Battlestar Galactica Season 2/Bear McCreary

June 27, 2006

 

One of the last things to expect on a Sci Fi Channel Television Series Soundtrack would be chamber music. Part of the story of the composing and performing of this work is quite tragic. The lead violinist of the Supernova Quartet Ludvig Girdland, was hit by a drunk driver about a month after the recording of “Saying Goodbye” and at the time of this writing has been in a coma for several months. Bear changed the name of the track to “A Promise To Return” and has dedicated this lovely piece to Ludvig. The quartet continues in “Allegro”, and performs an interesting variation of the theme in “Roslin and Adama”, which not only includes the quartet but a little guitar work giving it a classical/ rock style of flavor to it. At the end of “Roslin Confesses”, a sad and melancholy track, the theme and the quartet appear yet once again. While this understandably doesn’t have the complexity of a Beethoven or Shostakovich Quartet it is still quite good and developed enough to stand on its own merit. There is also a brief statement of “The Promise To Return” theme by the Supernova Quartet at the end of “Roslin Confesses”. It would be interesting at least to this reviewer to hear a more complete version of the “A Promise To Return”. Well done.

Now would you expect midi programming, drum kits, electric guitars and violins, and pounding percussion? If your answer was yes your 100% correct. The “Colonial Anthem” which is the theme from the original Battlestar Galactica by Stu Philips/Glen A. Larson is adapted and arranged by Bear starting in a solemn manner complete with Uillean Pipes, distant horns and then leading us into a proud march version of theme and ending with the pipes. Alas the budget didn’t allow for the full symphonic version complete with a full complement of woodwinds and percussion. It is still a wonderful version, one that should immediately go into the i-pod. As explained in the liner notes Bear was given use of the original sheet music by Stu Philips and even played the track for him upon completion and Stu liked it enough to give Bear an autograph!

Interested in a cooler than cool action track? Try out “Prelude to War” an extended 8 minute track. So many times in action tracks it just goes over the top with being too loud, way too much pounding percussion etc. Frankly, a lot of noise comes to mind. Not the case with this track. There is a melody quite vivace in style with a nice counter melody some percussion but definitely not over the top. Well, not too much. It is loud, but the theme is more than interesting enough to keep my attention. All in all it is a well orchestrated track.

How about a little Irish music? Try out “Reuniting The Fleet” a nice melody very smooth, a bit tragic which features some good Irish Whistle work from Eric Rigler. Want a little vocal music? This soundtrack has it in “Lords of Kobol” featuring Raya Yarbrough. “Baltar’s Dream” and “Standing In The Mud” feature some authentic sounding middle eastern ethnic music complete with the ethnic woodwinds and pipes. A nice slow dance rock style track is featured on “Pegasus”. Oh to be a teenager again! “Black Market”, yet another middle eastern style composition allows us to hear some of the fine guitar work of Steve Bartek. While this is definitely not my cup of tea, it is one that many of the younger generation will appreciate. There is a brief track featuring Richard’s Gibbs main title to Battlestar Galactica and what you have is a soundtrack that has a little bit to offer everyone: chamber type classical, rock, action, vocal, it has it all. Oh wait there is no country, big band. And while there is obviously no easy listening music it was pretty darn interesting.

Bear handles a lot of the chores in terms of orchestrating, conducting, producing, and performing. This series is his baby and it certainly shows. Recording, mixing, and editing are ably performed by Steve Kaplan and James Nelson. The one complaint would be to have had a full orchestra for the playing of the “Colonial Anthem” track, but other than that even 58 year old ears can appreciate! Recommended.

Track listing

1.

Colonial Anthem (04:02)
Battlestar Galactica theme from “Final Cut”

2.

Baltar’s Dream (02:45)
from “Valley of Darkness”

3.

Escape from the Farm (03:09)
from “The Farm”

4.

A Promise to Return (03:03)
from “The Farm” featuring Ludvig Girdland & The Supernova String Quartet

5.

Allegro (04:59)
from “Home, Part I”

6.

Martial Law (01:51)
from “Fragged”

7.

Standing in the Mud (01:45)
from “Black Market”

8.

Pegasus (02:46)
from “Pegasus”

9.

Lords of Kobol (02:50)
from “Pegasus” featuring Raya Yarbrough

10.

Somethign Dark is Coming (08:51)
from “Lay Down Your Burdens, Part I”

11.

Scar (02:26)
from “Scar”

12.

Epiphanies (02:43)
from “Epiphanies”

13.

Roslin and Adama (02:49)
from “Resurrection Ship, Parts I & II”

14.

Gina Escapes (02:00)
from “Ressurection Ship, Part II”

15.

Dark Unions (02:53)
from “Lay Down Your Burdens, Part II”

16.

The Cylon Prisoner (03:51)
from “Pegasus” featuring Bt4

17.

Prelude to War (08:22)
from “Pegasus” and “Resurrection Ship, Parts I & II”

18.

Reuniting the Fleet (02:45)
from “Home, Parts I & II”

19.

Roslin Confesses (02:09)
from “Lay Down Your Burdens, Part II”

20.

One Year Later (01:43)
from “Lay Down Your Burdens, Part II”

21.

Worthy of Survival (03:35)
from “Lay Down Your Burdens, Part II”

22.

Battlestar Galactica Main Title (00:45)

23.

Black Market (05:48)
from “Black Market” featuring Steve Bartek


Total Duration: 01:17:50

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