August 5, 2009

Album Review: Battlestar Galactica, Season 3 (Original Television Soundtrack)

Battlestar Galactica has since come and gone from the airwaves, with the occasional exception of the TV movies that they're planning - the upcoming one is entitled The Plan, due out sometime this year - but the ending season's soundtrack has just been released, ending what is a fine tradition of outstanding scoring for the series.

Battlestar Galactica has always had a soundtrack that's stood out, and each of the five soundtracks released for the Miniseries and resulting four seasons have been outstanding, different and beautiful. Composer Bear McCreary has utilized a number of different instruments and influences, from classical to Indian throughout the series, and this season is no exception, and is possibly the best score of the entire series.

Gatea's song from early on in the season is the opening track, and is a beautiful and haunting song, and helps to set the tone for the rest of the score. The sound for the entire season is one that is largely based off of the previous themes, matured and evolved from their starting points. This doesn't mean that the entire soundtrack is a rehash of what we've already heard. There's a greater urgency with some of these songs as the action in the series ramps up, especially evident with the track The Signal, and Roslin Escapes, while new themes, such as from the excellent Resurrection Hub, which is easily one of the best tracks on the score.

Season 4 was one of the seasons where the show began to end the story, wrapping up storylines and building to the conclusion. As a result, much of these two discs feel far less like a television soundtrack and far more like a movie soundtrack. The themes are greater, more sweeping and make their presence felt, which is highly appropriate for the last moments. Case in point would be Farewell Apollo early on in the list, but this really kicks in for the finale moments of the show.

This starts with Diaspora Oratorio, the track that came over when the fleet came across the First Earth for the mid-season finale, which would have worked easily as an end for the show. By far, this is my absolute favorite track for the entire series. It is epic, beautiful and sweeping, and far out of character for the show, which helps to set it apart. From there, the last eigh tracks cover the final moments of the show, and put together a somber, epic and wonderful sendoff to the show. Earth, Goodbye Sam, Heart of the Sun, Starbuck Disappears, So Much Life, An Easterly View and The Passage of Time all allow for a proper sendoff to all the characters, with hints of some of the original themes throughout, but often with a far more etherial sound to them that transends much of what we've heard before.

This soundtrack stands far apart from most other ones that I've heard. It's beautiful, simply elegant, and a proper sendoff to the series. I'll be very sad that this is the last soundtrack, and undoubtably, it will be known as McCreary's finest works. There was a lot of original, creative energy here over the course of the series, and I have no idea when we'll see something like this again.

Resurrection Hub - Bear McCreary
Diaspora Oratorio - Bear McCreary
Starbuck Disappears - Bear McCreary
So Much Life - Bear McCreary