Bruce Babcock

Event Horizon

Instrumentation3232-4331 Perc(incl. timps, 4 pref. 5), harp, strings min
Length5:00 min
DifficultyModerate to difficult - includes collective ad lib unmetered sections - simple for professional orchestras - easily learned by college level and advanced high school orchestras.
CommentsIncludes optional hi-res digital video consisting of images taken by the NASA/Hubble space telescope. A cinematic piece broadly influenced by the work of John Corigliano and Witold Lutoslawski. Perfect for a concert featuring Holst's The Planets or any concert featuring other pieces with film or video. Works well as a brief overture on a concert of contemporary music.

For standard orchestra. Playable by four percussionists, although five allow a dedicated timpanist and would make things easier overall. Performances thus far have relied on four.

The NASA/Hubble video was created by documentary filmmaker Todd Mason.

Program Notes:

Event Horizon is a term used in the field of general relativity. It is most commonly associated with black holes and refers to the point at which the gravitational pull of the black hole becomes so great as to make escape impossible. Both my father and grandfather were astronomers, which inspired the title.

The images come from the NASA-Hubble space telescope and were put together for me by documentary filmmaker Todd Mason. Todd produced the PBS documentary Journey to Palomar, which is the story of pioneer American astronomer George Ellery Hale. Hale founded Yerkes, Mount Wilson and Mount Palomar observatories and built the largest telescope in the world four successive times.

Most of my career has been in television and film, where the film is created first, and then music is composed to enhance the story and the images. Event Horizon represents the exact opposite of that approach. In this case the music was composed and recorded first, and then images were selected to conform to the music. I did have images in my head while writing, though, and I'm sure Gustav Holst did as well while composing The Planets.
SourcesParts & Scores available directly from the composer.
Bruce Babcock
679 Arbor Street Pasadena, CA 91105-1519
(626) 529-5410
ExtrasPDFs of complete score available on request.
AIFF file of the recording available on request.
YouTube video of the piece:
Recorded on Navona Records.
HistoryRecent Performances:
Space Coast Symphony, Cocoa, Florida February 25 & 26, 2017
Orange County School for the Arts, Santa Ana, CA September 28, 2018
ContributorThe composer.

Steven A. Kennedy, Cinemusical: Film music fans will likely recognize the name Bruce Babcock. He is an Emmy-winning composer who also has numerous orchestration credits over a career spanning some 40 years. Event Horizon, recorded in 1984 with the Wembley Players, is his personal nod to the many film composers and teachers he has learned from and loves. The work opens with unsettling and eerie string writing against brass. It has a serial feel and is the most atonal of the pieces on the album (think some of Goldsmith's Alien score).

JOHN CORIGLIANO: EVENT HORIZON is wonderful...a terrific sense of the orchestra.

Kansas City Times: Haunting strings, sharply syncopating brass and rattling percussion...created a tense modernistic excitement.

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