a Belgian violinist has an interplanetary career?


In 1977, the twin Voyager 1 and 2 probes were launched into space to explore the furthest planets from Earth and then continue their journey beyond the solar system. As well as a large amount of scientific equipment, the probes carried a disc containing a sample of sounds and images from Earth: the Voyager Golden Record. This 90-minute disc contains nearly thirty tracks selected to give potential extra-terrestrial entities  a glimpse of the diversity of Earth's musical cultures:  Western   classical music, jazz, blues, rock, and also Indian, Indonesian, Japanese, Chinese or South American music.


Among the few pieces by the most important classical composers in history, performed by world-class virtuosos, we find the name of our compatriot Arthur Grumiaux, the greatest Belgian violinist of the 20th century, who performs the Gavotte en Rondeau from Johann Sebastian Bach's Partita for violin No. 3 in E major. The three-minute excerpt is from a 1960 recording.


The music of Arthur Grumiaux did not therefore die with the master, who passed away in 1986. Having charmed the entire world, it flew into space to conquer the stars. Perhaps distant beings will enjoy it one day, since NASA estimates that this disc will outlive the Earth and the sun. That prospect would have pleased the sensitive poet and performer Arthur Grumiaux.