The Consolation of Apollo, SATB and percussion, 35′. Finished it last night, and still liked it this morning, which doesn’t always happen, but whether that’s a good sign or not, I have a few days before the deadline to oil some of the bearings.
The performances are in Princeton on October 10th and 11th, and in Philadelphia on October 12th. It is being paired with The Little Match Girl Passion, David Lang’s Pulitzer-winning work from a couple years ago. We’re using some of the percussion called for in the Lang work, and, significantly, the context of Christmas.
Full program notes later, but the spine of this work is the December 24th broadcast by the crew of Apollo 8, as they rounded the far side of the moon and became the first people to see the entire Earth. Their photos are sometimes called “Earthrise.” With these are interspersed selections from The Consolation of Philosophy by Boethius, who considers Apollo, the mythical charioteer of the sun, our place in creation, and our chance for happiness.
That 1968 Christmas Eve broadcast famously (and in some quarters, infamously) included the recitation by the astronauts of the first few verses of Genesis, “In the beginning, God created the heaven and the earth….” This text is mixed together with the prosaic chatter among the crew and Houston as they position the craft for what are now the iconic photos of Earth.
I can hardly wait for this.
The Consolation of Apollo is made possible by a commission from Eric Owens.