Battlestar Galactica: Season 4
Composed by: Bear McCreary
Distributed by: La-La Land Records
Reviewed by Melissa Minners
In March of 2009, Battlestar Galactica aired its last episode on the Syfy Network. Beginning as a miniseries in the year 2003, Battlestar Galactica was somewhat of a recreation of the original 1970s science fiction drama of the same name. The outline for the miniseries came from novels based upon the original television drama. Skeptics soon became avid fans and a miniseries soon became a regular series with a huge following.
Recently called one of the top ten composers “that make space adventures epic” by www.io9.com, Bear McCreary’s work on the musical score of the Battlestar Galactica series has been described by Variety as “some of the most innovative music on TV today.” Working within the film and television mediums, McCreary has amassed quite an impressive list of musical scores, including Rest Stop, Wrong Turn 2, Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, Eureka and Caprica. Composer Bear McCreary has been creating exciting and original musical score for the series since its inception and this fourth and final season is no exception.
Unlike the previous seasons’ soundtracks, Battlestar Galactica: Season 4 contains two full-length CDs, one dedicated to the music from the various episodes of that season and the second dedicated to the Daybreak story arc. The soundtrack also comes complete with a booklet containing words about McCreary’s work from various actors, producers and other crew members, some words from Bear McCreary himself, photos, a note from La-La Land Records and lyrics from songs featured in the soundtrack.
Bear McCreary’s approach to the Battlestar Galactica musical score has always been innovative. His tracks have an exotic flair that is always hard to pin down as he never stays vested in one culture’s style. One moment you’re hearing a Celtic track, the next will be Middle Eastern. One moment you’ll be listening to a folk song and the next you’ll be jamming to some good old rock and roll. McCreary’s signature sound for the Battlestar Galactica musical score has always been the percussion which adds something of a tribal sound to each track.
McCreary’s approach to the Season 4 musical score has been much the same. In an effort to create an exotic sound, McCreary’s compositions included a number of exotic instruments in addition to the standard violins, keyboards, guitars and horns. These exotic instruments include the duduk, bansuri, Uilleann pipes, Irish whistles, erhu, yialli tanbur, biwa, lafta, and shamisen. In addition to these instruments, McCreary also used the innovative sounds of the electric violin and the harmonium.
Songs featuring lyrics also received the same exotic attention. Of all such songs on the soundtrack, only one, Gaeta’s Lament, a sorrowful Celtic folksong, is in English. The rest of the lyrical tracks are performed in different languages such as Samoan, Anglo-Saxon and Latin. Often times the lyrics are less sung than chanted, offering up qualities that are at once warlike and mystical.
McCreary’s tracks have mostly averaged around three to five minutes in length, but for Daybreak, McCreary decided to created a track much longer. Assault on the Colony is fifteen-plus minutes in length and is, by far, the longest track of musical score I have ever listened to from this composer. When listening to Assault on the Colony, it is easy to label this as the track that never ends, however, there are so many different styles and nuances in this composition, that one hardly minds listening to the entire thing.
My favorite tracks, besides all those containing the tribal sounds of the taiko drum, are The Heart of the Sun and Kara Remembers. The Heart of the Sun is the 10th track on the second CD and features an homage to the soundtrack of the original 1970s television series at the very end. But Kara Remembers, the 17th track on the first CD, is my ultimate favorite. It starts off slowly with some sedate keyboards, gains momentum with percussion and then ultimately rocks out with some serious guitar riffs.
The Battlestar Galactica: Season 4 Soundtrack is not only an incredibly enjoyable, innovative musical composition and the culmination of six years of hard work, but an incredible steal at only $17.00 - $23.00 US. This soundtrack will make any fan of Battlestar Galactica or Bear McCreary extremely happy. Bear McCreary has always been successful in using music to define the various characters that appear and events that take place in the Battlestar Galactica series. The Battlestar Galactica: Season 4 Soundtrack represents some of his best work for the series and is well worth the listen.
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