Battlestar Galactica: Season 4

Bear McCreary

 
" Say it once, say it loud: I'm a Battlestar fan and I'm proud "

Written by Thomas Glorieux - Review of the regular release

Contains minor spoilers

With the arrival of the fourth and final season of Battlestar Galactica, fans from all over the world were finally able to see all the missing pieces come together. Questions like: 'who is the final fifth cylon', 'will they find earth', 'what will happen between the cylons and humans', 'how will each character be given his own personal sendoff', Season 4 more or less answers pretty much all of them. Yet with a long awaited finish of the Battlestar series also belongs a much beloved and awaited soundtrack album. La-La Land records went for a bold yet highly beloved move, releasing a double CD of the 4th and final season. Containing a compilation of the most diverse moments, and a second disc that personally presents more or less the final episode in full, this soundtrack became destined to succeed. For people, it was the perfect way to see Bear McCreary finish what he started in style.

From season 1 to season 4, we have seen Bear McCreary grow as composer, as stylist, as man, as cylon. You have to read the blog of Bear McCreary (www.bearmccreary.com/blog) constantly to realize that he has done the impossible. Not only has he made the science fiction genre sound bolder and more eclectic than ever before, he has also given each character on screen a distinct personal theme, sometimes even a couple per character. The quest for Earth is then also much more fun, if you follow the character themes to the inevitable discovery of Earth. For people who get lost along the way, here are some theme statements I've picked up (sadly not all of them because there are a countless more) to help you on your quest:

Gaeta's theme CD 1: 1, 12, 15
Final Four Theme CD 1: 2, 13, 17, 18 --- CD 2: 1, 5, 7
Kara's or Starbuck's Theme: CD 1: 2, 10, 17 --- CD 2: 5, 7
The Hub Theme CD 1: 3
Baltar's Theme CD 1: 4 --- CD 2: 1, 6, 13, 14
Adama Theme (aka Wander my friends) CD 1: 5, 16 --- CD 2: 3, 10, 12
Kara's Destiny Theme: CD 1: 7, 11
Adama and Roslin Theme: CD 1: 8, 11 --- CD 2: 4, 12
Cally's Theme: CD 1: 9 --- CD 2: 7
Laura's Religious Theme: CD 1: 10 --- CD 2: 2, 5
Zarek's theme: CD 1: 15
Diaspora Oratorio Theme: CD 1: 20 --- CD 2: 13
Boomer's Theme: CD 2: 5
Earth Theme: CD 2: 1, 8, 13
Lee and Kara's Theme: CD 2: 1, 11
Military Theme: CD 2: 1, 3, 4, 10
Lee's Theme: CD 2: 5
The Shape of Things to Come: CD 2: 5, 13
Kara and Anders theme: CD 2: 9

Disc 1 opens with the score's most surprising track. Used only half inside the episode itself, Gaeta's grief is the basis for the song "Gaeta's Lament", and quite quickly it became the theme for Gaeta himself. Fantastically sung by Alessandro Juliani, I can only be breathless after hearing this amazing opening cue. This theme is repeated in "Gaeta's Lament (Instrumental)" and during the brilliant episodes 'The Oath' and 'Blood on the Scales'.

After that, Battlestar Galactica: Season 4 unleashes 2 hours of heavenly diverse music, beginning with the simply awesome "The Signal". Stating for the first time ever choir in a Battlestar episode, the track runs towards its climax under the control of the choir, interrupted only by Kara's theme as she holds the fate of Tigh in her hands. But with this the magic is only beginning. The amazing lyrical Hub theme in "Resurrection Hub" gets a better performance each time we near the resurrection.

Baltar's theme spins around his spiritual theme in "The Cult of Baltar" as he wanders around his flock as the almighty shepherd, Adama's soaring theme gets a never before felt salute in "Farewell Apollo", Japanese instruments invade "Roslin Escapes", leading her escape with dynamic ethnicity to the bleak and sombre "Among the Ruins, realizing that they have discovered a totally different Earth than they imagined they would find. Kara's Destiny theme returns as we discover what her destiny truly is. Another bleak moment lies ahead in "Cally Descends", stating the Cally theme as it glides down along with her sanity, stated by the electric fiddle and bansuri.

