for solo piano (2016)

duration: 2'


program note

It takes just over two minutes for a spacecraft to reach the technical definition of space – 100km above the surface of the earth. Astronaut Chris Hadfield described how this terrifyingly quick journey felt by saying:

‘Launch is immensely powerful, and you can truly feel yourself in the centre of it, like riding an enormous wave or being pushed and lifted by a huge hand, or shaken in the jaws of a gigantic dog. The vehicle shakes and vibrates, and you are pinned hard down into your seat by the acceleration. As one set of engines finishes and the next starts, you are thrown forward and then shoved back, until suddenly, the engine shuts off and you are instantly weightless. Magic.’


Launch is an attempt to depict this journey in almost real time – the initial explosion of take-off followed by the thrill of shooting through the atmosphere until finally, silence shrouds the shuttle and it is free of the Earth.

audio sample

Launch - James Mountain