The Lives of the Stars

(Atom Production, Stellar Phenomena)
by Carl Sagan
A Personal Voyage
13 episodes
See below for
DVD purchasing options
(Carl Sagan's Cosmos episode no. 9)
  • written by Carl Sagan and Ann Druyan & Steven Soter
  • series director & executive producer Adrian Malone
  • Cambridge sequences directed by David Kennard
  • Spaceship and studio sequences directed by Rob McCain
  • American sequences directed by David F. Oyster
  • Video Effects sequences directed by Richard J. Wells
  • edited by James Latham (film) and Roy Stewart (videotape)

  • Main Title Theme by Vangelis
  • Music by Vangelis, Synergy, Wm. Jeffery Boydstun, and others...
  • 1 documentary @ 59 minutes

Data Capsule Review

by Martin Izsak

This is, I think, the best episode in the second half of Sagan's "Cosmos" series. Apart from one later cartoony section, the visuals and music are particularly exceptional here. The subject matter is also fascinating all the way through and fairly solid.

The two main ideas - atom production and the life cycle of stars - relate to each other nicely, and Sagan is in top form expressing the details and history of the concepts with enthusiasm and clarity.

Participants include:

Dr. Carl Sagan

Astronomer, host, narrator
Voyager imaging team

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

Atoms of Cambridge

The first 1/3 of the episode is centered in and around Cambridge university, where atomic structure was first discovered. Sagan gives quite a complete explanation of atoms here, from size and scale, to their composition from the building blocks of protons, neutrons, and electrons, and the various forces that need to be rebalanced to put things together. These sequences are kept lively by creative use of the location and many different props. Quite good.

Since this sequence is primarily concerned with all you need to know for the later stellar phenomena sequences, it doesn't quite go far enough to cover topics like ions (basically atoms that do NOT have the right number of electrons to be electrically balanced), or the concept of building molecules out of atoms, which could get us into valences and completing various electron orbit shells. Perhaps that should ideally be in a different episode if done at all though, because the atomic section that we do get is a hefty chunk in itself, after which the episode makes a stylistic and visual shift, and enjoys a burst of new energy as it tackles some different ideas altogether.

Suns and Supernovae

The episode makes a successful return to outer space and the depths of time for its next segment. We begin with a review of what we know about the composition of our own sun, and the processes at work there. This is a visually beautiful stretch of the program. Modern presentations of the show feature some excellent full motion CGI, which is mixed with actual scientific photography and film of our own sun's churning gases and corona, ejecting plumes of material into space. Sagan then describes the details of the changes the sun will undergo in its lifetime, and contrasts this with other types of stars. This he does very nicely and succinctly, such that viewers are prompted to come out of this episode with a very clear idea of what many celestial objects are, and what it is that makes them different or special.

But the most definitive sequence of the episode comes next, as Sagan takes us in the familiar Ship of the Imagination to witness a supernova explosion. It's about the only time in the series that we get a bit of high tension and drama in the ship, which helps the sequence stand out a bit. Some of the graphics don't seem very modern, but they have a unique bit of charm to them. How well-built is Sagan's ship? How many of these forces can it withstand? The sequence wraps up by connecting the dots appreciably. It is thanks to prior Supernova explosions that we get to enjoy all the heavier atomic elements that these big powerful stars fused and synthesized in their interiors.

One thing I always found a bit creepy is the casual way Sagan handles radioactive uranium in the cave, adding only a pair of gloves to his usual outfit. It doesn't seem too surprising to me then, that he passed away at an early age....

Another most memorable bit is the portrayal of the timespan of Human observations of the Crab Nebula - ancient cultures recording what was likely a supernova explosion in that location, while modern astronomers regard the nebula as the gaseous outer shell of that supernova, and the rapidly spinning pulsar in the center as the supernova's core remains.

The details of what a pulsar is kick off the episode's final segment of wilder ideas of various space phenomena that may be out there, and the wilder branch of physics that may support those types of objects. There's quite a large variety of things here, such that new things continue to pop out on subsequent viewings. Before it's all over, Sagan gets quite poetic and excited about it all, and the episode comes to a grand, exciting, and once more visually exquisite conclusion.

In terms of having any content I might have a disagreement with, the episode has so far felt fairly pure to me. There are a few hints at limiting evolutionary possibilities, but these are quite faint ghosts of material already tackled head-on in episode 2. There's also a tiny bit about Einstein's theories to support the concept of black holes. I don't know if any aspect of this might one day seem dated, but black holes currently still work for me, and Sagan does present them in a milieu of fascinating speculative ideas.

