Composer: Bear McCreary
Label: La-La Land Records
Bear McCreary, the celebrated composer for Battlestar Galactica‘s four-season run along with other Sci Fi (I’m sorry, Syfy) Channel offerings including the previously-reviewed Eureka and Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, returns to the BSG universe to score the pilot movie for Battlestar‘s prequel series Caprica.
Sorrowful and drifting, the soundtrack reflects the series’ blended tone of melancholy and grief with a glimmer of hope. This aspect of the music matches that of Battlestar‘s own soundtrack, helping to solidify the continuity between the stories; however, given Caprica‘s premise, it accordingly does not contain the military flavor that is so heavily peppered throughout Battlestar.
Despite the more civilian feel of Caprica‘s score, McCreary has again chosen to incorporate various stylings of world music, especially strings and percussion, though here it’s used more sparingly. According to a post he made on his blog, Russian folk music was the inspiration for the Tauron theme which pervades throughout many tracks, including “Joseph and Daniel,” “Tamara’s Heartbeat,” “Delivering the Message,” and “The Adama Name.” The other most frequently-invoked motif throughout the soundtrack is, appropriately, the Graystone family theme, which seems to make its way into almost every track in one way or another, though it varies a bit depending on which character it’s highlighting.
Character and family leitmotifs are also a common element in Battlestar‘s score, and one of the best things McCreary has done with Caprica is to inject some of those same themes into the prequel where they are most appropriate. For example, the Adama family theme, as heard on the Battlestar score in tracks like “A Good Lighter” and “Wander My Friends,” is played under the scene in Caprica when William “Billy” Adams learns his family’s true name from his father (interesting, as the Adama family theme evokes a distinctly Celtic feel). Portions of the Graystone family theme (“The Graystone Family”) also bear a striking resemblance to the Opera House theme from Battlestar (“Passacaglia,” “The Shape of Things to Come”). And, though not a direct reuse of a theme, tracks played during the critical Cylon prototype scenes in Caprica, such as “Cybernetic Life Form Node,” use the same taiko drums and other heavy percussion so frequently used in similar scenes on Battlestar (including BSG’s main theme).
While watching the pilot movie, I definitely noticed these connections, although I had to go back and listen to the Battlestar score again in order to properly match them all up. In a way, I feel that’s best, as it illustrates clearly how McCreary has recaptured the emotional essence of Battlestar‘s music while deftly adapting it to the earlier time, different place, and noticeably different overall tone of Caprica. As a series, Battlestar, given its heavy premise of humanity’s struggle to survive, feels more action-packed and thickly tense than Caprica, which is more a story of families trying to cope with grief in their own ways — both destructive and creative — within a world which, while not without conflict, is nowhere near the post-holocaust reality of Battlestar. So, though the scores make complete sense together as part of the same universe, each reflects its own unique tone and purpose.
1. The Graystone Family (2:59)
2. Terrorism On The Lev (3:11)
3. Grieving (3:43)
4. Lacey and Zoe-A (4:05)
5. Cybernetic Life Form Node (3:12)
6. Zoe’s Avatar (3:01)
7. Daniel Captures the Code (2:25)
8. A Tauron Sacrifice (2:42)
9. Amanda Graystone (3:02)
10. Joseph and Daniel (4:15)
11. Tamara’s Heartbeat (1:39)
12. Delivering the Message (2:53)
13. Monotheism At The Athena Academy (3:31)
14. Children of Caprica (2:26)
15. Irrecoverable Error (2:44)
16. The Adama Name (1:36)
17. Zoe Awakens (2:19)
18. Caprica End Credits (3:37)