In his latest review, The Washington Post's Michael Andor Brodeur calls Cosmic Cycles, A Space Symphony “a harmonically rewarding wander through the stars that finds the substantial 81-piece orchestra — commandingly conducted by Piotr Gajewski — achieving unexpected lightness.”
National Philharmonic mounted the world premiere on May 11 at Capital One Hall. It was followed by a sold-out performance on May 13 at the Music Center at Strathmore.
Mr. Brodeur writes, “A grand seven-movement narrative arc emerges from the sequence of images and music, as the presentation shuttles listeners from the furnace of the sun to the cradle of the Earth, across the expanse of our still-mysterious solar system and onward into the squiggly lines and black holes of the unknown.”
Mr. Brodeur’s goes on to say, “It’s not easy to wick drama from data or sentiment from space, but Dehlinger’s orchestrations for potentially stale stills and inscrutable-but-pretty mathematics packed an unexpected emotional punch. Gajewski, along with his orchestra, was in fine form, handling the work’s many swerves and dives with ease and confidence. Kudos in particular to concertmaster Laura Colgate, whose several solos left gleaming trails in the air.”
The performance concluded with an encore, Return to the Moon, A Fanfare to Artemis, a powerful anthem that Dehlinger composed to mark the rollout of NASA’s Space Launch System, the main launch vehicle of the Artemis lunar program.
Mr. Brodeur writes, “It was perhaps the most traditionally triumphant-sounding skyward salute of the evening — the Space Force could learn a thing or two. But with its big blasts of brass, it was also a reminder of what we want from the heavens in the first place: a sign that someone’s listening.”