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Da Vinci's Demons by Bear McCreary (Review)

posted Jun 10, 2013, 7:52 PM by Kaya Savas

Da Vinci's Demons is Davis S. Goyer's series that has the titular hero as a young genius who uncovers conspiracies and exposes corrupt members of high-society and religion. In a quest to set the truth free and uncover lies we have a more modern view on Da Vinci even though the Starz original series keeps the story set in Renaissance Florence. Bear McCreary was a perfect choice for this series, and I mean an absolutely perfect choice. It's new territory for the auteur composer and presenting him with this sort of canvas was always going to yield stunning results. McCreary doesn't disappoint and delivers one hell of a score that is rich with setting and character.

McCreary's opening titles are fantastic and really set the tone for the show. The score that follows it embodies every ounce of plot, character and setting. McCreary keeps everything grounded with wonderful melodies and his signature percussion. The percussion may add a bit of a modern feel, but it never makes the music feel out of place. His wonderful use of strings and quiet moments add depth and layers to the score. The music can be beautiful at times as it carries a timeless feel. It never tries to be fantasy or historical, and that becomes its biggest strength. There is a tinge of Italy in the music, but nothing that would make you call the approach ethnic or world sounding. McCreary also demonstrates an amazing ability to craft mystery and intrigue. The score becomes so absorbing at times especially when you recognize little motifs popping up. It reminded me of Michael Giacchino's LOST in that he found a perfect balance of plot and character. The music isn't just following the narrative but is also adding layers of emotion into it as well. The use of choral chants gives the score this side of haunting beauty, but there is a sense of caution behind it. You're not to quick to embrace the religious chanting and become weary of it. The music truly ebbs and flows as the story progresses, and that's what makes it a fantastic listen. There's also quite a bit of excitement as McCreary does have a few adrenaline-filled moments throughout the runtime, but nothing I would call "action scoring". The structure of the whole score is simply fantastic as well. McCreary gives us nice long tracks that build to some amazing climaxes. You can tell that the show is musically driven by the fact that some cues are very long. We end the album with an amazing 13-minute cue before the end credits, and it is truly fantastic.

It is extremely rare to see this much rich and detailed scoring in a TV series. McCreary has crafted an absolutely stunning score that is wonderfully represented in this 90-minute album. The score kept me hooked, engaged, intrigued and thoroughly entertained the whole way through. With moments that are haunting, beautiful, engaging and exciting this score is some of the best work I've heard from Bear McCreary. It is by far one of his most accomplished works and is one of the most exciting scores on television right now.