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Apollo (score & parts) - WW5

Composer: Mellits, Marc

Publisher: Dacia Music (Mark Mellits)

Edition: 71171


for woodwind quintet: flute, oboe, clarinet, horn, and bassoon
by Marc Mellits (b. 1966) - American composer

Apollo was commissioned by & dedicated to Winsync, and was Inspired by the Apollo 11 mission, July, 1969. It is comprised of seven short movements framing a suite of colors and interstellar sounds. The title of the first movement THEIA has a double meaning, referring in Greek mythology to the titaness who gave birth to the moon goddess Selene and in astronomy to an ancient planet that may have been involved in the creation of the moon. Setting the tone for the piece, Theia is groovy and rhythmic. The wind quintet is used as a single instrument rather than as a collection of distinct colors. SEA OF TRANQUILITY is named for the basin on the moon where the Apollo 11 mission landed, and man first walked on the moon. Tranquility also describes the character of the movement, with a steady pulse and a gentle melody floating over slowly stacking chords. A tribute to Buzz Aldrin, BUZZ features interlocking rhythms in the upper winds that blur the colors of the quintet and give a feeling of perpetual motion. The tempo jolts upward about halfway through like a rocket taking off. LUNA NOVA, which translates to “new moon” in Latin, is the composer’s meditation on the moon as a new frontier and the seeming inevitability that people will exploit and corrupt and environmental resource. This movement is short, beautiful, and melancholy. Lending a personal tone to Apollo, DEBBIE WALTZING ON THE MOON is Marc Mellits’ tribute to a childhood neighbor who passed away while he was writing the work. Debbie loved to dance, so he composed this memory of her waltzing with his characteristic technique of creating musical motors out of interlocking rhythms. A reference to the famous phrase uttered by astronaut Neil Armstrong, ONE SMALL STEP has the form and harmonies of a downtempo rock song, connecting the idea of a musical refrain with the refrain of a popular quote. MOONWALK closes Apollo with a funky, groovy miniature that should inspire some dance moves. That said, the title is not inspired by a certain King of Pop but rather by the bouncy, heavy style of walking that the astronauts employ on the surface of the moon.