I am, however, reminded of a quote from MIT scientist Max Tegmark in the special Universe episode "Beyond the Big Bang", when he covered some of the various arguments in the debate as to what Dark Matter could possibly be: "Some people think it's just a reflection of the fact that we might have gotten our gravity wrong... again." I'll put my hand up as one of those people, in the belief that some holes in the calculations for gravity and/or Einstein's relativity are the main reasons for proposing ideas like Dark Matter or Dark Energy, and that we'd be better off working backwards to find our mistakes than in avalanching forwards into new arenas of crap and falsehoods. Will gravity itself turn out to be some grand mislabeling of magneto-electric force? If so, it could make a nonsense of much of what this Cosmos episode is about. I'm intrigued, but far from being convinced at this time.

But, you've gotta love the supernova sequences, the pulsars, the discussion of the Crab Nebula as it was observed down through history, and the sequence of wrapping Cambridge up in a Googolplex as though it was a sophomore prank.

Yes, episode 9 here is one of the better ones, and a good highlight to look forward to during the later parts of the run.

International Titles:

Deutsch: Unser Kosmos - "Das Leben der Sterne"

Español: Cosmos - "La vida de las estrellas"

Magyar: Kozmosz - "A Csillagok életre kelnek"

Русский: Космос - "Жизнь звёзд"

Français: "La vie des étoiles"

Italiano: "La vita delle stelle"

As always, the edits made for the German 42-44 minute cut-down version "Unser Kosmos" are a point of fascination for me. Episode 9 turns out to be one of the better edits for the series.

The first cut for episode 9 was a good one - going directly from the candle flame in the mirrors in the dining room to footage of uranium atoms, thus cutting out the discussion of large numbers written out exponentially, and the Googolplex prank that moved Sagan to a new room in the college. Let's face it, that part was a bit off-topic, and the Cambridge section is much more pithy, getting back to space images in a timely fashion before audience interest can dissipate.

Surprisingly there isn't another noticeable cut until Sagan is all finished irradiating himself in the cave, and then it's a big one that finds him sitting on the grassy beach cliff already. For my money, they should have left the cave radiation bit out, because the demonstration of a pulsar's rotation increasing as it pulls its mass inwards (akin to the figure skater) is a sequence that is an absolute must. Time permitting, the native depiction of the Crab Nebula is the next most important thing to include. And yes, the cartoony bits are the most likely to hit the cutting room floor; no arguments there.

The Music - Episode 9 - The Lives of the Stars

In 1980, the original Cosmos had a somewhat different musical background to what is now found in the 2000 Collectors' Edition on DVD and Blu-ray. Episode Nine in particular seems to feature more differences than most other episodes. So, when we decided to roll out new music charts for Cosmos that list both soundtracks simultaneously, so that readers can see what changed and what stayed the same, this episode was where we started. It is interesting to note how the two versions often aim for the same tone and style, yet find their solutions from very different sources of varying recording quality....

Compositions that were unique to the original 1980 version are typically shaded blue-grey. Compositions that remained the same for both versions are stretched out across both sets of columns, even though Cosmos doesn't necessarily use the same recording or excerpts of that composition. Exact sync cannot be expected in these cases either, as the new version features a completely new re-dub of all music.

And as before, anything written in green text represents a name I made up to help keep some music better identified in my own head.
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 BoydstunLife Cycle Ralph Vaughan Williams
Klaus Schulze
Job: Scene 6 of 9 (excerpts)
Job: Fanfare from Scenes 1b & 8
Bayreuth Return
cosmic ingredients

baking heat
Gottfried Finger Sonata in C-Major for
Trumpet, Oboe, Basso Continuo
Movement 1 of 4:
"King of Pies" What's this?
Joseph Haydn
/ Maurice André
Trumpet Concerto in E-flat Major
End of Movement 1 of 3
More about the
exact recording here.
Pie is served.
Johann David HeinichenConcerto S233 for
2 Horns and 2 Flutes in F Major
Movement 2 - Andante poco Allegro
Benedetto MarcelloThe Golden Sound, Side A, Track 1
Sonata in Crumbly B Goode - Movement 1 of 4: Adagio
What's this?
"Suppose we
cut a piece..."
VangelisAlpha (original version)
Richard HarveyMigrationTerry RileyPersian Surgery Dervishes:
Performance Two, Part 2 (middle)
Joseph HaydnTrumpet Concerto in E-flat Major
Movement 3 of 3 (infamous melody)
wrapped in a roll
of "Googolplex"
VangelisAlpha (remastered version) Alpha (original version)
Gottfried FingerSonata in C-Major for
Trumpet, Oboe, Basso Continuo
Movement 1 of 4:
"King of Pies"
Michael HaydnTrumpet Concerto in D-Major MH104
Movement 1 of 2: Adagio (excerpt) (and struggling with high notes)
table of elements
Wm. Jeffery BoydstunIn Motion Delta 01
continuing into
In Motion Delta 02
Steve Reich
Terry Riley

