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Composer's note: The work came about through my recording contract with Sony. Executive Ian Groves suggested to Astra Communications that I could write a huge orchestral piece to accompany the actual launch of the rocket from Nassau to be watched worldwide by satellite links. Directors of Astra came over from Luxembourg to visit me in my studio in 1987 and a work for large orchestra lasting about 15 minutes was agreed upon. When I had completed it a recording was made on 23 July 1988 at Abbey Road with The Sinfonia of London which I conducted, the engineer being Mike Ross. On the night of the projected launching a lavish dinner took place at The Queen Elizabeth Suite in Westminster with many invited guests, including myself, interviewed on TV by Angela Rippon. Unfortunately a cloud appeared over the launching pad and although many of us stayed into the small hours it eventually became obvious that the launch would not happen that night. The piece was not broadcast world-wide as intended which was obviously very disappointing. However some four years later it did prove able to stand up as a concert work and was given its first performance in Kenwood with synchronised fireworks!
First concert performance at Kenwood Lakeside on August 1 1992 The Wren Orchestra conducted by Stanley Black.
The Sinfonia of London conducted by Howard Blake, Abbey Road Studios 23.7.1988
First released on CBS/Sony 1988 as a track on the album 'Granpa'.titled 'The Conquest of Space
Re-released April 2006. Highbridge Music CD 6002 (under license from SME Subsidiary BV) on the CD titled 'Granpa'
Press release issued at the time of the Astra satellite launch in 1988:
'The Conquest of Space' was commissioned by ASTRA, Europe's first 16-channel satellite TV station, to celebrate the launch of the Astra satellite. The music evokes the immensity of space, the excitement of the rocket launch and an expression of hope for universal peace.
|26th March 1994||The Syracuse Symphony, New York Community Foundation Inc., conducted by Peter Rubardt, Cruise Hinds Concert Theatre, Syracuse, NY, USA|
|1st August 1992||The Wren Orchestra conducted by Stanley Black, Kenwood Lakeside, English Heritage Concert|