Trying to recover from the huge disappointing discovery, Laura tries to squeeze every last drop of life out of her body. Adama seeing this tries to stop her, but there's no stopping their Adama and Roslin theme in the catchy and brilliant "Laura Runs". That life is dying however in "Funeral Pyre", stating both Laura's religious theme as Kara's theme, as they both die together a little bit in this piece of music. At the end you can even hear Kandyse McClure humming, which she did just prior to committing suicide.

The blossoming love never dies however, and rightfully so it pours back the emotion in "Roslin and Adama Reunited", stating the Adama and Roslin theme touching and beautifully captivating.

People that know the deal around "Blood on the Scales" will understand that not one 1 but 2 themes drive the entire track's potential. As Zarek and Gaeta are orchestrating the mutiny, it are their 2 themes that interweave with one another, stating their performances each time they appear on screen.

Definitely one the coolest musical episodes was "Someone to Watch Over Me". Perhaps not special at first, the brilliant transformation during the final 10 minutes was worthy of all the fuss. Stating the 3 tracks that mark this transformation, it is the second one that gives me the goose bumps each and every time. "Kara Remembers" has from out of nowhere the Final Four theme, bringing forth an amazing WOW feeling once you realize you were listening to it all along. Luckily this theme is far from over stating its importance, in fact it is just the beginning.

Yet the beginning has an end, briefly when we hear "Diaspora Oratorio". Following the choral climax in "The Signal", it is here where Bear continues with the choir, and it is here where he paints an uplifting, relieving, simply put beautiful resolving finish for the discovery of Earth. One of the hardest pieces he ever had to write, Bear made the impossible happen, giving Battlestar the last remaining unique voice it was lacking. Here that void is filled with a beautiful hymn, ending disc 1 as strong as it began with "Gaeta's Lament".

Opening disc 2, we are immediately drawn to a lovely theme that will be known as the Earth theme, yet also notable appearances are noted of the final four theme statement, partly the love theme of Kara and Lee (the first 4 notes of the track), the military theme (lovely disguised here due to the use of the equally lovely bansuri), Baltar's theme, and possibly others too. Quite frankly, Bear states these themes so between one another, it is impossible to tell how frakking brilliant he just delivers them.

Laura's religious theme is shattered and helpless, as it underscores "Laura's Baptism", showing Laura washing away her pains in the fountain. Adama's theme counterattacking the military theme in "Adama in the Memorial Hallway" shows Adama must do the one and only right thing.

"The Line" shows the decision must be made separately for everyone, and once again it is the military theme that is counterattacking countless theme statements, including the Adama and Roslin theme. But picking out the character theme statements in "Assault on the Colony" is like beginning to mention what are the good points of Adama (meaning you don't know where to begin). Take it from me, if you see a character showing their fighting skills on screen, you will be hearing their initial theme. The cue itself is one massive assault cue of drums and orchestra joining forces to create the biggest action cue of the series ever. (There's a brilliant Starbuck theme in the middle and an enchanting Laura Religious Theme on vocals that you'll remember as highlights concerning the character themes). The shape of Things to Come is of course a necessity.

Baltar's theme rejoices "Baltar's Sermon" and lets the final four theme now truly come to life in the next track. Resulting in the ultimate musical rocking climax ever heard, "Kara's Coordinates" is the cream of the crop for whoever thought the final four theme couldn't be any better than the one heard in "Kara Remembers". Well, you thought wrong.

Having found the significant meaning of the notes, Kara has finally brought them to "Earth", showing an even more wondrous performance of the Earth theme, leading into the emotional climax of the Battlestar Galactica series.

