Joseph Karl Stieler, Portrait of Ludwig van Beethoven when composing the Missa Solemnis, 1820, oil on canvas, Beethoven-Haus, Bonn

When the twin Voyager probes were launched from Cape Canaveral in 1977, they each carried with them a Golden Record. Containing audio recordings of natural sounds, spoken greetings in a host of languages, and musical works from around the world, the record was a time capsule of life on earth. It was intended, as Edward Dusinberre writes, “to convey a snapshot of humanity to any space traveller who might find it in the future.” The last musical selection on the...

 

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