Apollo is an eleven song, half-hour song cycle written in 2011 using text taken directly from the transcripts of the Apollo 11 mission. The cycle highlights rarely heard words from Buzz Aldrin, Neal Armstrong, Michael Collins and occasionally mission control. After it's premiere, the piece was recorded and in collaboration with NASA, expanded with an accompanying video using video taken from Apollo 11, and other NASA missions. This was premiered at IngenuityFest 2012 in Cleveland.
Program notes from the premiere:
If I were to ascribe a purpose to Apollo, it would be to bring attention to the current state of the space program by revisiting the greatest journey ever undertaken by man: the voyage to the moon. I have taken the texts used in this piece directly from the transcripts of the Apollo 11 mission, with occasional minor edits where static had obscured a word, or one small change would enhance the intelligibility of a sung phrase. I aimed for Apollo to not simply idolize Buzz Aldrin, Neil Armstrong, and Mike Collins, but rather to show a more human side to their journey.
One note regarding #5, “Thanksgiving.” Because I doubt that the contemporary listener is listening for Morse Code (or, for that matter, is able to understand it) I would like to point out that the rhythm of each of the four voices in the piano part, respectively, spells a word in Morse Code. The first entrance is ‘Houston,’ the second, ‘Tranquility,’ the third, ‘landing,’ and the fourth, ‘Moon.’ At the end of “Thanksgiving” the voices converge to encode the word, “Peace.”