bassoon and string quartet (about 44 minutes)
Pale Blue Dot (2017), a work for bassoon and string quartet, is about our planet, Earth. The title refers both to Voyager 1's famous 1990 photograph of the Earth from 3.7 billion miles away and Carl Sagan's 1994 book, "Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space." The pale blue dot in the photo is our home. It contains our story, not only of humanity, but also of plants, animals, fish, ecology, etc. As Carl Sagan writes in the aforementioned book:
"From this distant vantage point, the Earth might not seem of any particular interest. But for us, it's different. Look again at that dot. That's here. That's home. That's us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you every heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every "superstar," every "supreme leader," every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there-on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam." [Carl Sagan, Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space (New York: Random House, 1994), 6]
The music follows the story, primarily of the Paleozoic era to the present day. This composition is not a historical document, but rather, a narrative. Various movements spanning the two parts of the composition represent flora and fauna that existed and exists, extinction of life forms, and ecological and atmospheric occurences.
Pale Blue Dot was composed during the spring and summer of 2017, during the composer's Non-Instructional Assignment semester grant from Middle Tennessee State University.
Score and parts available for purchase from J.W. Pepper.