Music for 18 Musicians (start)
Persian Surgery Dervishes:
Performance Two, Part 2 (cont.)
Wm. Jeffery BoydstunMetamorphosis HeldonPerspective I
VangelisAlpha (remastered version) Alpha (original version) (Cambridge
section ends)
VangelisComet 16 Jean Michel JarreEquinoxe No. 1 of 8(Star section begins)
Clem AlfordRaga Sind BhiraviPaul Horn in IndiaRaga Bihag21:54 - 22:36
Larry Fast / SynergyLegacy
VangelisAlpha (remastered version)
Alpha (original version)
Ralph Vaughan Williams - Job: Scene 6 of 9

(no music for several minutes)

?? Vangelis?"Ghost of the Sun"
??Comet Movement
unused in 1986 special edition?
Edgar Froese
Henri Pousseur

Toru Takemitsu

Toru Takemitsu
Henri Pousseur

Maroubra Bay (near end)
Trois Visages De Liège #1 of 3
"L'Air Et L'Eau" (~middle)
A4. Kokorono Nakano Uchu

A5. Taiyo Shinden
Trois Visages De Liège #1 of 3
"L'Air Et L'Eau" (~end)

(faint, under
other cues)
(In the Heart
of the Universe)
into foreground)
Larry Fast / SynergyDelta Four (quiet bits only)
Igor StravinskyThe Rite of Spring - Part 1: The Adoration of the Earth
section 2 of 7: "Augurs of Spring"
(this portion does NOT appear on Voyager's Golden Record)
pre-nova suspense
Spiral(strangely, only the last minute of this song is used,
despite that the opening would have been awesome here)
post-nova spectacle
Pink FloydOne of These Days
Dmitri ShostakovichSymph. 5 Mvmt. 3, "Requiem" excerpt Le OrmeNotturno
J.S. Bach / Isao TomitaThe Sea Named "Solaris" PulsarMisty Garden of Passion
John ColoffFlute Call
Cry from the Earth, Side B, Track 10
39:10 - 39:59
?? Vangelis???Comet Movement? - The Big Burn
40:10 - 41:20
Larry Fast / SynergyDelta Two (continuing into...)
Larry Fast / SynergyDelta Four (hard & fast random electronic pulse-notes)backing the
rotating Pulsar
VangelisComet 16 begins Jean Michel JarreEquinoxe No. 1 of 8
Alec GouldMasque - (formerly listed as
"Cheshire Gravity, Flatland, and
Foot People"
) (humorous waltz for strings)
Benjamin BrittenVariations on a
Theme of Frank Bridge
Part 1 of 2, Section 6 of 7
(gravity at play)
VangelisComet 16 concludes Klaus SchulzeBayreuth Return
(Album: Timewind)
?? Vangelis???Comet Movement? - Venus Goes Digital
47:17 - 47:58
Jean Michel JarreEquinoxe No. 3 of 8
?? Vangelis???Comet Movement? - Pristine
(The piece begins properly here...)
Jean Michel JarreEquinoxe No. 4 of 8
Larry Fast / Synergy
Legacy - (nice long 4.5 minute excerpt used)

VangelisTheme from Cosmos
J.S. Bach / Isao TomitaThe Sea Named "Solaris"n/aCosmos Update
?? Vangelis???Comet Movement? - Pristine
(A clever edit mixing to the last two notes
allows this piece to conclude early.)
...(Theme from Cosmos continues...)(over the end credits)
VangelisComet 16n/aCollector's Edition 2000 Credits


Original music
composed by

Audio CD

The last minute of the title track "Spiral" appeared in "Cosmos", even though little of its distinctive opening was heard at that point, making it one of the more unrecognizable uses of Vangelis music.

