HERSCHEL UND DIE MUSIK DER STERNE
(Herschel and the Music of the Stars), 1985
"Conjectural history of the most delightful sort. Dazzles with its beauty and potential."
- The San Francisco Examiner
A feature-length music video by Percy Adlon
Josef Meinrad • Rolf Illig
Karin Anselm • Edgar Selge
Music by Joseph Haydn
Performed by the Philharmonia Hungarica and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Antal Dorati
With soprano Lucia Popp
Set design by Pop Art sculptor Eduardo Paolozzi
Screenplay by Percy Adlon
Produced by Eleonore Adlon
Produced for television by Benigna von Keyserlingk
Cinematography – Raimund Maxsein
Costume design – Regine Baetz
Joseph Haydn, the most famous composer of his time, takes the opportunity while in Oxford in 1792 to visit Sir William Herschel, (famed astronomer and discoverer of Uranus) and his “Wonder of Slough": a homemade reflecting telescope almost as tall as a church steeple. When the two giants of the Age of Reason meet, Haydn’s traditional world collides head-on with the cosmic experiences of Sir William, but they ultimately find less separating them than they might have thought. Adlon's film posits that this plausible but unconfirmed meeting inspired Haydn's greatest work, The Creation.
"The idea of bringing today’s view of the cosmos to the eyes of an 18th century person fascinated me. Also, the telescope itself, the wooden construction with the forty-foot-long metal tube, which remained in a little garden near Windsor Castle for almost two hundred years. And then, how Maestro Haydn, the 'ladies’ man' and 'Miss' Caroline would behave when I put them together. And combining Haydn’s musical movements with the moods of the play’s characters."
- Percy Adlon
Premiered at the San Francisco International Film Festival, 1986
A co-production of pelemele Film & Bayerischer Rundfunk
Shot on 2" video tape at BR Studios, Munich.
German with English subtitles, 97 min