In my post, A Thousand Words for Love, I talked about how I want to start writing about what it means when I love something. So today I’m doing my first post in that vein, though it’s more about how I fell in love with a piece than how I love it.
There’s a piece by Bear McCreary in Battlestar Galactica that I feel in love with in a way that reminds me a great deal of how I feel in love with one of my high school girlfriends (who I actually met in orchestra). And this piece is important because it was this piece that really made me realize that I felt something for McCreary’s work that was deeper than with other soundtracks.
As an aside, I should note though it’s still not the post I promised in The Mind of the Composer (though as a hint, I’ve already referenced a couple of the pieces that will go into that post). That one is coming still, really!
Today’s post is actually appropriate as the first of my “how I love this piece” series because it’s actually, in the mind of the composer, as close to a “love theme” as you’re going to get on Battlestar Galactica.It is the Roslin and Adama Theme.
I didn’t really notice this theme when it first occurred during the series. But that’s pretty standard: I don’t really get deeply into the music of film or TV score until I listen to it on it’s own.
In terms of audio recordings, this theme first appears on the Battlestar Galactica: Season Two Soundtrack. I got the soundtrack when it was released in June 2006. I already had the soundtrack for the pilot as well as the season one soundtrackand was happy with both of those, though honestly, not really blown away.
The theme is track thirteen out of twenty-two, so it’s buried in the middle towards the end. I listened to the soundtrack several times through July and early August, enjoying it, with some pieces starting to stand out more than others. But not this piece. No, this piece was still lost in the crowd.
Then one night in late August, my wife had gone to bed and I was up by myself. It was hot that night (for the Pacific Northwest at least). I was on our computer puttering about, drinking a gin and tonic (ideal when it’s hot) and listening to the Galactica season two soundtrack. It was background music really, since nothing had yet really stood out.
As track twelve, Epiphanies,
finished and the quiet, gentle combination of the acoustic fiddle and piano of the Roslin and Adama Theme started playing, it caught my attention suddenly and I started listening closely. I was struck by the gentle cadence of the piece moving forward, gently but steadily. The acoustic fiddle standing out in front by itself so prominently had a poignant, almost sad quality, particularly when the theme twists slightly on the B flat, giving it that richness I love with minor keys. And then, about two-thirds of the way through, when the guitar comes in and the tempo picks up, all of a sudden the sad quality becomes joyful and the piece ends on a note that is for me, positive and hopeful and loving.
Here was a piece that I’d been listening to for a couple of months and hadn’t really stood out from the rest. And now, all of a sudden something clicked and I feel in love with the piece.
The way I fell for this piece would later remind me of when I feel in love with K when I was a junior in high school. We were in orchestra together and would see each other once every four or six weeks. It was rare enough that I didn’t catch her name and not wanting to embarrass myself didn’t ask her again, hoping that I could figure it out when someone else called her (“Hey K!”). Alas, my great plan failed and six months after we met, I was forced to ask her her name. And while we’d talked and been friendly she didn’t stand out of the crowd of people I knew there. But the, after seeing each other in orchestra for seven or eight months, all of a sudden one night something clicked and I fell in love with her. And as I fell, hard, it was wonderful, beautiful and intertwined with music, poetry, springtime; it was all those things that falling in love at that age is supposed to be.
I remember her and that spring and still remember what it was like to feel that.
Of course, it was high school, so we won’t talk about how it worked out: you know how it worked out.
But the important thing isn’t how that relationship turned out: it’s how it started and how magical it was and how my experience with McCreary’s Roslin and Adama Theme mirrors that. How both of them were instances where one day, you finally see her across the room and your eyes meet and then magic happens.