Travellers' Tales

by Carl Sagan
A Personal Voyage
13 episodes
See below for
DVD purchasing options
(Carl Sagan's Cosmos episode no. 6)
  • written by Carl Sagan and Ann Druyan & Steven Soter
  • series director & executive producer Adrian Malone
  • Spaceship directed by Rob McCain
  • other sequences directed by Richard J. Wells, David Kennard, and
    Geoffrey Haines-Stiles and David F. Oyster
  • edited by James Latham (film) and Roy Stewart (videotape)

  • Music by Vangelis, Wm. Jeffery Boydstun, and others...
  • 1 documentary @ 61 minutes, after 1990's update

Data Capsule Review

by Martin Izsak

Well, the world is now entering a new era in which many acronym agencies like NASA are getting their lies and secrets exposed like never before. What are we to believe about space exploration as these kinds of discoveries are revealed? My own personal take is that, of course NASA has been involved in secrecies, quite easily outright lies as well... but I think in most cases this is to hide their capabilities and the things they know, not to try to boost themselves and claim capabilities that they didn't have. So for example, to the question of whether or not the moon landings are fake, I will say that I believe NASA did send actual missions to the moon, and probes to Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, and the other planets of the solar system. I don't think we the public get to see all of the photos and films and fully complete sets of data. On top of this, NASA may indeed have faked some photos/films to put out in place of the real photos/films that they couldn't show us. Indeed, the line between real imagery and special effects just in "Cosmos" is often deliberately blurred, with some degree of artistic merit. Plus, I think there are nutcases paid to create fake stuff and then debunk it, to deliberately discredit other people or ideas by association, and to sow confusion, uncertainty, and distrust. So... use your own discernment in everything.

In any case, here is some of what NASA and Carl Sagan collaborated on putting out for public consumption between 1979 and the early 1990s. I will let my previous enthusiasm for it in this article remain intact, after this note about the skepticism I also have that remains underneath it, because in the end I believe there is a case to be made for the importance of Humanity to take pride in its endeavours to search for knowledge, explore the unknown, create technology and build tools to those ends, and celebrate such things artistically. This episode hits that mark beautifully.

Okay, this episode is just simply THE BEST. Hands down, by far, still my absolute favourite of the entire Cosmos series.
The great big glorious plus that it holds over all other episodes of the series is the boldness of marching straight into NASA's JPL headquarters and filming then-live coverage of brand new discoveries made by Voyager 2's flyby of Jupiter and its moon Europa, in addition to much brand new scientific speculation on the various phenomena that might be behind all the fantastic new detailed pictures acquired. Even though that's only half of the episode, the primary metaphor that Voyager's travels mirror those of exploring sea vessels from times before is apt and powerfully portrayed, and does a good job of integrating the historical recreations of 1600's Holland into a fully cohesive episode.

The episode begins with a tantalizing teaser showing Carl Sagan passing through security at JPL, quickly glimpsing the faces of many NASA personnel hard at work guiding and monitoring Voyager 2's tricky maneuvers. We get a few details of Voyager's launch and an introduction to its Golden Record and all the music and other data it contains.

In fact, let's talk music for a minute. Not only does "Cosmos" indulge deeply in the early electronic / new age genre for its soundtrack, in addition to its indulgence in traditional orchestral classical music, but Sagan, Ann Druyan (creative director of Voyager's Interstellar Message Project), and their collaborators pretty much invented the genre of "World Music" when they put together Voyager's Golden Record. What many may not realize is just how many of those pieces of music additionally ended up on the soundtrack for Cosmos throughout its 13-episode run. Indulging and celebrating two genres while inventing a third is a really rich musical palette for any series, and it gets even better yet....

It isn't long before the episode likens Voyager's explorations to those of sailing ships from centuries ago, detailing some of the discoveries of those past journeys, and making mention of many historical figures and the various countries that they represented and made contact with. Most of the first half of the episode then settles into historical mode.

The recreations of Holland in the 1600's remain quite extensive and fleshed out long before we focus on any central players. Highlighted instead is the refreshingly open society and its political climate. Holland at that time was apparently keen to use its new independence from Spain to build ships to trade goods and knowledge with the rest of the world, and just as travel broadens the open inquiring mind, Holland's elite were soon defined by intellectual pursuit and an age of enlightenment.

Participants include:

Dr. Carl Sagan

Astronomer, host, narrator
Voyager imaging team

Professor of Astronomy and Space Sciences,
Cornell University, Ithaca, New York

Larry Soderblom

Voyager imaging team
NASA / Jet Propulsion Laboratories

Lonnie Lane

Voyager deputy project scientist
NASA / Jet Propulsion Laboratories

Linda Morabito

Voyager navigation team
NASA / Jet Propulsion Laboratories

discovered the first active volcano beyond the Earth on Io by computer enhancing navigational images from Voyager 1.

