1) BLACK SAILS / KNIGHTS OF BADASSDOM
Currently battling for the title of being the busiest composer on television with the lurching “Walking Dead” and the shambling “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D,” Bear McCreary isn’t just out for work, but also for achieving a consistently high quality of robustly inventive music, often for equally daring shows like “Da Vinci’s Demons” and “Eureka.”
Starz’ upcoming pirate drama Black Sails has a must-see opening credits sequence with a rousing theme from famed Battlestar Galactica and Walking Dead composer Bear McCreary. Gorgeous, cool, and thematically on target, these credits are like a haunting dream you might have after touring a sculpture museum and hitting Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean ride on the same day. And the music! Arguably McCreary’s best titles theme, and that’s saying quite a bit (fun fact: the instrument he’s playing is called a hurdy gurdy). The last opening sequence that got us this excited was for HBO’s Game of Thrones, which won the 2011 Emmy for best credits (yes, there is such a thing; the Academy calls it “main title design”). Check out the opening below. Play it full screen, volume up. The sequence starts slow and subtle … then gets interesting. Black Sails premieres Jan. 25 on Starz.
I have not yet heard a Bear McCreary soundtrack that I didn’t like, and Da Vinci’s Demons is no exception. McCreary, whose current work for television includes The Walking Dead and Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.,
has managed to create a soundtrack in which Renaissance Italy meets Action Hero Movie for the period drama that aired on STARZ. This collector’s edition soundtrack includes 30 minutes of bonus music that was not on the original soundtrack released last May.5/5 Stars
Composer Bear McCreary, in the category of Main Title Theme Music, for the Starz historical fantasy series Da Vinci's Demons. McCreary moves back to network TV next week with music for ABC's highly anticipated Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
If television is in a new golden age, some credit for the revival is due to the composers whose music has enriched the mood, story and character of the programs they score. Yet to the viewing public, composers of TV music are a near-invisible breed.
"I've learned over the years to labor in obscurity," said Jeff Beal, the three-time Emmy Award winner nominated this year for his work on Netflix's "House of Cards."
Not long ago, composing for TV was seen by some as a next-best gig. "Even my mentor Elmer Bernstein said TV would hurt my film career," said Bear McCreary, who has been nominated for his theme to Starz's "Da Vinci's Demons."
But today there's a sense that music for TV is as compelling and effective as it's ever been.Read More
EUROPA REPORT - Bear McCreary (Sparks & Shadows)
And with a string flourish, Bear is back! Yep, it's another cracker from McCreary, this time with the score from science fiction found footage thriller EUROPA REPORT. A bunch of scientists go to Europa - one of the moons of Jupiter - to find potential life sources, and as you can imagine, bad stuff happens, it gets real tense, and we revel in it all.
Certainly, EUROPA REPORT has all the ingredients you'd expect for a intense science fiction adventure, with McCreary's trademark integration of traditional orchestral elements and electronics. In fact, there are some quite alien pieces that really emphasise the dangers of the void of space. But where the electronics work with the artificial atmosphere they bring, the piano and strings bring an almost cerebral and quasi-romantic feel to the score.
What this brings is a sense of mystery and near-spirituality, contrasting the danger with a more philosophical approach that isn't really explored much these days. By all accounts, the film is an attempt at harder science fiction, and not only the hazards that come with space exploration, but also the majesty, the romance of the unknown, and the altruism - the benefit for others that comes from taking these major steps.
McCreary has created another fantastic score, one that works to his strengths with combining electronics and orchestra, and that combines action and thriller elements with a more romantic classical sensibility. Someone really needs to get this guy on a big blockbuster, but maybe his forthcoming work on AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D. will bring that in. But for now, enjoy EUROPA REPORT.