Starting in 2004, composer Bear McCreary broke the mold with his background music for the Sci Fi cable-TV channel's series Battlestar Galactica (not to be confused with the original series of the same name that ran on network television from 1978 to 1980, or the 2003 mini-series also called Battlestar Galactica). For McCreary, space was not to be the musical setting for sweeping symphonic themes, as it had been for his many predecessors. McCreary's space music was akin to world music, full of various contemporary ethnic styles and, more than anything else, drums. That's the sound heard especially on the soundtrack album for the first season and, to a lesser extent, the second season's CD as well. This time around, however, McCreary clearly states in his liner notes that he was making a virtue of necessity; if he didn't write symphonic pieces, it was because the producers "didn't want an orchestral score cluttering up their series," and, presumably, because they didn't want to pay the freight: "My approach bordering on minimalism, I set out scoring the first season with a small ensemble of ethnic percussion and woodwinds." Everything is different now. This third-season soundtrack credits 46 string players, along with nine other musicians. McCreary still loves drums, and he has a noticeable affinity for Indian music that is apparent immediately in the leadoff track, "A Distant Sadness" (which also features Raya Yarbrough singing lyrics in Armenian), as well as a taste for Celtic sounds that leads him to use uilleann pipes on several cues. But for the first time, music from the TV series takes a more conventional orchestral approach, and McCreary even plays a solo piano piece, "Battlestar Sonatica." Executive producer Ronald D. Moore contributes an extensive justification in his liner notes for the use of the Bob Dylan song "All Along the Watchtower" (with a sort of hard rock/Indian arrangement and vocals by BT4), a selection apparently not in keeping with the show's science-fiction setting. But it's hard to see why anyone would object; suspended disbelief has been a part of a musical appreciation of the series from the start.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by William Ruhlmann
|Battlestar Galactica, television series score (2004- )|