Apollo’s Mission

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A musical fantasy in one act by Edward Lambert

text by Norman Welch

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for 6 voices, piano, clarinet & drum kit     2019     48 minutes

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Written to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing in July 1969, this piece was inspired by Buzz Aldrin's act of taking communion when he got there. President Nixon said that the heavens had become part of man's world: but what did the gods think about it all? Apollo's Mission explores an imaginary culture clash between modern-day divinities and scientific progress.

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Some of the text is taken from the NASA transcript of the flight recordings. The action takes place in the various stages of the Apollo 11 spacecraft, Mission Control, the moon's surface and a downtown nightclub. The scene changes are instantaneous and seamless. Much of the music is intended to be danced. 

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  • In a prologue, angels and scientists discuss the origin of Earth's moon
  • (Scene 1) Apollo 11 is launched amidst excited exchanges between the crew and mission control, Houston
  • (Scene 2) In a nightclub, Selena, the moon-goddess, is forever destined to watch over humans at night; now a cabaret artiste, she sings a ballad for her admirers
  • (Scene 3) Apollo 11 is in orbit around the Earth
  • (Scene 4) The patrons of the nightclub are smitten by Selena and her dancers
  • (Scene 5) Apollo 11 journeys to the moon
  • (Scene 6) In the nightclub, Selena'a attraction is irresistible, and the atmosphere becomes hedonistic
  • (Scene 7) As the lunar module descends, Selena, sensing the impending invasion, calls upon her all-powerful brother Apollo for help; the astronauts step onto the moon and Selena is impaled on the US flag. Aldrin takes communion and Apollo, who's arrived too late and whose manners resemble those of one of the more notorious US presidents, impetuously fires off shots in revenge only to discover that the astronauts have become immortal: they're the new gods now. Selena revives and forces Apollo to yield to the explorers and accept his new role as a statue in a museum. 
  • In the epilogue, we learn that the moon was formed from colliding worlds.