Dr. Torrance V. Johnson

Voyager imaging science team
NASA / Jet Propulsion Laboratories

Dr. Edward C. Stone

Voyager project Chief Scientist
NASA / Jet Propulsion Laboratories
California Institute of Technology (CALTECH)

And thanks to this section of the show, I've decided I really love a good Bassoon Concerto. Apparently, the very first editions of Cosmos featured Carl Maria von Weber's "Hungarian Rondo" at about this point, which is a great and fun piece. However, it was obviously replaced, and I couldn't rest until I figured out what the awesome new piece was. Lots of listening, and trial and error, eventually revealed the answer: Antonio Vivaldi's "La Notte: Sorge L'Aurora". Awesome! This is possibly even better than the piece it replaced, and a seriously under-appreciated work in the annals of the great Bassoon Concerti, what with everyone turning to Weber and Mozart's famous few Bassoon pieces, while missing out on this glorious needle in Vivaldi's great haystack of 39 Bassoon works.

If that's not enough, possibly the most awesome of all is that we get a beautiful gentle Contrapunto for 2 lutes composed by Galileo's father Vincenzo Galilei, which is playing on the soundtrack as Sagan mentions the great and infamous astronomer. That is a really classy touch, as well as a wonderful piece of music.

Though it does seem that Galileo should have accepted invitations to come to Holland to escape his persecutors, Sagan's story really centers most on Christiaan Huygens - an astronomer, inventor, and benefactor of similar enquiring minds.

Here we get mention of the invention of the microscope and, subsequently, the telescope, while we learn of the scientific use to which these devices were put by Huygens and his closest colleagues. Also, since I'm always far more interested in top-down views of the orbits of the planets around the sun (rather than astrological-sounding notions of them being "in" various constellations of the zodiac), I am quite impressed that Christiaan Huygens managed to build a mechanical astrocomputer in 1682 that displays such a top-down view of our solar system. I'm not sure though why he converted his name into the Latin "Hugenius" when engraving it onto the machine. My instinct is always to keep any individual's name spelt and pronounced as it was in its original language.

Though I really have no idea how much spin may have been put on the differences in political and philosophical climate between Holland at this time and the rest of Europe, I think it's a really positive thing for us viewers to believe it was exactly the way Sagan, Druyan, and Soter say it was, an oasis for free thought, trade of goods and knowledge, and indulgence in scientific curiosity. In particular, the nurturing environment seen here created by Constantijn Huygens in which his son Christiaan and their collaborators flourished, and advanced the cause of Human endeavours, gives us a good benchmark to strive towards today. I do like to hold up pristine example of the best of Human behaviour for the rest of us to aim for, and this is a really nice one here.

The second half is GOLD for astronomical science. Voyager 1 had already taken revealing photos of Jupiter and 3 of its 4 big moons: Io, Ganymede, and Callisto. Sagan then takes his camera and audience inside NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratories in July 1979, on the very day that our first close-up pictures of Jupiter's second moon Europa beam into the room from Voyager 2, and we see some of the initial analysis by Sagan and the NASA team to figure out what the icy crust is, and what may lie beneath. Could it be an ocean? How could there be enough heat to keep it liquid? Could it create geological activity on the crust? Could that explain the disappearance of impact craters on the surface? Weeks later, the cameras return, and they're still theorizing and conjecturing. Great history in the making. Awesome!

And unlike many of today's documentaries, we're not looking at CGI recreations. We get actual photos and film of the real places, as seen by NASA for the first time. Amazing.

Interesting also is the section describing how the pictures were obtained - and it's not so much because digital picture transmission is in any way still unique. We do this all the time now, taking pictures with our phones and sending them instantly all around the world. What is unique, and you see it in detail in this film, is the great quantity of specialized electronic equipment, large banks of relays, and HUGE storage drums and machines which were necessary to pull this off for the first time back in 1979. Compare all that with your phone, and think about how far we've advanced in such a short time. Whoa.

Another high-point is the discovery of the first active volcanoes beyond the Earth on the moon Io, with image processor Linda Morabito interviewed, and taking us through the images and enhancements she performed to lead us to this particular momentous occasion.

All this was still early days for Voyagers 1 and 2, as they made flybys of their first planet, Jupiter. This Cosmos episode is excellent for generating interest in the Voyager mission, by showing us some of its earliest discoveries as they happened, but I don't think anyone involved here realized how much longer Voyager's mission would last. Carl Sagan himself seems to take it as a given that all four giant planets of our solar system would be visited. If you look closely and don't blink, you might also glimpse this mission's Lead Scientist Dr. Ed Stone having a conversation with Sagan and Larry Soderblom in a hallway at one point - although we don't quite learn here exactly how much of a key figure Stone is in the continuing story of Voyager.

Some of the things that this episode doesn't quite get around to covering include the fact that Stone has always maintained that Voyager's primary mission was only to go as far as Jupiter and Saturn, in part because the spacecrafts' manufacturers never guaranteed that the equipment would still function beyond that.

