Bear McCreary (born 1979) is an American composer of score and soundtrack music. He studied music at the University of Southern California's Thornton School of Music, and his mentor was Elmer Bernstein
. McCreary learned piano, and taught himself accordion. His style of music is unconventional compared to other scores, featuring a mix of classical instruments, ethnic instruments, rock, electronica and vocals. He has said that the smaller budgets force him to be more creative, and it shows, as he has garnered extensive praise for his music. In the summer of 2010, he married his vocalist, Raya Yarbrough
In addition to La-La Land releasing soundtrack albums for several of his shows, he now has his own boutique record label, Sparks & Shadows
Scores composed by Bear McCreary include:
His website is here
and his blog is here
. Excellent resources for music fans.
YMMV tropes here
Bear McCreary and his music demonstrate:
- And Starring: By Season 4, Bear's name was shown on the opening credits as tribute to his importance to the show.
- Awesome McCoolname: Bear McCreary.
- Autobots, Rock Out!: "Apocalypse".
- Badass Beard
- Bears Are Good News: Very good news.
- Bilingual Bonus: "Battlestar Operatica". Woe upon your Cylon heart / There is a toaster in your head / And it wears high heels / Number Six calls to you / The Cylon Detector beckons / Your girlfriend is a toaster / Woe upon your Cylon heart / Alas, disgrace! Alas, sadness and misery! / The toaster has a pretty dress / Red like her glowing spine / Number Six whispers: "By your command" / Woe upon your Cylon heart.
- Also the main theme of Battlestar, "Wander My Friends", "Kobol's Last Gleaming", "Bloodshed", "Lords of Kobol", "A Distant Sadness", Baltar's theme, and others. In fact, most of the times when there are lyrics in his music, they're in some language other than English.
- Blues Rock: "Dirty Hands". Appropriate as a theme for the futuristing blue-collar workers.
- The Cast Show Off: Alessandro Juliani sings "Gaeta's Lament" in BSG and part of "Capricoperatica" in Caprica. Kandyse McClure hums her own theme music in "Funeral Pyres".
- Creator Breakdown: Bear almost broke down trying to compose "Diaspora Oratorio".
- Cult Soundtrack: Bear's music is very distinctive, especially the Battlestar Galactica score.
- Cyber Punk Is Techno: Not Caprica itself, but the virtual world of New Cap City. And also his score to The Sarah Connor Chronicles.
- Doing It for the Art:
- The production of "Someone to Watch Over Me" went to ridiculous lengths in order to realistically depict a man playing and composing music on an old and beat-up piano. Having a basic knowledge of how to play a piano was a casting requirement for Dreilide Thrace. This enabled the crew to film from any angle without having to hide the actors' hands or use a "stunt performer." Because the prop piano was intentionally left out of tune and due to the specific acoustics of the set, any re-creation of the sound in post-production would've sounded incredibly different (and thus rather fake). As a result, composer Bear McCreary sampled every note on the prop so that he could later duplicate the sound of that exact piano in that exact room. Once they actually arrived at post-production, it was pointed out that production recordings of the prop piano were in mono, while any music re-created would be in stereo. What did Bear McCreary do? He rerecorded every piece of music played by the actors down to the last note, syncing his recordings with the actors' exact hand movements at the same time. The final product is amazing.
- For the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. episode "The Only Light in the Darkness", he created a beautiful cello solo that follows the hand motions of the actress playing the cello on screen.
- Echoing Acoustics: "Something Dark Is Coming."
- Epic Rocking: Lots of examples. A few particularly noteworthy ones (seven minutes or longer):
- From Battlestar Galactica (Reimagined): "Assault on the Colony" (15:09), "Something Dark Is Coming" (8:55), "Prelude to War" (8:26), "Storming New Caprica" (7:50), "Among the Ruins" (7:45), "Violence and Variations" (7:35)
- From Battlestar Galactica: Blood & Chrome: "The Last Battle of Osiris" (8:39)
- From Caprica: "Capricoperatica" (8:42)
- From Defiance (TV series): "Battle of the Volge" (8:33)
- From Defiance (video game): "Mount Tam" (7:50), "Theme from Defiance (Extended Version)" (7:03)
- From Human Target: "Flipping the Plane" (10:54), "Skyhook Rescue" (7:05), "Confronting Baptiste" (8:51), "Gondola" (8:44), "Bertram" (7:00)
- Everything's Louder With Bagpipes: "Battle on the Asteroid," "Storming New Caprica," "Assault on the Colony."
