Universal Music (Pty) Ltd.
Release date
7 Jul 1997
Running length
4 tracks
Running time


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    Track     Duration Listeners
1 Cygnus X-1 Book II Hemispheres 18:08 10,849
2 Circumstances 3:44 55,024
3 The Trees 4:42 130,378
4 La Villa Strangiato 9:35 87,934

About this album

Hemispheres is the sixth studio album by the Canadian rock band Rush, released in 1978. The album was recorded at Rockfield Studios in Wales.

This album continues Rush’s trend of using the fantasy and science fiction lyrics written by Neil Peart. Similar to their 1976 release, 2112, Hemispheres contains a single, epic song broken into chapters as the first half of the album (Cygnus X-1, Book II: Hemispheres) while the second half contains two more conventionally-executed tracks (“Circumstances”, “The Trees”), then is rounded out by the nine-and-a-half-minute instrumental, “La Villa Strangiato”.

Side one: Hemispheres
Though science fiction elements are not as prevalent on this album as some previous Rush releases, it contains many fantasy elements, notably those that relate to Greek mythology. Cygnus X-1 Book II: Hemispheres is partly a continuation of the last song on Rush’s previous album, A Farewell to Kings (Cygnus X-1, Book I: The Voyage), in that the theme of Cygnus is revisited both lyrically and musically. However, the lyrical concepts used to continue the story on this album have shifted from that of science fiction to Greek mythology, which is represented in this case by the Apollo/Dionysus dichotomy. This mythology is a vehicle to explore yet another concept, one of pop psychology: more specifically, the differences between “left brain” and “right brain” thinking, hence the title of “Hemispheres”. This theme was the basis for Friedrich Nietzsche’s The Birth of Tragedy From the Spirit of Music, which may have been the source of inspiration for Peart’s lyrics.

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