Well, what "Cosmos" couldn't really predict was that the Voyagers proved to be hugely exceptional workhorses in NASA's arsenal. As recently as 2010-2011, they were still returning fascinating new data, and Ed Stone was still an active member of its scientific operational team. Voyager 1 made a unique move at Saturn, so that the spacecraft's view of the sun would be eclipsed by Saturn's rings and its moon Titan, giving us readings of sunlight that might indicate the composition of Titan's atmosphere and the rings. However, the Voyager crafts aren't really jetting around the solar system under their own power, they are merely "coasting" along, using tiny thrusts to make minor adjustments in their steering, and relying on the intense gravity of each passing planet for each major adjustment in their course and each increase in their speed. To do the Titan maneuver at Saturn, Voyager 1 had to sacrifice its chance to aim itself towards Uranus. Instead it ended up on a trajectory that took it up far north of the plane of the planets. Only Voyager 2 was allowed to make the correct move at Saturn to go on to Uranus and Neptune, but one of the reasons why Voyager 2 is one of my favourite space probes of all time is that to this day it is still the only spacecraft we have sent to either Uranus or Neptune, and most of the details of what we know about those two planets and their rings and moons comes from the brief Voyager 2 flybys. In fact, when the series "The Universe" made an episode about "The Outer Planets", sure enough they went right back to Ed Stone to pick his brain on the subject.

The Voyagers' tiny computer memories have since been reprogrammed by remote such that they "don't remember how" to operate their optical cameras anymore. As they are now too far from the sun to get enough light to take decent photos of anything anyway, they have been reprogrammed for a new mission instead. The Voyagers are now focused on taking readings of solar wind charged particles, which is Ed Stone's area of speciality, to try to define for the first time the properties of the outer boundaries of the sun's influence, and what kind of environment exists outside that bubble in the neighbouring interstellar area of our galaxy. We've never been there before. Our scientists have theories, but don't actually know yet what's out there. Voyagers 1 and 2 are still out there, taking readings, finding out, keenly radioing back to us messages like "I'm not dead yet..." and "I feel the charged particle wind at this speed and this direction", and allowing us to sketch our first crude map of the galaxy's solar trade winds. Cool.

I could lap this stuff up all day. "Cosmos" episode 6 whets the appetite most excellently, and was certainly most instrumental in getting me to dig deeper into a topic that was well worth exploring.

What the episode can portray itself is Carl Sagan in his dandelion-seed-shaped ship of the imagination, cruising the route past the planets that he still hoped both Voyagers might take - still one of the special effects highlights of the series. He also comes back circa 1990 for an update segment, sadly too short to encompass all that Voyager had learned up to its passage by Neptune the previous year, but Sagan still manages to show off the final farewell solar system image he had the Voyagers take without really having the time to explain its confusing layout, and he also hints at his new "Pale Blue Dot" metaphor.

Contagious is Sagan's enthusiasm for the discoveries that would be made at Saturn by the follow-up Cassini probe - another of my favourites in the space program because it's been the best so far at showing how to do one of these big planets right. Cassini has now gone to Saturn and has STAYED IN ORBIT for YEARS so far, continuously maneuvered by remote to take closer looks at the rings, or various areas of the planet surface be it the poles or the equator, or to take closer looks at one of its moons or another, all as the ideas come to the scientists on the ground, as one thing peaks their curiosity and leads them to want to look closer at something else. And the detachable probe from Cassini that went down to the surface of Titan, which Sagan is so excited about... well, episode six of Cosmos certainly leaves us in no doubt as to why that probe was named Huygens, as it has primed us by noting that this moon was in fact discovered via telescope by Christiaan Huygens all those centuries ago, and all of the speculations that Huygens noted in his book "The Celestial Worlds Discovered" alongside his preliminary studies of Saturn and the other planets might now have some chance at being tested by these initial robotic explorations.

At any rate, this is one episode of Cosmos where I have to give it a score of 100% for excellent, relevant, superbly inspiring content - delivered with the undeniably satisfying, relaxed, poetic style of Sagan's original series. The only possible improvement that could be made is simply to GIVE US MORE, and I think we'll be needing more episodes for that. "Travellers' Tales" is simply the best.

International Titles:

Deutsch: Unser Kosmos - "Reiseberichte – gestern und heute"

Español: Cosmos - "Relatos de viajeros"

Magyar: Kozmosz - "Utazók meséi"

Русский: Космос - "Приключения путешественников"
или "Сказки путешественников"

Français: "Récits de voyageurs"

Italiano: "Racconti di viaggiatori"

For this episode, the German 44 minute cutdown version contains a lot of small cuts here and there, often to remove only a single sentence, or to speed up a sequence by leaving out the least interesting shots and having their narrator speak faster than Carl Sagan had done. There are a few bigger cuts in places - the one I agree with most skipped past a seeming contradiction in Huygens' attitude that aliens could be very different from us, but were probably the same as Europeans, habits and all. Sadly, almost all the other cuts were from the NASA portions of the episode. JPL's actual introduction has been clipped out of the opening NASA scenes, while many of the best discussions exploring the new data from Voyager are gone, including everything from Soderblom, Lane, and Morabito. What were the Germans thinking? Possibly they wanted to avoid hiring any more voice talent to translate additional voices. At any rate, this was not one of their best examples of how to cut an episode down.

