Lunar orbit : for cello solo
by Stuart Greenbaum (2011)
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Continental drift : music for bass flutes and cello / Judy Diez d’Aux and Peter Sheridan, flutes, and Lachlan Dent, cello.
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This work for solo cello is in some ways a companion piece to my percussion quartet, Sea of Tranquility (2004) in that they are both concerned with the Moon. While the material is different, both works also share a triple-time groove, albeit in different tempi.
In the case of Lunar Orbit (2011), I spent some time contemplating the 1969 Apollo 11 mission (that first landed human beings on the Moon) from two perspectives. Firstly, that of Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin, who after landing successfully on the Moon and having done the required 'field trip' (collecting rocks etc.) were then required to sleep before taking off again. This they found impossible, achieving at best a fitful rest in the frigid lander vehicle. Aldrin famously described his impression of the Moon as "magnificent desolation".
And secondly, the experience of Michael Collins who remained aboard the command module Columbia in orbit of the moon while Armstrong and Aldrin were on the surface. He experienced unprecedented isolation, not being able to communicate with Earth or even his fellow astronauts while orbiting the so-called 'dark' side of the Moon.
This solo cello work, cast in arch form, is somehow a contemplation of all that and is written for and dedicated to Auckland cellist, Ashley Brown.
Duration: 5 min.
Dedication note: Dedicated to Ashley Brown
Written for: Ashley Brown
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