rocket, SpaceX has considerably reduced the cost of space travel, bringing the company one step closer to their primary mission, enabling the colonization of Mars.
Falcon 9 captures the grandeur of this technological marvel through thick, bright harmonies played with fortissimo registration. Fanfare sections alternate and interact with break-neck toccata passages, meant to elicit the rocket’s speed and precision. The pitch organization utilizes inversional symmetries within its harmonic and melodic design, referencing the upward and downward trajectory of the rocket. The organ perfectly suits a piece about Falcon 9—like the rocket, the instrument is a pinnacle of mechanical ingenuity and overwhelming power.
Jacobs School of Music, Bloomington IN
April 13, 2016