by Mike Brennan
For fans of the show, the season premier of "Battlestar Galactica's" third season may have been one of the most anticipated in recent history, given the mind-blowing cliffhanger on New Caprica at the end of Season Two. The reason for this was because we were eager for the rescue scene, and we were not disappointed! But Season Three continued to impress as it moved towards answering some questions, asking new ones, introducing some new characters, and fleshing out some others. Bear McCreary's score, as well, stepped up the action and expanded upon his already diverse musical universe.
SoundtrackNet is proud to bring our readers an exclusive "first listen" of the upcoming soundtrack release, coming October 23 from La-La Land Records.
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1. A Distant Sadness (from 'Occupation') (2:52)
A Middle-Eastern flavor permeates this cue, which features vocalist Raya Yarbrough singing Armenian lyrics by McCreary (printed in liner notes). Her voice comes in solo after the first minute backed by a duduk. Slow taiko rhythms enter, then speed up at the very end.
2. Precipice (from 'Precipice') (4:56)
Percussion and rhythmic acoustic guitar define this cue. Duduk and other eastern instruments weave in and out. The taiko rhythms change a few times, becoming heavier at the end.
3. Admiral and Commander (from 'Exodus, Parts 1 and 2') (3:19)
The Adama theme is reprised here in a suite that encompasses both parts of the "Exodus" sequence. The theme is performed quietly on uilleann pipes with a restrained orchestra behind it. Bagpipes take over the theme next. An acoustic guitar comes in last before the final bagpipe statement with militaristic percussion underneath.
4. Storming New Caprica (from 'Exodus, Parts 2') (7:50)
The long awaited rescue sequence. Taiko rhythms slowly speed up to a pounding rhythmic theme that is similar to the repeated rhythm from "Prelude to War" but larger-scale and more intense. Bagpipes, duduk and a host of other ethnic instruments coordinate with the orchestra, but the taiko is the major focus here. The rhythms become less chaotic and merge with the orchestra before the final burst at the end.
5. Refugees Return (from 'Exodus, Part 2') (3:45)
A slow cue, the strings dominate here with nice chord progressions. A cello takes over the melody a ways in and a single taiko beat gives the cue a little push. A flute comes in at the very end where the cue seems to close on a sad note.
6. Wayward Soldier (from 'Hero') (4:19)
A rhythmic electric violin line opens, then picks up the pace as other strings enter. Soon enough, more complex taiko rhythms enter, followed by faster string lines. The cue stops suddenly twice, then renews the tense action music.
7. Violence and Variations (from 'Unfinished Business') (7:35)
The second of the long cues on the album could not be more different from "Storming New Caprica". This track plays like a chamber piece for a string quintet with moving interweaving lines and a slow motif being passed back and forth as other strings race beneath it. Halfway through, the tone changes to a more pulsating feel and the low strings dominate. No other instruments are used in this piece. The string lines come together toward the end and build with a less chaotic rhythm.
8. The Dance (from 'Unfinished Business') (2:36)
Light percussion and clapping bring in a bagpipe solo in this jig. This is a fun cue that is a stark contrast to the other tracks from "Unfinished Business". The energy is maintained in the bagpipe and clapped percussion to the very last note.
9. Adama Falls (from 'Unfinished Business') (1:43)
The third cue from "Unfinished Business" begins with a reprise of the Adama/Roslin theme, which earlier, I equated to a theme from Black Hawk Down. The cello and violin melodies are restrained in this cue for the end of Adama's fight and the cue ends on a quiet note.
10. Under the Wing (from 'Maelstrom') (1:16)
This short cue features a flute solo over a quiet orchestra. Additional tracks from "Maelstrom" appear later on the album.
11. Battlestar Sonatica (from 'Torn') (4:47)
Another classical-sounding piece features a solo piano. One of McCreary's goals with these scores is to combine a multitude of musical styles and feels and this cue adds to that, adding an additional dimension for some of the quieter moments in the show.
12. Fight Night (from 'Unfinished Business') (2:31)
The taiko return. Additional percussion enter along with an erhu. This is a weird cue, very different from the standard instrumentation around the taiko rhythms, but that seems to be the nature of the scoring for this episode.
13. Kat's Sacrifice (from 'The Passage') (2:48)
One of the extremely rare uses of brass, this cue features the theme written exclusively for Kat's heroic sacrifice in shuttling ships through the radioactive nebula. This theme is similar to the other use of brass for Col. Tigh's theme featured in "Martial Law". Kat's theme is a slow, yet heroic statement. This track is a suite of the multiple appearances of the theme throughout the episode "Passage" on the French horn backed by Taiko, and then briefly on a flute with a heavier percussion backing.
14. Someone to Trust (from 'Taking A Break From All Your Worries') (3:12)
An acoustic guitar leads in then acts as a background for a restrained violin solo. The orchestra takes over the quiet underscore. The cue ends with a creepy, dissonant feel.
15. The Temple of Five (from 'The Eye of Jupiter') (2:47)
An array of chimes adds a mystical feel to this cue and acoustic instruments are added slowly, followed by a duduk. A fast taiko rhythm comes in at the end with distorted low string sounds.
16. Dirty Hands (from 'Dirty Hands') (3:33)
This piece was composed as an homage to Shirley Walker, specifically her score to the Batman episode "The Forgotten". It features a dark, western style score with heavy electric bass, acoustic dobro, and a taiko backbeat. More unusual to the blues style is the 7/4 time signature!
17. Gentle Execution (from 'Exodus, Part 2') (3:30)
The "Exodus" episode returns again with a slow meandering string line. The strings build and the lines become more complex, then a duduk comes in over them.
18. Mandala in the Clouds (from 'Maelstrom') (4:10)
Heavy taiko action returns. Halfway through, it ceases and a low string rhythm takes over with a lighter taiko line entering later. The percussion becomes heavy yet again and the string line picks up a more urgent feel. The cue seems to end before a final reprisal moves in.
19. Deathbed and Maelstrom (from 'Maelstrom') (5:55)
This quiet cue underscored Starbuck's flashbacks to her mother's death. It features the orchestra and some slow variations on the BSG main theme and an erhu. A flute enters at the very end.
20. Heeding the Call (from 'Crossroads, Part 2') (2:13)
An acoustic motif and electric guitars open this cue that slowly leads into the concluding song in the next track. The theme for this song is more rhythmic than melodic. The tempo is slowly increased and heavier guitars are added as the theme becomes more apparent. An erhu wails in at the end before the theme in full is slammed out on electric guitars.
21. All Along the Watchtower (from 'Crossroads, Part 2') (3:33)
This is McCreary's rendition and homage to the Bob Dylan song. The song was hinted at both by the composer on his website and also in the score leading up to the final revelation that the song was attributed to. The same acoustic guitar open this song as with the last cue and we see that the score from "Heeding the Call" is part of the instrumental backing to this song. The vocals are performed by Bt4. A strange and cool ending to the season.
The soundtrack to "Battlestar Galactica" Season Three will be released on October 23, 2007 from La-La Land Records.
Special thanks to Michael Gerhard, Matt Verboys, Beth Krakower and Dan Goldwasser.