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AN HISTORIC RADIO TRANSMISSION
Alan Hovhaness' Symphony No. 11, "All Men are Brothers" was completed in its final form while the composer was living in Switzerland. I learned of Hovhaness' love of astronomy in 1971, after he had attended our Long Island Chamber Ensemble's Carnegie Recital Hall performance of his "O Lady Moon." Hovhaness had then counseled me to study astronomy, so that "in realising the vastness of all creation, I would comprehend my own insignificance and achieve true humility-the first step to becoming an artist."
Therefore, it seemed appropriate today, in 2009, to initiate a ceremonial two-way radio contact using the moon to reflect the radio signals between the Alan Hovhaness Memorial Station W1H and station HB9Q in Switzerland. The successful two-way transmissions took place on 3 May, 2009. A second successful EME (Earth-Moon-Earth) contact from W1H took place shortly thereafter with station LA8YB in Norway.
(Interesting note: In 1959, President Eisenhower bounced his voice off the moon to congratulate Canada on opening their Prince Albert Radar Laboratory.)
1: Original score, Alan Hovhaness' "O Lady Moon" used by Long Island Chamber Ensemble in 1971 Carnegie Recital Hall performance. Pianist Martin Berkofsky was joined by clarinetist Lawrence Sobol and soprano Kate Hurney. Following the success of the performance, Hovhaness wrote the chamber cantata "Saturn" for the same performers. They premiered the new "astronomical" work at a subsequent Carnegie Recital Hall all-Hovhaness evening.
2: W1H antennas are test-aimed toward the moon.
3: W1H mobile Earth-Moon-Earth radio station contacting Switzerland from New England.
4: HB9Q Earth-Moon-Earth radio station in Switzerland.
5: LA8YB Earth-Moon-Earth radio station in Norway.
6: Confirmation card ("QSL") for the W1H Alan Hovhaness Memorial Station.