Hubble's Hubble by Guitar Soloist Ben Greenberg, a.k.a. "Hubble"
Sheena Callage and Tiffany Davis (STScI)
The song Hubble's Hubble is set against a backdrop of Hubble Space Telescope space imagery. Traveling through space, we encounter a spiral galaxy. M81, similar to our own Milky Way, is one of the brightest galaxies that can be seen from Earth. Its spiral arms wind all the way down into the nucleus and are made up of young, bluish, hot stars formed in the past few million years, while the central bulge contains older, redder stars. Zooming directly into the galaxy center, we wind up in the midst of the glowing gas ejected by a dying Sun-like star called a planetary nebula. We continue to explore other planetary nebula forms with amazing and confounding shapes. They dance for us, and morph into one another, entrancing and beautiful, inviting reflection on our place in the Universe, tenuous as it is. At the musical, physical, and emotional climax, we confront a light echo, the expanding illumination of a dusty cloud around a star, pulsating along with the music, recalling again the grand and inevitable celestial end but also pregnant with the promise of a joyous and shattering re-birth.
Hubble's Hubble in the News: On-line articles by NPR and Boston Globe.
About Hubble, the performer: Since the inception of his new solo guitar project, Ben Greenberg (also of Zs and Pygmy Shrews) has sought to exploit the guitar for its ulterior qualities, simultaneously displaying a true love for the instrument while redefining how guitar music is understood. Whether distortion-drenched or achingly clean, Ben describes painstaking result as "cyber-dread", an apocalyptic, beat-less quasi-electronic music.
Rick Arnest was a Ford Foundation Future Scientist of
America (in Junior High School) before he began his musical career. He
continues to cherish his love for Astronomy. Ever since the first pictures
from HST became available he has been fascinated with their amazing
quality and diversity.
Children of Light (c) 2008 Richard Arnest, ASCAP.
All rights reserved including public performance for profit. Please contact the composer for use of this material.
A message from the artist:
Children of Light is a trio for flute, clarinet and bassoon reflecting
the life cycle of stars. The music stems from a planetarium show called Star Stuff I
composed for the Cincinnati planetarium some years ago. I associate it most closely with the
Carina Nebula, NGC 3372,
a stellar incubator. The accompanying composite Hubble image shows "star birth in a new level
of detail. The fantasy-like landscape of the nebula is sculpted by the action of outflowing winds and
scorching ultraviolet radiation from the monster stars that inhabit this inferno. In the process,
these stars are shredding the surrounding material that is the last vestige of the giant cloud from
which the stars were born." I think it is a great picture.
The five movements present three tableaux and two short bookends. The tableau titles are intentionally
somewhat amorphous. While they refer to both technical and mystical subjects, the music makes only
general attempts at depicting specific events or ideas. The titles are reflective of what was in my
mind as I wrote the music. At the Beginning and In the End, the
first and last movements, unify the musical structure by echoing themes from the more substantial
movements as well as emphasizing the cyclical nature of the universe.
Maia, a dance movement, refers to the eldest of the Seven Sisters of Greek mythology
(i.e. the Pleiades). Our words May and Maja relate to this name. For Hindus, the word means the
intense desire that masks reason and leads to destruction. The name refers also to the star
20 Tauri, which for some years was considered to be a prototypical ‘short-term
variable.’ Stars in the Pleiades, a young cluster, are still embedded in the gas and dust of
their birth nebulae.
Aura refers simply to the cloud of light surrounding many stellar events as well as
living beings; the movement is a series of variations on a luminous and arching theme.
Nebula is a ritornello-like movement whose varied episodes end with a common theme.
The term refers to "an interstellar cloud of dust, hydrogen gas, helium gas and
plasma." Various types of nebulae are associated with both the formation and the
dissolution of stars.