Spiral: Remastered Edition 2013:




Spiral 2013

All Tracks by Vangelis
This album available on CD only.

Track Listing:

1. Spiral
2. Ballad
3. Dervish D
4. To the Unknown Man
5. 3 + 3
6. To the Unknown Man (Part Two) - CD only

Spiral - original Audio CD:




Vangelis - Greatest Hits

All Tracks by Vangelis
This album available on CD or MP3 download.

Track Listing:

1. Spiral (6:57)
2. Ballad (8:29)
3. Dervish D (5:13)
4. To the Unknown Man (9:06)
5. 3 + 3 (9:35)

U.S. 2009 alternate

Electronic Realizations for Rock Orchestra

Original music
composed by
Larry Fast as Synergy

Audio CD

Electronic Realizations for Rock Orchestra:




Synergy - Electronic Realizations for Rock Orchestra

All Tracks by Larry Fast as Synergy
This album available on CD or MP3 download.

Track Listing:

1. Legacy (10:10)
2. (s)Laughter on Tenth Avenue (11:54)
3. Synergy (5:30)
4. Relay Breakdown (6:25)
5. Warriors (12:58)


Original music
composed by
Larry Fast as Synergy

Audio CD





Synergy - Games

All Tracks by Larry Fast as Synergy
This album available on CD or MP3 download.

Track Listing:

1. Delta Two (5:42)
2. Delta Four (6:14)
3. Delta One (7:35)
4. Delta 3/A (2:23)
5. Delta 3/B (2:11)
6. Delta 3/C (4:02)
7. Delta 3/D (3:05)
8. Delta 3/E (2:18)
9. Delta 3/F (4:47)

Jean-Pierre Rampal
The Golden Sound / The
Man With the Golden Flute

Jean-Pierre Rampal - flute
Mario Duschenes - 2nd flute /
Kenneth Gilbert - harpsichord

Orion Master Recordings

It is likely that this was the
go-to album for flute pieces when music was first tracked onto Cosmos. Not only is the first piece here in episode 9, but cue sheets indicate that every other composition made an appearance somewhere in the original 1980 version.... However, many of the changes to Cosmos music were due to copyright issues, and ALL cues from this record were replaced in the 2000 Collectors' Edition on DVD and Blu-ray.

It also seems that whoever first compiled the cue sheet for episode nine mistakenly copied the information from side B's first track, when side A's first track was actually used on the program.

2008 CD: The Man with the Golden Flute




The Man with the Golden Flute 2008

Acrobat Music - ACRCD315
This album available on CD.

Track Listing:

1. Benedetto Marcello - Sonata in B, Op. 2 (1712)
2. Johann Ludwig Krebs - Suite (Sonata) in G

3. Georg Philip Telemann - Duo-Sonata in E Op. 2 for Two Flutes
4. Johann Christoph Pepusch - Trio Sonata in G
5. J.S. Bach - Air (from Suite in D)

U.S. On-Demand

Vinyl LP 1973 - The Golden Sound:

Get more info and/or buy
Jean-Pierre Rampal - The Golden Sound

The Golden Sound 1973 - Jean-Pierre Rampal

Orion Master Recordings Inc. ORS 73114
This album available on vinyl.

Track Listing:

A1. Benedetto Marcello - Sonata in B minor, Op. 2 (1712) (6:50)
A2. Johann Ludwig Krebs - Suite (Sonata) in G (13:34)

B1. G. P. Telemann - Duo-Sonata in E, Op. 2 for 2 Flutes (11:15)
B2. Johann Christoph Pepusch - Trio Sonata in G (8:20)
B3. J.S. Bach - Air (From Suite in D) (3:17)

In all honesty, I hesitate to promote the listed title of the first track, since the music seems to have no connection with the key of B natural minor, and is not among the 12 sonatas in Marcello's Opus 2 published in Venice in 1712. I'm still keen to match this tune to some sheet music, or hear another recording of it, to see what other title(s) it might be going by.

To my ear, Rampal's performance of "Crumbly B Goode" seems to be in E-minor, slightly detuned downwards by about 1/4 of a semitone. There are four movements described as
(1) Adagio, (2) Allegro, (3) Largo, and (4) Allegro.
It has ONE FLUTE leading with a melody, while the harpsichord plays bassline accompaniment.