I've seen/heard this episode translated into Hungarian with the 1980 music sequence, indicating that they did a much more thorough and respectable job of translating the whole thing, and possibly as early as the 1980's. Additional voices are brought in to translate Soderblom, Lane, and Morabito, while less significant background chatter is left in the original English.

The Music - Episode 6

(Anything written in green text represents a name I made up to help keep some music better identified in my own head.
Also, golden yellow backgrounds indicate selections that also appear on Voyager's Golden Record,
launched into interstellar space as a time capsule of Human culture.)
Collectors' Edition 2000 (DVD) Original 1980
Composer/PerformerTitle 2000 Composer/PerformerTitle 1980Notes
VangelisSymphony to the Powers B, Movement Three
also known as "Theme from Cosmos"
Title Music
Wm. Jeffery BoydstunMetamorphosis HeldonPerspective I
VangelisSymphony to the Powers B, Movement Two
J.S. BachPartita No. 3 - (included on Voyager's golden record)

continuing with tiny snippets from Voyager's golden record "Sounds of Earth",
also released publicly as "Murmurs of Earth":
Young girl of
Peruvian Wedding Song
(female vocal, recorded by John Cohen)
Tom Djawa, Mudpo,
and Waliparu
Moikoi Song
(Devil Bird)
Ludwig van BeethovenSymphony 5 (infamous phrase)
Musicians from AncashPeruvian Panpipes (Roncadoras) and Drums
Chuck BerryJohnny B Goode
Traditional Chinese
/ Guan Pinghu
Liu Shui (Flowing Streams)
Georgia Men's ChoirTchakrulo

Nikolai Rimsky-KorsakovThe Tale of Tsar Saltan - Movement 2
"The Tsarina in a Barrel at Sea"
Alan HovhanessSymphony No. 19 - "Trekking Theme" excerpt
Antonio VivaldiBassoon Concerto RV501 "La Notte"
Final Movement: "Sorge L'Aurora"
Carl M. v. WeberHungarian Rondoback to 1600's
Marc-Antoine CharpentierTe Deum (H. 146) - Prelude Johann Friedrich
Concerto in D Major
for Trumpet & 2 Oboes
Movement 1
Gottfried Finger Sonata in C-Major for Trumpet, Oboe, Basso Continuo
Movement 2a: Adagio section (uniquely embellished)
Johann Friedrich
Concerto in D Major
for Trumpet & 2 Oboes
Movement 2
Alan HovhanessSymphony No. 19 - "Sea Slog" excerpt
Vincenzo Galilei
father of Galileo!
Contrapunto II
(performed by Monika & Jürgen Rost as "Contrapuncto")
Contrapunto II
(performed by Anthony Rooley & J. Tyler
as "Contrapunto II")
...playing as
Galileo is
Nikolai Rimsky-KorsakovRussian Easter Festival Overture
Gottfried Finger Sonata in C-Major for Trumpet, Oboe, Basso Continuo
Movement 2b: Andante section (embellished)
John Dowland
/ Frans Brüggen
Pavan Lacrimae
(2nd half)
Charles CouperinSuite in A minor, Movement 5: La Piémontoise
shorter version (61 seconds), played on harpsichord by Glen Wilson
Charles CouperinChaconne in D Minor - Gustafson #57 "La Complaignante"
(played on harpsichord by Glen Wilson)
Wm. Jeffery BoydstunMetamorphosis HeldonPerspective I
Wm. Jeffery Boydstun
In Motion Delta 02 What's this?Let's listen...
VangelisA Way
Wm. Jeffery BoydstunIn Motion Delta 03 Steve ReichMusic for 18 Musicians
Charles CouperinChaconne in D Minor - Gustafson #57 "La Complaignante"
(played on harpsichord by Glen Wilson)
Wm. Jeffery BoydstunMetamorphosis VangelisA Way
Nikolai Rimsky-KorsakovThe Tale of Tsar Saltan - Movement 2
"The Tsarina in a Barrel at Sea"
Dmitri ShostakovichSymph. 11 Mvmt. 1 - "The Palace Square",
part B - Kepler's Theme What's this?
Alec GouldMasque - (formerly listed as:
Cheshire Gravity, Flatland, and Foot People)
(humorous waltz for string quartet)
Jacob Jan Van Eyck
/ Frans Brüggen
Doen Daphne D'over
Schoone Maeght
Wild Tales of
Foot People
VangelisTheme from Cosmos
Antonio VivaldiBassoon Concerto RV501 "La Notte"
Movement 2: "Fantasmi" (Presto)
(middle section looped twice)
Carl M. v. WeberHungarian Rondo(digital picture
& storage)
Gottfried Finger Sonata in C-Major for Trumpet, Oboe, Basso Continuo
Movement 1 of 4: "King of Pies" What's this?
Johann Friedrich
Concerto in D Major
for Trumpet & 2 Oboes
Movement 2
Sagan, Lane,
& Soderblom
Traditional Chinese
/ Guan Pinghu
Liu Shui (Flowing Streams) (2 substantial cues) Io, Volcanoes
Alan HovhanessSymphony No. 19 - "Sea Slog" excerpt
Wm. Jeffery BoydstunMetamorphosis HeldonPerspective I
VangelisTheme from Cosmos
Alan HovhanessSymphony No. 19 - "Trekking Theme" excerpt

