Bear McCreary Releasing Battlestar Galactica Live Album

One of the best things about Syfy’s reboot of Battlestar Galactica was its selection of then-rookie composer Bear McCreary, who worked with Richard Gibbs to come up with a unique, spartan sound that broke away from the traditional orchestral scores that most science fiction films and TV shows feature.

Towards the end of the series, McCreary embarked on a live musical tour that showcased this work, and this week, he’s releasing an album of recordings from that concert series.

io9 broke the news in an interview with the composer, covering everything from the popularity of the concerts, how his work on Battlestar Galactica jumpstarted his career, how he juggles the numerous projects that he’s worked on in the years since, and a bit more.

Along with the interview, io9 debuted the clip above from one of the concerts, in which Katee Sackhoff (who played Starbuck) recreated one of the scenes from later in the series: a key moment in the when she played a rendition of “All Along the Watchtower” on the piano.

McCreary described the scene:

I always thought it would be a blast to have Katee come and recreate that [scene] in a live performance. She was of course very nervous. She’s not a pianist. She hasn’t taken piano lessons, but she was such a great sport, though. I told her, “Look, don’t practice, don’t be nervous. Let’s just recreate that scene! I will play this sort of figurative role of this other character who sat next to you and I’ll teach you the notes in front of everybody. And then the band will kick in and support you in the way that the score did during that scene.”

The moment is a really cool one, and the clip captures the incredible energy that McCreary and his musicians brought to their lives shows.

McCreary wrote a bit about the album on his own site, noting that after a hiatus from touring, he had begun to plan a tour that would have started in 2020, had the COVID-19 pandemic not upended the entertainment industry:

I cracked open the custom concert arrangements I had done each year and realized how distinct they had become. Over the years, each track gradually morphed from being an instrumental cue designed to support narrative to being a song that stood on its own. I realized my favorite version of most tracks was not the recording that had been released on soundtrack albums, but the rock concert arrangement I had crafted.

The album versions have been heard by millions, and yet these live versions had only been experienced by a few thousand, over a decade ago. I decided to finally complete the Battlestar Galactica live album I had always dreamed of. With most of the hard drives long lost, I meticulously rebuilt each rock arrangement from scratch and got the band back together in a recording studio to recapture the magic.

The album will be released on June 4th from Sparks & Shadows on various streaming services, and signed copies will be available a couple of days later from La-La Land Records.

Here’s the full track list:

  1. A Distant Sadness
  2. Prelude To War
  3. Baltar’s Dream
  4. Roslin and Adama
  5. Apocalypse
  6. Fight Night
  7. Something Dark Is Coming
  8. Wander My Friends
  9. Lords Of Kobol
  10. Storming New Caprica
  11. Heeding The Call
  12. All Along The Watchtower
  13. Colonial Anthem / Black Market

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