I composed Titan, the Bold (2018) as part of a larger musical suite for wind ensemble entitled The Moons, a response to Gustav Holst’s The Planets suite for orchestra. While Holst’s The Planets depicts each planet (except Earth) according to its mythology and astrology, The Moons focuses heavily on the science and astronomy behind each moon’s story.
Titan, the Bold portrays Titan, the moon of Saturn and second largest moon in the solar system. The piece illustrates the wonders of the moon’s Earth-like atmosphere, clouds filled with rain, and otherworldly methane-ethane lakes. Titan, the Bold begins by plunging into Titan’s dense atmosphere, represented by tall cluster chords in the woodwinds. After passing through the atmosphere, a somber melody in the low clarinets enters to illustrate sailing in a boat along Titan’s ethereal lakes of methane and ethane. (Titan is the only other body in the solar system besides Earth to have lakes on its surface.) As the horns restate the melody increasing in energy, the woodwinds spiral downward in flurries to depict raining methane and ethane from Titan’s clouds above. The brass section slowly takes over the ensemble, triumphantly singing a new, bold melody–an anthem to the unknowns of space exploration. Out of the triumph, atmospheric chords return similar to the exposition of the piece, orchestrated in the woodwinds slowly fading away into the void of space.
Special thanks to the UT Wind Ensemble for recording the work, Matthew Sedatole for his fantastic conducting and leadership, and Dr. Donald Grantham for advising me in the composition process.