Dmitri Shostakovich

Symph. 11 Mvmt. 1 - "The Palace Square", part A transitioning into part B(a good
6 minute
VangelisTheme from Cosmos
VangelisEntends-Tu Les Chiens Aboyer? #1 n/aCosmos Update
Wm. Jeffery BoydstunMetamorphosiscredits
VangelisComet 16Collector's Edition 2000 Credits

(Note: Glen Wilson writes that the harpsichord pieces composed by Charles Couperin are often misattributed to his brother Louis Couperin.)

It is with great glee that I can now announce the exact recordings of bassoon music used in later versions of the original Cosmos. The go-to album for these pieces is called "Six Concerti for Bassoon, Strings and Harpsichord" featuring Gábor Janota on Bassoon, accompanied by the Ferenc Liszt Chamber Orchestra conducted by Frigyes Sándor. However, to be truly exact, one needs to go back to the original vinyl LP record from Hungaroton, code-numbered SLPX 11643 - the one with the blue cover. Although there is no date given for the performance or the publishing of the vinyl record, there is a brief biography of Janota that does not list anything beyond 1972. Some accounts give the date of the record as 1980, so the pieces were probably performed sometime in the intervening 8 years. This means they would be in existence in time to appear on 1986's Cosmos: a Special Edition, as well as the 2000 Collectors' Edition.

It seems something interesting happened in 1987, AFTER Cosmos began to use the album - select recordings from this album and its sister album (the gold one) were remastered to digital format and put out on audio CD. It's possible there may have been an all-new mix-down from multitrack tape that adjusted the volume of the instruments, but one thing is clear: A very large echo was added which helped bury the sound of the bassoon in places. Also, where the vinyl albums had identified the pieces by the Fanna VIII catalogue numbers, the CD now identified them by the more modern RV catalogue numbers. I shall attempt to chart the move here:
A1. Concerto in B Flat Major
"La Notte"
F. No. 1RV #501 -----> 1. Concerto RV 501
A2. Concerto in C minorF. No. 14RV #480
A3. Concerto in C MajorF. No. 21RV #475
B1. Concerto in E minorF. No. 6RV #484
B2. Concerto in G minorF. No. 11RV #496 -----> 2. Concerto RV 496
B3. Concerto in G MajorF. No. 29RV #492
Concerto in G MajorF. No. 276RV #493 -----> 3. Concerto RV 493
Concerto in A minorF. No. 72RV #497 -----> 4. Concerto RV 497
Concerto in C MajorF. No. 118RV #473 -----> 5. Concerto RV 473
Concerto in F MajorF. No. 278RV #490 -----> 6. Concerto RV 490
Concerto in C MajorF. No. 238RV #472

So, the RV 501 Concerto recording made a move here from vinyl to CD, but was significantly altered in the process. Me, I strongly prefer the vinyl version, which is what you hear in episode 6 here. Note also that the third concerto from the blue album - RV 475 - makes an appearance in Cosmos episode 12, as the second movement backs the introduction of Champollion. It unfortunately has not made the move from vinyl to CD yet, as far as I can tell. Add to all this that Gábor Janota is awesome, and I just had to buy the vinyl record.

More about The blue Gábor Janota Bassoon LP record of Six Vivaldi Concerti on

Most of Vivaldi's Concerti above are all subdivided into the standard fast-slow-fast 3-movement structure. However, the one that we want most (RV501) defies the standards and can be found subdivided into 3, 4, or 5 movements by various performers and record companies. According to the notes on the blue Janota vinyl LP, which are repeated in Hungarian, English, German, and Russian, "the three movement order is dissolved..." and "the work consists of five continuous sections". Translated from the original Italian, these are:


"La Notte""Az éjszaka""The Night""Die Nacht""Ночь"
2"I fantasmi"(1:38)"A kisértetek""The Phantoms""Die Gespenster""Призраки"
4"Il Sonno"(1:33)"Az álom""The Dream""Der Traum""Сон"
5"Sorge L'Aurora"(3:06)"Napfelkelte""The Sunrise""Sonnenaufgang""Восход солница"

These are the notes on the back cover; the vinyl itself presents each concerto as a single band. Three bands per side for a total of six concerti. However, after being transferred to CD, the "I fantasmi" and "Presto" sections were combined, and the same performance of this concerto was structured (and in .mp3 format priced) as four separate tracks. Isn't inconsistency in music fun?

