Film Score Friday Top 5: Cues from the “Battlestar Galactica” soundtrack albums

This list is long overdue.  Bear McCreary’s scores for Battlestar need no introduction, so I’ll give none.  With five soundtrack albums (including Richard Gibbs’ score for the miniseries) to choose from, it’s hard to choose only five, but here it goes.

#1) “Thousands Left Behind” – Richard Gibbs, “Miniseries”:  A chilling cue using mostly gamelan, but also drums and some electronic effects, it slowly builds as the now President Roslin gives the cue for the civilian fleet (still without “Galactica”) to jump away from the soon to come Cylons…leaving thousands of people stranded on ships without jump drives.  As it builds, the rhythms speeds up and volume increases.  I’m not a huge fan of the “Miniseries” score, but it does have some great cues and this is my favorite.

#2) “Something Dark is Coming” – Bear McCreary, “Lay Down Your Burdens, Part I”:  This is the cue that actually made me sit up and take notice of McCreary’s work on the show.  This cue plays under the opening teaser that, as you might guess from the title, sets the scene for the episode (I won’t reveal more for fear of spoilers).  It’s score for bass and electric guitars (with some wicked reverb), along with Galactica‘s standard compliment of duduk, taikos, etc., and even strings (which only rarely make appearances this early on in the series).

#3) “The Shape of Things to Come” – Bear McCreary, “Kobol’s Last Gleaming, Part II”: And speaking of strings, it was with the two part Season 1 finale that we finally heard strings in the series score.  I blogged more extensively on the sequence of cues that this is from (“Passacaglia” to “Shape of Things to Come” to “Allegro” and on), so I’ll let you read that post.

#4) “Farewell Apollo” – Bear McCreary, “Six of One”: This cue features another favorite McCreary theme, that for the Adama family (William, commander of “Galactica,” and his son Lee).  This version comes from Season 4 as Lee is leaving “Galactica” to assume a new post.  The Adama family theme is always heavily tinged with Irish pipes giving it a very old, military air (think of the song “The Minstral Boy”).  Outside of the actual song version, “Wander My Friends” from the Season 1 album, this one strikes me as the most dignified version.  It also includes fiddle which also reminds one of the theme for President Roslin and William Adama.

#5) “Kara Remembers” – Bear McCreary, “Someone to Watch Over Me”: This cue, also from the just released Season 4 album, actually mixes digetic and non-diegetic music as we hear what Kara and her Father are playing on the piano in the “Galactica” bar, but it eventually brings in non-diegetic instruments to accompany.  This is a favorite because it from one of the most pivotal scenes from all the series.

I could go on and on, and maybe I’ll pick some more choice cues next week or in the future, but that’s all for now folks.  TTFN.

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