Click on the image to view the opening address by Dr Tony Prave

Sunday night saw a highly successful concert with stellar (quite literally for “Mars”) performance from the Heisenberg Ensemble.  The concert kicked off with 4.6Billion years of Earth history compressed eloquently into a 5min. presentation by Dr Tony Prave, Head of the School of Earth and Environmental Sciences (you can see Tony’s talk here).  The concert then began with a representation of Chaos from Haydn’s Creation.  The unresolved chords and suspended notes depicting an early Earth without structure.  This was followed by Beethoven’s picture of a babbling brook in ceaseless flow from his Symphony 6, “Pastoral”.  The environmental theme continued with Morning from Greig’s “Pyr Gynt Suite” before a return to the solid Earth mischief aimed directly at the younger audience with the dramatic building of sound through “In the Hall of the Mountain King”.  The dramatic nature of music continued with the final piece before intermission, Holt’s “Mars” from the “Planets Suite2. Accompanied by some of the latest images of the planet’s surface provided by researchers within the Exoplanet Centre (link).

The orchestra was cut back to a small chamber ensemble for the second half in order to present the much-loved “Four Seasons” by Vivaldi.  This iconic piece epitomises the portrayal of Earth’s environment in classical music.  The piece is divided into four parts each taking a picture of the seasons from sonnets that may have been written by Vivaldi himself.  A modern twist was conveyed to the musical images with visual representations depicting climate issues facing society today.  The soloist’s, Feargus Hetherington, masterful performance left a powerful impression of the complex textures that Vivaldi weaves through the piece and his technical brilliance was matched by playful interpretations of scenes from country life.

The concert melded musical performance, imagery and science to present a number of themes that are the focus of research in the School of Earth and Environmental Sciences. From early life on planet Earth to changes in climate that are affecting us all today, from our ancestors and their impact on their environment to our footprint today, from within and out with our planet, research within the School is at the heart of society today.

For more information on this research visit the School website at: http://earthsci.st-andrews.ac.uk/research/

For information on the climate work featured in the performance  see: Dr Rob Wilson

For information on climate work in the Pacific see: Dr James Rae and Dr Andrea Burke

For information on ancient Earth and early life see: Dr Tony Prave and Dr Aubrey Zerkle

For information on planetary sciences see: Dr Sami Mikail and Dr Claire Cousins

The 4 Seasons was complied by Dr Richard Bates with additional images supplied by  John Mason (www.geologywales.co.uk); Tim Cockburn (www.timcockburn.co.uk); Rob Wilson (SEES); Nick Cobbing (www.nickcobbing.co.uk)