Antonio Vivaldi
Bassoon Concertos

includes RV 501 "La Notte"

performed by Gábor Janota
and the Liszt Ferenc Chamber Orchestra

mp3 Album

Click on the Amazon symbol for your region to be taken to Amazon's page, where you may listen to 30 second samples....



There are quite a number of recordings of Vivaldi's La Notte Bassoon Concerto floating around, but this is one of the few that truly satisfies. Janota nails every note just the way we'd want, delivering an excellent performance on the bassoon. It's a good match to the recording on Cosmos in style and timing (since it is the exact performance), and it's great for general listening at home. However, in comparison with other recordings, the showcased bassoon sounds a bit distant and buried in the mix of other instruments... It would have been nice to have left it more in the foreground without all that extra echo, as it had been on the original vinyl LP record.
Track Listing:

Bassoon Concerto in B-Flat Major, RV 501, "La Notte":
1. Movement 1: Largo - Andante molto (2:32)
2. Movement 2: Fantasmi: Presto (2:11)
3. Movement 3: Il Sonno: Andante molto (1:36)
4. Movement 4: Sorge L'Aurora: Allegro (3:09)

Bassoon Concerto in G Minor, RV 496:
5. Movement 1: Allegro (3:31)
6. Movement 2: Largo (1:56)
7. Movement 3: Allegro (3:01)

Bassoon Concerto in G Major, RV 493:
8. Movement 1: Allegro ma poco (3:14)
9. Movement 2: Largo (3:03)
10. Movement 3: Allegro (2:13)

Bassoon Concerto in A Minor, RV 497:
11. Movement 1: Allegro molto (4:00)
12. Movement 2: Andante molto (3:50)
13. Movement 3: Allegro (3:08)

Bassoon Concerto in C Major, RV 473:
14. Movement 1: Allegro (3:32)
15. Movement 2: Largo (3:45)
16. Movement 3: Minuetto (4:59)

Bassoon Concerto in F Major, RV 490:
17. Movement 1: Allegro (4:22)
18. Movement 2: Larghetto (2:57)
19. Movement 3: Allegro (3:21)

Antonio Vivaldi
Complete Bassoon Concertos - Volume 2

includes RV 501 "La Notte"
and RV 475

performed by Tamás Benkócs
and the Nicolaus Esterházy Sinfonia

Audio CD and mp3 Album




This is another good recording of Vivaldi's La Notte Bassoon Concerto. Though the performance on the Bassoon is a bit different to what my ear considers the ideal style, the recording actually has a better mix than the other CD version above, bringing the bassoon properly to the fore and balancing it nicely amongst the rest of the orchestra. For the fourth movement, "Sorge L'Aurora", this is a great version to have with you if you want to listen while driving in the car.

This CD also contains the 2nd movement of RV 475,
which can be heard in episode 12. It's not the exact recording though; for that you need the blue Janota vinyl LP listed above.

Track Listing:

Bassoon Concerto in F Major, RV 486:
1. Movement 1: Allegro (3:17)
2. Movement 2: Largo (2:06)
3. Movement 3: Allegro (2:38)

Bassoon Concerto in C Major, RV 475:
4. Movement 1: Allegro non molto (3:46)
5. Movement 2: Adagio (2:48)
6. Movement 3: Allegro non molto (2:59)

Bassoon Concerto in B-Flat Major, RV 501, "La Notte":
7. Movement 1: Largo - Andante molto (1:47)
8. Movement 2: I Fantasmi (2:05)
9. Movement 3: Il Sonno (1:45)
10. Movement 4: Sorge L'Aurora (2:53)

Bassoon Concerto in F Major, RV 488:
11. Movement 1: Allegro non molto (2:55)
12. Movement 2: Largo (2:35)
13. Movement 3: Allegro (2:25)

Bassoon Concerto in B-Flat Major, RV 504:
14. Movement 1: Allegro ma poco (4:52)
15. Movement 2: Largetto (2:36)
16. Movement 3: Allegro (3:28)

Bassoon Concerto in C Major, RV 467:
17. Movement 1: Allegro (3:56)
18. Movement 2: Andante (2:43)
19. Movement 3: Allegro (3:21)

Vincenzo Galilei
Contrapunto II

mp3 album of lute music
composed by Galileo's father
and others...

Close up of composer credits:

U.S. mp3 album

U.K. mp3 album

original vinyl LP:

Lieder und Tänze auf der Laute
Vinyl LP record

So, from this album you will want
track 29, which appears here in episode 6, and
track 31, which appears later in episode 8.

These are the EXACT recordings used in modern presentations of Cosmos. However, they were only recorded in 1987; a different version of "Contrapunto II" was used on the original 1980 broadcast.

