Harmony of the Worlds

(Johannes Kepler vs. Superstition)
by Carl Sagan
A Personal Voyage
13 episodes
See below for
DVD purchasing options
(Carl Sagan's Cosmos episode no. 3)
  • written by Carl Sagan and Ann Druyan & Steven Soter
  • series director & executive producer Adrian Malone
  • Kepler sequence directed by Tom Weidlinger and Geoffrey Haines-Stiles
  • other sequences directed by David Kennard and David F. Oyster

  • Main Title Theme by Vangelis
  • Music by Vangelis, Dmitri Shostakovich, J.S. Bach & Isao Tomita,
    Edgar Froese, Wm. Jeffery Boydstun, Gustav Holst, and others...
  • 1 documentary @ 58 minutes

Data Capsule Review

by Martin Izsak

Without a doubt, this proves to be one of the most definitive episodes of the original Cosmos series. One particular philosophical divide becomes the central theme of the episode, and part-way through this theme is picked up by the central figure of the most memorable and extensive historical re-enactment that the original Cosmos features. Jaromir Hanzlik plays the adult Johannes Kepler with greater emotional depth and a more moving performance than is found in any other re-enactment on Cosmos. After this, the final triumph and tragedy of Kepler is well set to confirm Sagan's ultimate preference on the philosophical question of the episode.

However, the episode is off to a bit of a rough start at first. Even though I don't personally care much for astrology, it still pains me to watch Sagan invent so many daft assumptions about modern astrology and then use those as reasons to dismiss the entire school of thought on the subject. He's a bit too keen to sweep it all away as worthless nonsense, and may indeed alienate many people who follow it who might also have been interested in his astronomical ideas as well.

Participants include:

Dr. Carl Sagan

Astronomer, host, narrator
Jaromir Hanzlik
Actor, Czech Republic, who plays:

Johannes Kepler

The First Astrophysicist,
the last scientific astrologer.
discoverer of the laws of orbital motion

Is astrology really as concerned with pinpoint predictions as he assumes it must be? Are planetary motions really meant to be the cause of everything? (It seems that astronomers keen to blame impacts from comets and other things for every major creation of new life and extinction of old are more prone to this belief than astrologers.) Somehow I don't have any faith that most of the people checking out their horoscopes are subscribing to the beliefs he is dismissing as "astrological".

Any daily horoscope listing would have to be applicable to 1/12 of the population anyway, so you'd have to be pretty daft to expect it to work like a scientific hypothesis. I only expect astrology to possibly have an inkling of what type of challenges may come up for 1/12 of the population. Those individuals who are skilful at handling those challenges may "nip them in the bud" before even noticing any "trouble" in their lives, while those who haven't figured certain skills out yet might be quite stuck and frustrated with these things. Yes, a lot of generic advice comes out of these horoscopes, but then life's solutions are often quite basic, and have been said countless times before. Our media works in part by finding new ways to make the old classic statements feel fresh and current, and if astrological cycles get people interested, it could prove to be a good thing.

Besides it's not as if the chain of cause and effect begins with a person's birth, and then we check to see how Mars and moon and the sun are "affecting" us. It's more like the soul has certain things it wants to work out and be challenged with in a physical life, and it is therefore drawn to be conceived at an appropriate time and place surrounded by appropriate creatures who can play complementary roles in any ensuing drama - and if part of that ideal environment coincides with the position of Mars or the time of year, and whatever known or unknown energies might be peaking or waning at that time, so be it. I agree that the people and possibly the century have larger roles to play than the planets, but I wouldn't dismiss the "lesser" of those influences without knowing more.

On another point, do we really know that "the gods" were based on actual celestial bodies, rather than ancient astronauts mentioning where they came from? Is it perhaps only modern scientists and archaeologists who believe that ancient man couldn't tell the difference? Perhaps it's harder for modern man to tell the difference, if he refuses to believe that either "the gods" or ancient astronauts exist.

All that said, I too would prefer reading a weekly astronomical column. Perhaps the challenge there is that it's less often that something truly fresh and fascinating can come out which also can withstand all the accompanying scientific rigour.

At any rate, Sagan pretty much has to dabble in astrology to tell this story, because it is the ancient astrologers who held all the meticulous observations and data out of which the new science of astronomy could be extruded. In other words, there was a time when no one cared about the difference between the two ideas. What astronomy largely removed was in fact superstition. I think the more we can target superstition, assumption, and jumping to conclusions as the antagonist of this tale, the cleaner we'll be able to tell it and enjoy it.

