The Harmony Of The Spheres: Armagh Observatory Events For Georgian Day


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Armagh Observatory, 16th November 2015: Armagh Observatory together with St Patrick´s Church of Ireland Cathedral, Armagh, is presenting a free organ recital “Harmony of the Spheres” of astronomy-based music for the City of Armagh´s Georgian Day, at 2.30pm on Saturday 28th November. The organist, Dominique Proust, is an astrophysicist and research scientist at the Observatory of Paris-Meudon, whilst also being the organist at Notre Dame de l´Assomption at Meudon, Paris. His research interests are in the fields of cosmology and clusters of galaxies, areas that complement the corresponding interests of the famous eighteenth century astronomer William Herschel, who discovered the planet Uranus in 1781 and whose organ music will be featured as part of the recital.

Dr Proust studied with Pierre Moreau and Jacques Marichal at Notre Dame de Paris and with Daniel Roth at St Suplice in Paris, and has given international concerts, broadcast on Radio France, and made a world premiere recording of the organ music of William Herschel. The Georgian Day concert will include pieces by Charles Racquet (1598-1664); Vicenze Galilei (1520-1591), father of the famous astronomer Galileo Galilei; Dietrich Buxtehude (1637-1707); Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750); William Herschel (1738-1822); Max Reger (1873-1916); Gustav Holst (1874-1932); Marcel Dupre (1886-1971); and Louis Vierne (1870-1937). This will be a very special opportunity to hear a wide range of astronomy-inspired music in the unique environment of St Patrick´s Church of Ireland Cathedral, which is well known for its organ and exceptional acoustics.

Among astronomical subjects featured are Venus, the “morning star” and the brightest planet now visible in the East before sunrise. This planet is specifically highlighted and features in four of the pieces. Jupiter, also currently visible in the morning sky, is featured in the movement “Jupiter” from Holst´s “The Planets” suite, while Dietrich Buxtehude´s “Passecaglia in D minor” was inspired by the phases of the Moon. The recital concludes with Louis Vierne´s “Hymn to the Sun”. See programme notes.

The Observatory will also be opening its doors at 11.00am on Saturday 28th November for a free 2-hour guided tour of the Astropark, the main Observatory Grade A listed building, the Human Orrery, and its new outdoor sonic-art installation “aroundNorth”. This fascinating tour will begin outside the main Georgian building complex at 11:00. Owing to space limitations, numbers are limited and advance booking with the Armagh Visitor Information Centre is recommended.

Those who wish to join the free tour should telephone or send an e-mail to the Armagh Visitor Information Centre; Tel: 028-3752-1800; E-mail: Access to the Observatory is from College Hill by the driveway shared with the Armstrong Primary School, close to the Courthouse and opposite the Royal Irish Fusiliers Museum. No booking is required for the organ recital, which is also free of charge.

For further information please contact: Mark Bailey at the Armagh Observatory, College Hill, Armagh, BT61 9DG. Tel.: 028-3752-2928; FAX: 028-3752-7174; mebat; URL:

Last Revised: 2015 November 20th