By contrast, the Telemann piece opening the flip-side is what the album cover says it is: one of the six TWV 40 sonatas (often the one listed as #102) in 4 movements:
(1) Largo, (2) Allegro, (3) Affettuoso, (4) Vivace. It has TWO FLUTES sharing the melodic lead equally, and NO harpsichord or other bassline accompaniment. ...and it was not used in Cosmos episode 9 as reported by many other cue sheets. Telemann's piece does have better luck with its listing in Episode 2's 1980 soundtrack...

Maurice André

Recordings reissued under
Deutsche Grammaphon

Audio CD, mp3 Download, Streaming

Trompetenkonzerte: CD, mp3, stream




Trompetenkonzerte - Maurice André

Deutsche Grammaphon re-issue
This album available on CD, mp3 download, or streaming.

Track Listing:

---- Haydn: Trumpet Concerto in E Flat Hob.VIIe:1 ----
18. Mv. 1 - Allegro (6:30)
19. Mv. 2 - Andante (4:02)
20. Mv. 3 - Allegro (4:32)
---- M. Haydn: Trumpet Concerto in D Major ----
16. Mv. 1 - Adagio (7:23)
17. Mv. 2 - Allegro (3:14)

---- Viviani: Sonata Prima For Trumpet and Continuo
1. Mv. 1 - Andante (1:37)
2. Mv. 2 - Allegro (1:20)
3. Mv. 3 - Presto (1:24)
4. Mv. 4 - Allegro (1:35)
5. Mv. 5 - Adagio (1:05)
---- Vivaldi: Concerto for 2 Trumpets, Strings and Continuo RV537 in C Major
6. Mv. 1 - Allegro (3:11)
7. Mv. 2 - Largo (0:57)
8. Mv. 3 - Allegro (3:27)
---- Telemann: Concerto-Sonata in D Major for Trumpet, Strings and Harpsichord
9. Mv. 1 - Moderato e grazioso (3:25)
10. Mv. 2 - Largo (4:08)
11. Mv. 3 - Vivace (2:46)
---- Handel: Oboe Concerto No.3 in G minor HWV 287 played on trumpet
12. Mv. 1 - Grave (3:02)
13. Mv. 2 - Allegro (1:43)
14. Mv. 3 - Sarabande: Largo (1:56)
15. Mv. 4 - Allegro (1:50)

Vinyl LP - Trompetenkonzerte:

Get more info and/or buy
Maurice André - Trompetenkonzerte, Archiv 198415

Trompetenkonzerte - Trumpet Concertos - Maurice André

Archiv Produktion - 198 415
This album available on vinyl.

Track Listing:

A1. Joseph Haydn - Konzert Für Trompete & Orch. Es-dur (14:35)
----Mv. 1 - Allegro (6:19)
----Mv. 2 - Andante (3:57)
----Mv. 3 - Allegro (4:20)
A2. Michael Haydn - Konzert Für Trompete & Orch. D-dur (10:28)
----Mv. 1 - Adagio (7:14)
----Mv. 2 - Allegro (3:10)

B1. Franz X. Richter - Konzert Für Trompete & Orch. D-dur (14:52)
----Mv. 1 - Allegro Moderato (4:57)
----Mv. 2 - Andante (5:24)
----Mv. 3 - Allegro (4:22)
B2. J. M. Molter - Konzert Für Klarinette & Orch. G-dur (13:45)
----Mv. 1 - Concerto (Moderato) (5:34)
----Mv. 2 - Adagio (5:44)
----Mv. 3 - Allegro (2:00)

Tracks A1, A2 & B1 recorded in München (Munich) 1966 Nov.
Track B2 recorded in München 1959 Oct.

Early in episode 9, Cosmos uses the trumpet cadenza from the end of Joseph Haydn's Concerto in E flat movement 1. Since the solo player performing such a cadenza will improvise to create his or her own unique virtuoso performance of the piece, only Maurice André's 1966 recording here will match what you hear in Cosmos note-for-note. So, this is THE recording that Cosmos fans will truly want.

Jean-Michel Jarre

Original music
composed by
Jean-Michel Jarre

Audio CD





Jean-Michel Jarre - Equinoxe

All Tracks by Jean-Michel Jarre
This album available on CD or MP3 download.

Track Listing:

1. Equinoxe Part 1
2. Equinoxe Part 2
3. Equinoxe Part 3
4. Equinoxe Part 4
5. Equinoxe Part 5
6. Equinoxe Part 6
7. Equinoxe Part 7
8. Equinoxe Part 8

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

13 hour-long episodes, 1980



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