Hubble Images With Music By Herschel

Too busy for a full post today, so here’s a little stocking filler. The, perhaps familiar, pictures are taken by the Hubble Space Telescope but the music is by noted astronomer (geddit?) Sir William Herschel – the Second Movement of his Chamber Symphony In F Major, marked Adagio e Cantabile. Although best known as an astronomer Herschel was a capable musician and composer with a style very obviously influenced by his near contemporary Georg Frideric Handel. Although music of this era puts me on a High Harpsichord Alert, I thought I’d share this example of music for those of you unfamiliar with his work…

3 Responses to “Hubble Images With Music By Herschel”

  1. “but the music is by noted astronomer (geddit?)”

    Excellent pun! Made me quaver with laughter. As an independent researcher, Herschel was, however, not a staff astronomer.

  2. Was it a case of Herschel being influenced by Handel, or did they have common influences? Some people hear some similarities between the music of Bach and Handel, though it has been claimed that neither ever heard any of the other’s music, hence any similarity must be due to, barring coincidence, common influences. Of course, Herschel and Handel were both in England and both moved within King George’s circle, so Herschel probably did hear something by Handel at some point. On the other hand, he moved to England just 2 years before Handel died and IIRC wasn’t much in London in his early days. I don’t know to what extent Handel’s music was played outside of London. As a musician, Herschel would of course have heard of another German musician in England.

    • Many of Handel’s works were best sellers in sheet music form, especially the keyboard and chambers works which were generally performed at home by amateur musicians rather than in public settings. I think this is probably how Herschel picked up the influence. Herschel’s organ works are very nice, and the Handel influence on them is particularly strong.

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