And though the audio and visuals are still cool during the opening, it isn't until Sagan begins to explore different interpretations of constellations around the campfire that his story actually gets good and enjoyable, and takes off into excellence.

I particularly like the section contrasting the geocentric (Earth-centered) view of the universe championed by Ptolemy with the heliocentric (Sun-centered) view championed by Copernicus, especially when the very nifty mechanical machine prop is used to demonstrate the difference and the various angles of line-of-sight between Earth and Mars. A classic sequence.

But it is indeed a very strong backbone to the episode when the story of the life of Johannes Kepler takes over just before the midpoint. I often wonder exactly what directors Geoffrey Haines-Stiles and Tom Weidlinger had to go on in creating the basic gist of the scenes here, if indeed the mostly voice-over script wasn't written by Ann Druyan and Steven Soter until AFTER the scenes had been shot across Germany, Austria, and the Czech Republic. Would our writing team have wanted anything significantly different? Did some sections deserve more focus or less?

At any rate, the end product is a gripping tale of perseverance for meticulous detail and accuracy, and a tale of tragedy, triumph, and revelations both true and false. It is a statement of the struggles of science, and of the Human condition. It paints a fully-rounded dramatic picture. "Harmony of the Worlds" remains one of the signature episodes of the original "Cosmos" series, and a highlight to look forward to as one goes through the show.

International Titles:

Deutsch: Unser Kosmos - "Harmonie der Welten"

Español: Cosmos - "La armonía de los mundos"

Magyar: Kozmosz - "Világok harmóniája"

Русский: Космос - "Гармония миров"

Français: "L'harmonie des mondes"

Italiano: "L'armonia dei mondi"

The Music - Episode 3 - Harmony of the Worlds

(Anything written in green text represents a name I made up to help keep some music better identified in my own head.)
(Golden yellow backgrounds indicate selections that also appear on Voyager's Golden Record.)
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 Boydstun
Before Science, Cue 1 What's this?
Let's listen...
Leos JanacekSinfonietta - Sokol Festival
alternating Mvmt. 1 & 2 of 5
Galt MacDermotAquarius (1976 "Hair" film soundtrack version)New York 1979
Richard HarveyMigrationSupersisterDreaming Wheelwhile
Brian EnoM386 - from the album "Music for Films"traffic
?? unknown??? unknown (quiet orchestral suspense) PulsarFear of Frost
Wm. Jeffery Boydstun
Nufari What's this? Let's listen...
Gary NumanI Nearly Married a Human City to country
at sunset
Gustav HolstThe Planets - Neptune

The Planets - Saturn (12:55...) What's this?
Alexander Scriabin
Isao Tomita
Poem of Ecstasy
The Unanswered Question
no music
J.S. Bach / Isao TomitaThe Sea Named "Solaris"15:00...
Trad. NavajoNight Chant (from Voyager's Golden Record)
Trad. Navajo /
Sandoval Begay
Night Chant (probably "Cry from the Earth", Side A, Track 5... but pitched down ~2 semitones)
J.S. Bach / Isao TomitaThe Sea Named "Solaris"
Larry Fast / SynergyParadox (Part B: Icarus) (contains "Icarus" composed by Ralph Towner with
"Largo: New World Symphony" composed by Antonin Dvorak, in a merged arrangement
by Larry Fast). This track is also known simply as "Icarus".
Gustav HolstThe Planets - NeptuneOrbit machine
Dmitri Shostakovich
Symph. 11 Mvmt. 1 - "The Palace Square", part B - Kepler's Theme What's this?
intro Kepler
Dmitri ShostakovichSymph. 11 Mvmt. 1 - "The Palace Square", part A
George CrumbBlack Angels, Movement 3 - Return
Dmitri ShostakovichSymph. 5 Mvmt. 3, "Holy Geometry" excerpt
Wm. Jeffery BoydstunBefore Science, Cue 2 Leos JanacekSinfonietta - Sokol Festival
Mvmt. 3 of 5
Antonio VivaldiConcerto for 2 Trumpets in C Major
RV 537, Movement 1
William CroftVoluntary for Organ and Trumpets
(final section)
child to adult
George CrumbBlack Angels, Movement 3 - Return
Dmitri ShostakovichSymph. 5 Mvmt. 3, "Lost Cause" excerpt
Dmitri ShostakovichSymph. 11 Mvmt. 1 - "The Palace Square", part A
Dmitri ShostakovichSymph. 11 Mvmt. 2 - "The 9th of January"
Part A with
Part E - "Action" on top.
What's this?
Carl NielsenSymphony No. 5, Mvmt.1
(middle action)
Time of War
Dmitri ShostakovichSymph. 11 Mvmt. 1 - "The Palace Square", part A
?? unknown?? unknown - "Tycho's court" source musicTycho's Court
Richard WagnerLohengrin - Prelude to Act 1
Larry Fast / SynergyIcarus
?? unknown?? unknown (slow medieval lament)
A Way (Heaven and Hell, Side B, final track) What's This?
Graham de WildeLifestream
(formerly listed as Orbit Loopdown)
Terry RileyPersian Surgery Dervishes:
Performance Two, Part 1 (~5:15 in)
46:15 - 47:49
Edgar FroeseDrunken Mozart in the Desert ("Solar Clockwork" excerpt) Kepler calculates
true orbits
Graham de Wilde
& Peter Cox
A History of Conflict
(First version - full 2:22 duration)
Jean-Baptiste Lully

