Battlestar Galactica: Season 4
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Two CD set. Acclaimed Battlestar composer Bear McCreary pulls out all the musical stops with his sensational music score to the fourth and final season of the critically lauded Sci Fi Channel television series starring Edward James Olmos, Mary McDonnell, James Callis, Tricia Helfer and Katee Sackhoff. McCreary enriches and expands his glorious, one-of-a-kind mix of orchestra, vocals, Rock, World-Beats and synth. A sonic powerhouse that lives on beyond this beloved television show.
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The opening, an album version of Gaeta's Lament, is not sung impromptu and alone as it was on the show, but with an epic orchestral backing. It showcases the ability of the singer, though I do still wish some source version had been included. The instrumental version is also sightly different from the show's edit, but is tremendously entertaining and one that I skip to a lot. There's a strong Japanese element in season 4 that shows up in several tracks, as well as the long, sad string buildup from the episode in which they discover they spent most of the series in vain. More faithful renditions of everything from Roslin and Adama's reuniting theme to the eerie old english stylings of Baltar's harem are included. The "Watchtower" riff from last season is embedded in several tracks in radically different ways. There's also some solo piano, ostensibly from an important character on the show, and the climatic Diaspora Oratorio, a soaring choral ovation to the moment when (spoiler alert!) they find Earth. On the whole, the music of season 4 is richer and more orchestral than anything that came before it.
The second disc is pretty much the finale score straight-up, unlike most of the BSG discs which have edited versions of the tracks and are ordered for emotional resonance, not in show order. It reprises virtually every theme of the shhow, introduces a few new ones, and builds to a massive climax in which an untold variety of sounds merge into one. As with the show, a long denouement of wistful reflection concludes the album. The Jimi Hendrix "Watchtower" that ended the show did not make it in (probably a wise financial decision on their part), but that's not exactly hard to find if you want it.
Season 4 also includes a good-sized booklet with some great liner notes from people involved in the show.
All in all, this is the only album I ever spent the entire shipping period checking anxiously to see if it would arrive in time for a (very emotional) trip I was taking. It got in just before I left, and it was and remains and incredibly satisfying musical journey.
From the Alessandro Juliani's haunting vocals in "Gaeta's Lament" through the epic "Assault on the Colony" at 15 minutes by itself, the soundtrack to season 4 carries us through the emotional roller coaster and the epic journey that was BSG's final season.
As a fan of the show and of movie scores in general, I must highly recommend this one. It's a rare thing that, in this digital age, that I buy full albums of anything anymore. With well over two hours of intricate themes woven together, this is one that was an easy purchase.
It is said often that a good show doesn't need musical scores as a crutch, and with the reimagined BSG series, that is certainly true.
That said, This soundtrack, like the ones before it, are most definitely NOT a crutch. The mixture of instruments from around the world truly speaks to the "human" drama, without regard for race, creed, or gender.
It is a must for any serious fan of the BSG series!