Lieder & Tänze auf die Lauten
(Songs & Dances for Lute)
mp3 album
performed by Monika and Jürgen Rost

Track Listing:

Seite 1 (Side 1)

1. Ich gieng wol bey der nacht (1:11)
2. Das Elselein (0:56)

Der ander Theil des Lautenbuchs:
3. Preambel (1:06)
4. Die prunlein die da fliessen (1:44)
5. Hier folget ein welscher tantz (1:38)

6. Entlaubet ist der Walde (1:00)
7. Der gestreifft Danntz (0:46)
8. Allemande, and Nachtanz (2:43)
9. Passamezzo (2:41)
10. Gagliarde (1:40)
11. A Fantasy (2:20)
12. A Toy (1:19)
13. A Galliard (1:03)
14. Piper's Pavan, P. 8 (4:45)
15. Dowland's Galliard, P. 20 (0:42)
16. Galliard in G Minor, P. 21 (0:58)
17. Semper Dowland semper dolens, P. 9 (3:02)
18. My Lord Willoughby's Welcome Home, P. 66 (1:47)
19. Gagliarde [arr. for 2 guitars] (1:26)

Seite 2 (Side 2)

20. Fantasia (Alonso Mudarra) (2:12)
21. Pavana muy Ilana para tañer (Diego Pisador) (1:32)
22. Soneto I und II (Enriquez de Valderràbano) (2:23)
23. Fantasia del quarto tono (Luys Milàn) (2:32)
24. Gallarda (Alonso Mudarra) (1:29)

composed by Jean-Baptiste Besarde:
25. Allemande (1:10)
26. Volte (0:38)
27. Gagliarde Dolorata (2:17)
28. Courante (1:16)

composed by Vincenzo Galilei:
29. Contrapuncto (2:21)*
30. Urania (1:00)
31. Fantasia ottava (3:18)*
32. Calliope (0:55)
33. Recercare (1:19)
34. Euterpe (1:35)

35. Pass'e mezzo (Simone Molinaro) (6:02)

* used in Cosmos

Gottfried Finger (1660's-1730)
Sonate in C-Dur für Trompete, Oboe und Basso continuo

Mv. 1: Allegro (King of Pies)
Mv. 2: Adagio, Andante
Mv. 3: Allegro
Mv. 4: Grave, Vivace

CD Album




This version of Finger's Sonata in C Major
performed by trumpet player Ludwig Güttler and
the Leipziger Bach-Collegium group that he formed and
often conducts is indeed the EXACT RECORDING used
in Cosmos episodes 6 and 9.

This album gives you the second movement which also featured in episode 6, and the correct key for the title of the Sonata: C-Dur (C Major).

And yes, a cello is often included in the ensemble, but never mentioned in the title of the piece.

Kammermusik für Trompete
(Chamber Music For Trumpet)
(Musique de chambre pour trompette)

Ludwig Güttler und das Leipziger Bach-Collegium

Track Listing:

  1. Alessandro Stradella - Sinfonia D-dur zur Serenata
    "Il Barcheggio" für Trompete, Flöte, Oboe, Violine and Basso continuo (7:00)

  2. Gottfried Finger - Sonata C-dur für Trompete, Oboe and Basso continuo (7:44):
    • Mvmt. 1 - Allegro (King of Pies - 1:22)
    • Mvmt. 2 - Adagio, Andante (1:54)
    • Mvmt. 3 - Allegro (0:52)
    • Mvmt. 4 - Grave, Vivace (3:33)

  3. Arcangelo Corelli - Sonata D-dur für Trompete, Oboe, Violine und Basso continuo (6:37)
  4. Giovanni Legrenzi - Sonata a-moll "La Buscha" für Trompete, Flöte, Oboe, Violine, Violoncello und Basso continuo (4:44)
  5. Georg Philipp Telemann - Concerto D-dur für Trompete, 2 Oboen und Basso continuo (14:04)
  6. Domenico Gabrielli - Sonata D-dur für Trompete, Flöte, Oboe, Violine, Violoncello
    und Basso continuo (6:24)

Gottfried Finger (1660's-1730)
King of Pies

Sonate in C-Dur für Trompete, Oboe und Basso continuo
Movement 1

mp3 track



(Those looking for a quick mp3 download of this piece may be interested in this version, which I have enjoyed quite a bit.)
Gottfried Finger
King of Pies

"better" known as
Sonata in C-Major for Trumpet, Oboe and Basso continuo
Movement 1: (Allegro/"ohne Bezeichnung")

composed by Gottfried Finger
performed by Leipziger Barocksolisten
(Baroque Soloists of the city of Leipzig)
mp3 track

Though the oboe performance here tries to get a bit too fancy for my tastes in one or two moments, this remains one of the nicest available recordings of the first movement of this piece that I've been able to find so far. Movement 1 is a pretty good match for the recording heard in "Cosmos" episodes 6 and 9, with good balance between all three instruments in the mix.

However, Movement 2 (the next track) is played about twice as fast on this album as in Cosmos episode 6, and doesn't have those extensive embellishments.

Murmurs of Earth
Voyager Golden Record

2-disc CD album

This album contains music, sounds, picture data, and greetings in multiple languages that were on the Voyager Interstellar Record launched with the two Voyager spacecraft now traveling beyond the edge of our solar system.


