Apollo Variations


Program Notes

Program Notes
  • I


  • II

    Mare Tranquillitatis (Sea of Tranquility)

  • III

    "…that tiny pea, pretty and blue…"

(performed without interruption)

Apollo Variations for trumpet and symphonic orchestra

I have been always fascinated by Space and our draw towards its exploration. Neil Armstrong said, "…it's in the nature of the human being to face challenges…just as salmon swims upstream."

In 1969, the first humans walked on the Moon. Launched in 1977, the Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 spacecrafts carry into deep space our interstellar message, recordings of images and music of Earth.

Apollo Variations is a romantic concert piece inspired by this wondrous human enterprise. The piece has three sections. While distinctive, the sections are united by loose variations of a theme quoted from Louis Armstrong's Melancholy Blues, included on the Golden Records aboard Voyagers. The opening motif of the theme is the musical interval of the second, a symbol for "one small step."

"…that tiny pea, pretty and blue, was the Earth."  Neil Armstrong (1930 - 2012)

Apollo Variations recording session


Left to right: Ron Artinian - music director, Don Hunerberg - sound engineer, Nathan Warner - trumpet soloist, Chris Abell - studio engineer

Solo trumpet: Nathan Warner

Recorded by Ravel Virtual Studios, New York. Music director: Ron Artinian

Apollo Variations for Trumpet and Symphonic Orchestra