“Battlestar Galactica: Season 4”, is easily Bear McCreary’s most dazzling score. Released by La-La Land Records, the 2-disc compilation is a frenetic, wall-rattling final tour of television’s most explosive music.
The album is a daunting testament to McCreary’s prowess as a television composer. An instrumental orgasm for choir, orchestra, percussion, ethnic soloists and even a few of the cast members that complements the end of the fleet’s long journey.
This is more rock opera than space opera.
Brimming with pulse pounding excitement, disc one compiles the best of season 4. “Gaeta’s Lament” kicks off the epic collection with Alessandro Juliani, the actor who portrayed Felix Gaeta, offering his formidable vocal talents. Simply beautiful to listen to as the pain and hope swell to a crescendo in signature McCreary style, that keen sense of the larger story.
“The Signal” returns with a heightened urgency to the war drums and electric guitars that have become staples of the series’ musical identity. But added to the mix is the wonderful choral accompaniment meant to underscore a miraculous discovery amidst the dread of nuclear standoff. “The Cult of Baltar” finds its legs upon the vocals of series regular Raya Yarbrough in an eerie incantation of womanly power and obsession. Her throaty sexy voice coats the track in a strange and enticing siren like call that builds to a rocking climax that just overwhelms you by the end.
“Blood on the Scales” recalls some of the more memorable events on the series. The track is all about the tension and release of a mutiny become affirmation of our central characters. With statements of familiar character themes reaching larger than life proportion it’s hard not to succumb to a goosebump inducing coma. At its heart are the first and only appearance of Zarek’s Theme (played by Richard Hatch) and the use of the Biwa and Shamisen, giving the track a sense of Kabuki Theater. The frakking thing is an all out war in musical terms.
Even toward the end, McCreary and co. never stopped experimenting.
The entirety of disc one straddles genre and style. From Dredilide Thrace’s piano sonata to the rousing reworking of last season’s cover of “All Along the Watchtower,” called “Kara Remembers,” McCreary challenges expectation with each successive track.
Disc two boasts the hour of music written simply for the two part series finale titled “Daybreak.” Track one on the disc called “Caprica City, Before the Fall” transports the listener back to an ordinary life without war or struggle, only to give way to the strange days ahead as ethic riffs close out the track.
By far the most engrossing part of the second disc is “Assault on the Colony;” fifteen minute slug fest of percussion, woodwind and string orchestra exploding into a storm of cataclysm befitting humanity’s desperate last stand.
A provocative send off to a provocative collection, “The Passage of Time” is the last brief gasp on the album ending on a mysterious note of things to come.
The album is the sum of the evolutionary process of the composer, performers and series as a whole. It’s all here. The quiet, the earth shattering, groundbreaking, wondrous work of five years has all been given its just display in this collection. The passion of the creators is utterly clear. This is BSG at its most action- packed, most challenging, most majestic and most thought provoking.
Looking back at the series, this is what it was all about and boy- was it ever worth it.