Voyage to the Moon
Genre: Chamber music for silent film. Flute, clarinet, piano, violin, cello
Description: A score with outer fast sections and a slower inner section of a dream-like character, conceived in response to Georges Méliès's film Le Voyage dans la Lune (1902)
Duration: 12 Minutes
Voyage to the Moon is a continuous score of approximately 12 minutes with outer fast sections and a slower inner section of a dream-like character. The work is inspired by a film entitled Le Voyage dans la Lune (1902), written and directed by Georges Méliès.
The film itself reflects 19th century interests in science and discoveries, as well as the science fiction of Jules Verne. At the same time it expresses literary fantasy and some critics point out an underlying critique of colonialism. The story follows a group of astronomers who voyage to the moon via a rocket shot from a cannon. On the Moon, they explore its surface and encounter an underground group of ‘Selenites’ (lunar inhabitants), one of whom they capture and bring back to Earth. Some scholars have commented on the film’s anti-imperialist satire. For example, the film scholar Matthew Solomon argues that Méliès mocks imperialistic domination by presenting his colonial conquerors as bumbling pedants who mercilessly attack the alien life-forms they meet and return with a mistreated captive amid fanfares of self-congratulation.
The film’s technical innovations had a far-reaching influence, including upon director Cecil Hepworth who probably adopted the dissolve technique in his Alice in Wonderland as a result of seeing Méliès’s wor. My own music responded to the frenetic images and absurdity of the film, but also to the beauty of its transitional images and sense of wonder.