Thursday, January 21

The music of the master, Bear McCreary

Counting down until the Jan. 22 premiere of "Caprica," we take a look at a man who has helped shape the mood and tone of the "Battlestar Galactica" universe as much as anyone acting, lighting, writing or directing an episode: composer and musician Bear McCreary. His arrangements bring huge crowds of not only "BSG" fans but also general music fans out to concert venues around the country.
Hard-core fans realize the intricacy with which McCreary crafts tunes, creating themes for characters that define who they are, and even who they will be. The young accordion player (among other things) turns 31 soon, making him an Aquarius (or right on the cusp). And that transitions into our latest description of another planet making up the 12 Colonies, Aquarion:
A frigid ocean world, Aquarion functions as little more than a scientific research outpost to the rest of the colonies. There are small landmasses, usually volcanic, and there are native communities, both small and tolerant enough to effectively use a unique communal governing system.
And "unique" takes us back to McCreary. I saw the maestro play a concert in 2009 down the street from the Los Angeles Times building in downtown L.A. I felt like a final five cylon following the melodic sounds to the venue. The crowd assembled was the opposite of intimate, but the communal mood was palpable as McCreary and the band played to a raucous audience. That's where we begin our interview.
Doesn't seem like a lot of composers command the types of crowds and adulation you do. How are you handling that?
It's interesting 'cause that side of my musical life is not something that I ever pursued actively. I didn't become a TV and film composer because I wanted to play sold-out rock concerts, but that's what's ended up happening. And it's fun. I'm grateful for the opportunity to play the music that means so much to those people, and to me, live in a concert setting with all of the musicians that I work with in the studio. And it's an extraordinary chance for the fans to not only see it live, but to see it performed by the same men and women who play it on the series. It's very different than seeing something in the Hollywood Bowl conducted by a composer or a guest artist 'cause these are the exact same artists who play it on the series.

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