in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission
Piccolo (doubling on Alto Flute), 2 Flutes, 2 Oboes, English Horn, 2 Bb Clarinets, Bb Bass Clarinet, 2 Bassoons, ContrabassooN, 4 F Horns, 3 C Trumpets, 2 Trombones (1. doubling on Euphonium), Bass Trombone, Tuba, Timpani (5 drums)
Percussion (3 players; instruments are not shared):
1. Glockenspiel, Xylophone, Marimba (5 octave recommended), Crotale, Concert Bass Drum
2. Vibraphone, Chimes, Waterphone (cello bow), Güiro, Flexatone (large) Glockenspiel
3. Bamboo Wind Chimes, Zube Tube, Metal Wind Chimes, Large Tam-Tam, Claves, Bongos on stand (tuned high), Flexatone (very large), Suspended Cymbal (yarn mallets)
Soprano obligato singer: Soprano is positioned within the orchestra near the harp and celesta, Soprano should stand when singing
Volume of Soprano should blend with orchestra
In addition to utilizing the concert hall speaker system for amplification, it is recommended to also place a small speaker, on a stand next, to the soloist
Publisher: Michael Daugherty Music
Duration: 22 minutes
World Premiere: Commissioned by the Pacific Symphony — First performed by the Pacific Symphony under the direction of Jean-Marie Zeitouni at Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall in Costa Mesa, California on April 11, 2019
Premiere Performances: April 11-13, 2019
To the New World for orchestra (2019) was composed in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission, and the first walk on the Moon by astronaut Neil Armstrong on July 20, 1969. The work was commissioned and premiered by the Pacific Symphony, under the direction of Jean-Marie Zeitouni, at the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall in Costa Mesa, California on April 11, 2019. The composer writes:
On September 12, 1962, President John F. Kennedy’s famous speech, “We choose to go the Moon!” launched America’s race to become the first country to land a human on the Moon. On July 16, 1969, a massive Saturn V rocket propelled the crew of Apollo 11—Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collin—from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida into outer space. Like the rocket, which separated in three stages after lift-off, and the spacecraft, which was divided into three modules, my 22-minute composition is in three movements:
In the first movement Moonrise, I create music which evokes the sense of awe and trepidation that the Apollo 11 astronauts might have felt as they traveled to the new world. Neil Armstrong, the commander of the Apollo 11 mission crew, played euphonium during his college days and was a lifelong music enthusiast. For his historic trip to the Moon, Armstrong brought along cassette tape recordings of his favorite music, including Antonín Dvořák’s Ninth Symphony (1895), subtitled “From the New World.” In a tip of the hat to Neil Armstrong, I interweave musical fragments and chords from the second movement of Dvořák’s Ninth Symphony and add a solo euphonium to the brass section. I also intertwine ominous, dissonant cluster chords and atonal punctuations into the musical fabric to remind us of the dangers ahead and uncertainties of this perilous mission.
On July 20, with only 25 seconds of fuel left, Neil Armstrong landed the “Eagle” lunar module on the Moon’s surface, in an area known as the “Sea of Tranquility.” The second movement, One Small Step, is inspired by his memorable words, beamed back to Earth as he became the first human to walk on the surface of the Moon: “That’s one small step for man; one giant leap for mankind.” I have rhythmically translated this iconic phrase into a repeated, syncopated rhythmic pattern (ostinato) that is first heard in the marimba. Neil Armstrong was a big fan of the theremin: a microtonal electronic musical instrument often used in 1950s science fiction film soundtracks and exotic popular music. To evoke the sound of a theremin, I employ an amplified soprano vocalist singing eerie, wordless glissando-like melodies as part of the orchestral texture.
After completing their mission on the Moon, the astronauts returned in a Command Module streaking into the Earth’s atmosphere at a speed of 25,000 miles per hour. They safely splashed down into the Pacific Ocean on July 24, 1969, and were greeted to a hero’s welcome around the world. In Splashdown, the third and final movement, I celebrate the return of Apollo 11 in a dance rhythm composed in a recurring musical motif of 11 beats. This motif, first heard in the double basses and cellos, moves at lightning speed through the strings, woodwinds, brass and percussion of the orchestra. I also create polyrhythms by superimposing the 11-beat motif over a 4-beat pulse. To heighten suspense, I feature flexatones that create strange glissando effects in the percussion section. A spirited coda brings our celebration of the historic first landing on the Moon and “a giant leap for mankind” to a rousing conclusion. But before the final triumphant chord, the glockenspiel, harp and celeste softly play an ascending scale, as I imagine the three astronauts glancing back at the Moon one last time.