I worked with Space City Films, a Houston-based production company, to write a soundtrack for a promotional film for the Northrop Grumman Corporation. The result, Destination: Mars, premiered at the 29th National Space Symposium on April 8, 2013 in Colorado Springs, CO and won a 2013 Telly Award for visual effects. It depicts two children as they are inspired to become an astronaut and a flight director, eventually taking part in the first manned mission to Mars.
The concept lent itself to taking a simple motive – in this case, sol-fa-mi-do against E major and A minor (later C major 7) harmonies – and gradually developing it through variation and expanded orchestration. Two related units of material – the harmonic pattern I-iii-IV as Brady builds a LEGO Mars rover, and a countermelody in the horns during the training sequence – are also established early on. As the mission takes a dark turn, I convert the original motive into octatonic, but its resolution is heralded by the return of Brady’s chords in the harp. The countermelody takes precedence again, but is supplanted by an expanded version of the original motive set against Brady’s chords. After a triumphant final statement in B major – a fifth away from the original tonal center – there is a hint of the piano and electronic effects from the beginning.