When looking for the music collected on Voyager's Golden Record, BE WARNED - There are several different albums out there that all look very similar, but may be quite disappointing. There's one widely available version with a NEARLY identical cover that has just the sounds and greetings on it - no music whatsoever! This version with the music AND COMPUTER DATA now seems to be a very rare out-of-print version.

However, a re-mastered compilation, new for 2018, is available from the listing below:

Track Listing:

Disc 1:
1. Computer Data (photos, etc.)
2-4. Greetings from the peoples of Earth
5. The Sounds of Earth
6-16. Music

Disc 2:
1-16. Music

(In no particular order,) Voyager's Record includes:

J.S. Bach - Brandenburg Concerto #2, Mv. 1
J.S. Bach - Partita #3 "Gavotte en Rondeau" (Arthur Grumiaux)
J.S. Bach - Well-Tempered Clavier Book 2 Prelude and Fugue #1
Beethoven - String Quartet #13 Cavatina
Beethoven - Symphony No. 5
"Flowing Streams" (Bo Ya / Kuan P'ing-hu)
"Kinds of Flowers" (Mangkunegara IV) (Indonesian Gamelan)
Senegal percussion
Solomon Island Panpipes
Zaire Pygmy girls' initiation song
Australian Aboriginal songs: "Morning Star" and "Devil Bird"
"El Cascabel" (Lorenzo Barcelata)
"Johnny B. Goode" (Chuck Berry)
New Guinea Men's House Song
Crane's Nest performed by Goro Yamaguchi
Mozart - Die Zauberflöte: Aria No. 14
Tchakrulo - Georgia Men's Choir
Peruvian Panpipes and Drums
Peruvian Wedding Song
Louis Armstrong - "Melancholy Blues"
"Mugam" (Kamil Jalilov) - Azerbaijan
Igor Stravinsky - The Rite of Spring, Sacrificial Dance (4:35)
Bulgarian (Shepherdess) folk song (Valya Balkanska)
Navajo Night Chant
"The Fairie Round" (Anthony Holborne)
"Jaat Kahan Ho" (Kesarbai Kerkar) (India)
Blind Willie Johnson - "Dark Was the Night"

Voyager Golden Record
40th Anniversary re-release
NEW for 2018 February

2-disc CD album
with hard-back book
Ozma Records

This album contains music, sounds, and greetings in multiple languages that were on the Voyager Interstellar Record launched with the two Voyager spacecraft now traveling beyond the edge of our solar system.




When looking for the music collected on Voyager's Golden Record, BE WARNED - There are several different albums out there that all look very similar, but may be quite disappointing. There's one widely available version that has just the sounds and greetings on it - no music whatsoever!

Quite a few of these same recordings were used on the soundtrack of Carl Sagan's original Cosmos series.

Track Listing:

1. Greeting from UN Secretary-General Kurt Waldheim
2. Greetings in 55 languages
5. UN Greetings / Whale Songs
4. The Sounds of Earth

5. J.S. Bach - Brandenburg Concerto #2, Mv. 1
6. "Kinds of Flowers" (Mangkunegara IV) (Indonesian Gamelan)
7. "Cengunmé" - Senegal percussion
8. "Alima" Zaire Mbuti Pygmy girls' initiation song
9. Australian Aboriginal songs: "Morning Star" and "Devil Bird"
10. "El Cascabel" (Lorenzo Barcelata)
11. "Johnny B. Goode" (Chuck Berry)
12. Mariuamang - New Guinea Men's House Song
13. Crane's Nest performed by Goro Yamaguchi
14. J.S. Bach - Partita #3 "Gavotte en Rondeau" (A.Grumiaux)
15. Mozart - Die Zauberflöte: Aria No. 14

16. Tchakrulo - Georgia Men's Choir
17. Peruvian (Ancash) Panpipes (Roncadoras) and Drums
18. Louis Armstrong - "Melancholy Blues"
19. "Mugam" (Kamil Jalilov) - Azerbaijan
20. Igor Stravinsky - The Rite of Spring, Sacrificial Dance (4:35)
21. J.S.Bach: Well-Tempered Clavier Book 2 Prelude+Fugue #1
22. Beethoven - Symphony No. 5
23. Bulgarian (Shepherdess) folk song (Valya Balkanska)
24. Navajo Night Chant
25. "The Fairie Round" (Anthony Holborne)
26. "Naranaratana Kookokoo" - Solomon Island Panpipes
27. Peruvian Wedding Song
28. "Flowing Streams" (Bo Ya / Kuan P'ing-hu)
29. "Jaat Kahan Ho" (Kesarbai Kerkar) (India)
30. Blind Willie Johnson - "Dark Was the Night"
31. Beethoven - String Quartet #13 Cavatina

This documentary has become available on DVD.
Cosmos - by Carl Sagan: A Personal Voyage

13 hour-long episodes, 1980



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Read the data capsule review for the next episode: "The Backbone of Night"

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