Henry Purcell

Jean-Baptiste Lully

Henry Purcell

March of the King's Musketeers
(drum intro)
Funeral Music for Queen Mary
March #1 (brass & drums)
March of the King's Musketeers
(drumming only)
Funeral Music for Queen Mary
March #2 (brass only)
VangelisTheme from Cosmos
George CrumbBlack Angels, Movement 3 - Return
Dmitri ShostakovichSymph. 11 Mvmt. 1 - "The Palace Square", part B - Kepler's Theme
VangelisTheme from CosmosClosing Theme,
End Credits
VangelisComet 16n/aCollector's Edition
2000 Credits

Isao Tomita

Pioneering electronic renditions
of various classical compositions

Audio CD

Tomita - Kosmos




Links also lead to mp3 version...

Tomita - Kosmos:

All Tracks performed by Isao Tomita
This album available on CD or MP3 download.

Track Listing:

1. Star Wars: Main Title (John Williams, 3:05)
2. Space Fantasy (Tomita, 9:17) containing:

  • Also Sprach Zarathustra, section 1 of 9 (Richard Strauss)
  • Ride of the Valkyries (Richard Wagner)

3. Pacific 231 (Honegger, 6:48)
4. The Unanswered Question (Charles Ives, 6:22)
5. Aranjuez (Rodrigo-Tomita, 6:23)
6. Peer Gynt, Suite No. 2: Solveig's Song (Edvard Grieg, 4:49)
7. Hora Staccato (Dinicu-Heifetz, 3:29)
8. The Sea Named Solaris (J.S. Bach - Tomita, 12:35)


Original music
performed by
Larry Fast as Synergy

Audio CD


Sequencer 1976

All Tracks performed by Larry Fast recording as Synergy

Track Listing according to amazon's mp3 version:

1. S-Scape (5:46)
2. Chateau (4:17)
3. Cybersports (4:39)
4. Classical Gas (3:02)
5. Largo, New World Symphony (3:48)
6. Icarus (3:14)
7. Sequence 14 (11:20)

Sequencer 1976

All Tracks performed by Larry Fast recording as Synergy

Track Listing according to discogs.com:

1. S-Scape (5:50)
2. Chateau (4:16)
3. Cybersports (4:39)
4. Classical Gas (3:00)
5. Paradox (Part A: Largo, New World Symphony) (3:40)
6. Paradox (Part B: Icarus) (3:20)
7. (Sequence) 14 (11:14)

Edgar Froese

Original music
composed by
Edgar Froese

Audio CD

Froese: Stuntman - Physical Audio CD:




Edgar Froese - Stuntman

This album available on CD or MP3 download.

Track Listing:

1. Stuntman (4:18)
2. It Would Be Like Samoa (10:46)
3. Detroit Snackbar Dreamer (6:33)
4. Drunken Mozart in the Desert (10:00)
5. A Dali-esque Sleep Fuse (8:33)
6. Scarlet Score For Mascalero (4:20)

Froese: Stuntman - Mp3 Album:



Edgar Froese - Stuntman

This album available on CD or MP3 download.

Track Listing:

1. Stuntman (4:18)
2. It Would Be Like Samoa (10:46)
3. Detroit Snackbar Dreamer (6:33)
4. Drunken Mozart in the Desert (10:00)
5. A Dali-esque Sleep Fuse (8:33)
6. Scarlet Score For Mascalero (4:20)

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

13 hour-long episodes, 1980



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