- Fading into the Next Song: "Colonial Anthem" -> "Baltar's Dream". "Reuniting the Fleet" -> "Roslin Confesses".
- Gangsta Rap: "Voices of the Dead" from Caprica. Since the Taurons are similar to Greeks, their rap song is in Ancient Greek. Awesome.
- Last Episode Theme Reprise: The Battlestar Galactica (Classic) theme appears in the finale in "The Heart of the Sun".
- Left the Background Music On: "Kara Remembers".
- Leitmotif: "For a show that set out to avoid themes, Battlestar Galactica has certainly ended up with quite a few" (Bear in a 2009 interview). These are also seen in Caprica, Human Target, and Dark Void.
- Lonely Piano Piece: "Battlestar Sonatica", "Elegy" and "Dreilide Thrace Sonata No. 1". The 2011 2-part album The Music of Battlestar Galactica for Solo Piano is Exactly What It Says on the Tin, and features pianist Joohyun Park playing rearrangements of Bear's score.
- Musical Episode: "Someone to Watch Over Me", featuring the piano. Weirdest Musical Episode ever.
- Musical Spoiler: "Heeding the Call," "Kara Remembers" and "Kara's Coordinates."
- Neoclassical Punk Zydeco Rockabilly: Bear is an expert at mixing genres.
- Notable Original Music: "Prelude to War," "Number Six Theme," "Wander My Friends."
- Ominous Latin Chanting: Chanting in Anglo-Saxon, Armenian, Gaelic, Greek, Italian, Latin several times, Samoan, Sanskrit, and Sinhalese.
- One of Us: Bear is proudly a fan of anime, scifi, comics, and video games. He even quoted Avatar: The Last Airbender in the comments section of a blog article ("Flameo, hotman!").
- One-Woman Wail: Raya Yarbrough has the perfect voice for wailing to Bear's music.
- Orchestral Bombing: "Prelude to War" is the most famous, with "Apocalypse" coming in a close second.
- Playing the Heart Strings:
- The "Opera House theme" heard in "Passacaglia", "The Shape of Things to Come", "Allegro", "Violence and Variations" and the endings of "Assault on the Colony" and "An Easterly View".
- Starbuck's theme from "Forgiven" and "Deathbed and Maelstrom".
- Starbuck and Apollo's love theme from "Violence and Variations", "Under the Wing", also briefly heard in "Deathbed and Maelstrom" and "Starbuck Disappears".
- The "Roslin and Adama love theme" heard in "Roslin and Adama", "Adama Falls", "Roslin and Adama Reunited" and "So Much Life."
- Bill and Lee Adama's theme from "Wander My Friends", "A Good Lighter", "Reuniting The Fleet", "Farewell Apollo", "Grand Old Lady" and "The Heart of the Sun".
- The "Starbuck and Anders love theme" heard in "A Promise to Return" and "Goodbye Sam".
- "Refugees Return" and "Gentle Execution".
- "The Hub" is a funeral dirge for the Cylons, who are mortal once more.
- Power of Rock: "Lords of Kobol", "Gaeta's Lament (Instrumental Version)" and "Apocalypse".
- Production Posse: Raya Yarbrough (vocalist), Brendan McCreary (vocalist), Laura Kalpakian (lyricist), Chris Bleth (woodwinds), Paul Cartwright (strings), and many others.
- Real-Life Relative: Wife Raya Yarbrough (vocalist), brother Brendan McCreary (vocalist), mother Laura Kalpakian (lyricist).
- Rearrange the Song/Cover Version:
- Retraux: His soundtrack for Dark Void Zero.
- Shout-Out: "Battlestar Operatica" quotes Bach's Cello Suite No. 1, "Battlestar Sonatica" quotes Beethoven's "Moonlight Sonata," and "Theme from Dark Void (Mega Version)" evokes the spirit of the old Mega Man (Classic) themes.
- Theme Music Power-Up: "Kara's Coordinates."