Virtual Reality: Beethoven's Fifth

Available to watch on:

Shot by Google’s VR team, the Philharmonia’s second VR film was conceived in partnership with NASA to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the launch of the Voyager 1 and 2 spacecraft, and the Golden Records that they each carried. ​

On 5 September 1977, NASA launched Voyager 1 as part of a programme to study the outer Solar System. Still travelling today, Voyager 1, which in 2012 became the first human-made object to leave our solar system and enter interstellar space, is the furthest man-made object in space. ​

Mounted to the spacecraft is a golden-plated phonograph record, with a stylus and instructions on how to play it in binary mathematics. On the record is a suite of images, recorded greetings from earth and 90 minutes of music, including a Philharmonia Orchestra performance of the first movement of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony, conducted by Otto Klemperer (recorded for the Columbia label in 1960).​

 © Philharmonia Orchestra

Marking the anniversary, the modern-day Philharmonia Orchestra and Principal Conductor & Artistic Advisor Esa-Pekka Salonen worked with Google to film the Orchestra in VR performing the same piece, shot at London’s Henry Wood Hall. The resulting eight-minute film, titled Beethoven’s Fifth, cuts together this footage with scenes from interstellar space, imagining where Voyager 1 is travelling now.  ​ ​

The film is now available on YouTube: WATCH NOW