Varese Sarabande (302 066 700 2)
Release Date: 2005
Conducted by Nicholas Dodd
|2.||Atlantis Takes Flight||1:44|
|6.||Gate To Atlantis||2:30|
|16.||Our New Home, Atlantis||2:01|
|Total Album Time:||42:11|
|by Mike Brennan
January 19, 2006
Some bootlegged versions of the main theme and various "theme suites" have been circulating the internet since the "Stargate: Atlantis" pilot aired in 2004, but now Varese Sarabande has finally released the soundtrack to the pilot episode, composed by Joel Goldsmith. Obvious comparisons to this score are Stargate: SG1 and Star Trek, but Goldsmith's Emmy-nominated main title also takes on a more wondrous feel, similar to John Debney's "seaQuest DSV". This is appropriate given the submerged setting of "Atlantis", though little of the show deals with this. But "Stargate: Atlantis" shares the militaristic feel with all of these three shows.
I personally think the main title is one of the best in years. While it only appears in its full form a few times, namely at the beginning and the end, it is hinted at often throughout the score, but very subtlety. One example of this is during Weir's rousing speech in the appropriately titled cue, which also takes on a very seaQuest-like tone. The French horns and trumpets have a strong presence in "Gate to Atlantis", backed by snare drums. Besides the strong action and military feel to the music, other sounds are used as well. "Atlantis Wakes" has an ambient, dreamy feel to it while "Tayla's Village" throws in some ethnic elements. Finally, "Wraith Lair" adds some more suspenseful music to the album.
One of the most impressive aspects to Goldsmith's music is the chords. The main title is full of chord progressions that move through various key changes and makes each statement of the theme through the main title different. About half a minute into "The Rising", Goldsmith throws in the second half of the main theme in a series of descending notes in the low brass and is a great example of the changing chords in this score. Besides the "Main Title", the theme is performed in full in "O'Neill Inbound" with a racing string line underneath and then again in "Our New Home, Atlantis" in a slower, more drawn out statement that ends the album.
I know there is a large amount of music from the past two seasons that could easily make a good album. It is too bad only the pilot score was released here, though it is good enough to warrant its own release. A disc encompassing the past two seasons would contain a cue from every other episode or so, the way "24" or "seaQuest" did. The soundtrack to Atlantis' pilot episode, "Rising", which is also available separately on DVD or in the Season 1 box set, contains all the themes, but also some of the less in-your-face score by Goldsmith that helps flesh this album out as a soundtrack and not a highlights album. It is definitely worth checking out for fans of the show.
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