Da Vinci's Demons: Season 2
Music By: Bear McCreary
Distributed by: Sparks & Shadows
Reviewed by Melissa Minners
Da Vinci's Demons is a dramatic television series airing on STARZ. Taking place during the Renaissance Period, the series stars Tom Riley as a young Leonardo Da Vinci. At 25 years of age, Da Vinci is a genius, inventor, artist, idealist and lover who struggles for recognition among his peers. In this series, he is not yet the famous historic individual we have all studied in school, but a struggling artist bent on success. The series is not factually based - this period of Da Vinci's life is largely unrecorded - but a fictional account of what Da Vinci might have gone through while attempting to find fame as an inventor/artist in the early years of his life.
In the second season of Da Vinci's Demons, Leonardo Da Vinci finds himself aiding in Florence's defense against Rome. When the dust settles, Da Vinci decides to go in search of the Book of Leaves, a tome believed to hold mysterious truths and the answers as to who his mother was and why she abandoned him. Da Vinci's adventures bring him up against new enemies and revelations that will challenge everything he thought he knew about the world and his own history.
Having created the musical score of the first season, it comes as no surprise that Bear McCreary has returned for the second season of Da Vinci's Demons. An American composer, McCreary is best known for the musical score he created for the re-imagined Battlestar Galactica television series. Since then, he has worked on scores for a number of genre, including film, television and video games. Among the titles in his résumé are The Walking Dead, Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Black Sails, Knights of Badassdom, Europa Report, Defiance, Dark Void and more.
According to Bear McCreary, "...Season 2 is adventurous, ambitious storytelling that required a dynamic, thematically-layered score. The season-premiere plunges the audience right back into the chaos from the first-season cliffhanger, and the tension never lets up. The score was an immense challenge but among the most creatively rewarding experiences of my life." Da Vinci's extensive travel in the second season called upon McCreary to create musical score that reflected the various locations of each episode. According to McCreary, "The challenge was to take all the Renaissance instruments and themes I'd accumulated during the first season and add a whole new sound to them. As always, I strove for authenticity. The Peruvian vocals throughout the season are genuine pre-Columbian indigenous chants that we recorded with singers who trekked down from the mountains to a recording studio in Lima specifically to perform on this score. When Da Vinci sees Machu Picchu on screen, the score quotes a song from the region that is over five hundred years old. It is not often that a television show offers this kind of creative opportunity!”
The first track on the Da Vinci's Demons: Season 2 Soundtrack, Florence Under Siege, starts off with music and singing that one might expect to hear in a church, then becomes more action-based as the battle ensues. Tracks like Transfusion and The Antidote have a dramatic and somber tone, leading one to believe that perhaps Da Vinci is in some sort of trouble or despair. The dream-like theme of Lucretia from the first season returns and is interspersed throughout the soundtrack. Once we reach the seventh track, Machu Picchu, the score takes on a more exotic flare. Track 15, The Brazen Head, is quite different from the rest of the score, opening with cranking noises or perhaps the sounds of gears grinding and music box sounds before becoming dark and ominous orchestral music.
The Da Vinci's Demons: Season 2 Soundtrack features a marked difference in scoring for Bear McCreary. With the exception of heavy percussion accentuating the dramatic events and revelations in the series, the musical score is quite different from anything I've heard from McCreary before. I loved the exotic tones that defined Da Vinci's travels and the orchestral strains that described the more mysterious and somber moments of the season. The soundtrack of the second season is a must listen for any fan of the show or Bear McCreary's work.