In "Goodbye Sam" a returning theme of "Promise to Return" (Season 2) is heard once again, showing it is this time Sam's moment to go away. In here the Kara and Anders (love) theme is stated in beautiful touching ways. And I think no 2 themes could interact with one another so perfectly as the Adama theme and the original Battlestar theme as heard in "The Heart of the Sun". It is easily put one of the most brilliant spine tingling moments of the entire Battlestar series.

Now that each person goes his own personal way, it is time to say goodbye with the personal themes of the characters. In "Starbuck Disappears" her destiny theme and a fragment of the Lee and Kara love theme are heard (ending with a final statement of Kara's theme). Another love theme is heartbreakingly beautiful in unison with the Adama theme in "So Much Life", as father and son say goodbye, and Adama and Roslin as well. Like Bear, I have no problem to admit I was crying when I heard (and saw) it.

But we all knew how Battlestar needed to end. And that meant with Bear's most brilliant theme of all, namely The Shape of Things to Come. In "An Easterly View" we have the lovely return of the Diaspora Oratorio Theme, the Earth theme, Baltar's theme and the send off with The Shape of Things to Come (with added bagpipes as it shows us Adama). Like in season 1, it is imprinted in my mind with the visuals until the day I die ... and revive as a Cylon.

Even though I wasn't sold to the sound and series during the opening pilot and first episodes, my mind was falling in love with each member the more I saw the episodes flashing by. And with it, I fell in love with Bear McCreary's music. However nothing could prepare anyone from the fact Battlestar Galactica would develop from a modern diverse score to a full emotional powerhouse score we know it is today. Without question, Battlestar Galactica: Season 4 is the pinnacle of Bear McCreary's career, it is his LOTR if we could compare epic scores. Having written themes that will no doubt counterattack the themes of Lost only in numbers, the result is one that deserves recognition. Because even Bear didn't realize at one point that he has made history, 150.000 years of history.

Ultimately, it was sad to realize that Bear McCreary wasn't the final fifth cylon. But then again he couldn't be. Cylons aren't perfect, Bear McCreary's Battlestar Galactica: Season 4 is perfect. FRAKKING PERFECT.

Tracklisting

Disc 1: 77.27
1. Gaeta's Lament * (4.49) Excellent track
2. The Signal (5.09) Excellent track
3. Resurrection Hub (3.40) Excellent track
4. The Cult of Baltar (5.42)
5. Farewell Apollo (2.55) Excellent track
6. Roslin Escapes (2.55)
7. Among the Ruins (7.44)
8. Laura Runs (2.21) Excellent track
9. Cally Descends (3.08)
10. Funeral Pyre (3.57)
11. Roslin and Adama Reunited (1.59) Excellent track
12. Gaeta's Lament (Instrumental) (4.50) Excellent track
13. Elegy (2.55)
14. The Alliance (2.30)
15. Blood on the Scales (5.19)
16. Grand Old Lady (0.51)
17. Kara Remembers (3.28) Excellent track
18. Boomer Takes Hera (2.39)
19. Dreilide Thrace Sonata No 1 (5.35)
20. Diaspora Oratorio (4.52) Excellent track

Disc 2: 59.15
1. Caprica City, Before the Fall (4.34)
2. Laura's Baptism (2.40)
3. Adama in the Memorial Hallway (2.11)
4. The Line (3.57) Excellent track
5. Assault on the Colony (15.09) Excellent track
6. Baltar's Sermon (4.25)
7. Kara's Coordinates (4.21) Excellent track
8. Earth (3.08) Excellent track
9. Goodbye Sam (2.11) Excellent track
10. The Heart of the Sun + (3.20) Excellent track
11. Starbuck Disappears (2.09)
12. So Much Life (5.01) Excellent track
13. An Easterly View (4.23) Excellent track
14. The Passage of Time (1.18)

* Performed by Alessandro Juliani
+ Contains the theme of Battlestar Galactica, composed by Stu Philips
(click to rate this score)  
 
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(total of 25 votes - average 3.98/5)

Released by

La-La Land Records LLLCD 1100 (regular release 2009)

Conducted by

Bear McCreary

Orchestrations by

Brandon Roberts