Tonight, the third and final season of Da Vinci’s Demons begins on STARZ, and all episodes will be available to Starz subscribers to stream from Starz Play and Starz On Demand. I’m excited to announce that my score for the third season is coming soon, to both physical and digital retailers. I am thrilled that fans will finally have the chance to experience this score I have poured so much energy into over the last year.
The premiere of a new season is a cause for celebration, and yet for me, this also marks a moment of reflection. The reality that this series must conclude is finally sinking in. Da Vinci’s Demons is one of the most personally transformative projects I have ever worked on, one that is near and dear to my heart. Very few jobs have ever had the kind of lasting positive impact on my personal life and creative energy as this one. I am saddened by its conclusion, but immensely proud of my work on this new season leading up to the epic finale. (more…)
This summer has been a whirlwind, with so many exciting events occurring in succession that I can hardly keep track of them all. In the craziness, my final blog entry for Da Vinci’s Demons Season Two was put on the backburner and I let it sizzle there a bit too long. Though the episode aired months ago and a DVD release is likely months away, I’m still going to blog about it, to wrap up one of the most ambitious seasons of television I have yet scored. As you can tell from my previous blog entry, “The Enemies of Man” was a huge episode for music. By comparison, the season finale, “The Sins of Daedalus” introduces fewer new themes, but nevertheless, develops older themes in surprising ways.
SPOILERS AHEAD: The episode opens the moment the last one ended, with the death of Verrocchio, and Da Vinci’s pursuit of Carlo, his killer. Flashbacks to Da Vinci and Verrocchio are interwoven into Leonardo’s anguish as he fails to apprehend Carlo. I scored these sequences with lush orchestral variations of the chorale I wrote for the end of the last episode, the Verrocchio Death Theme: (more…)
In the epic penultimate episode of Da Vinci’s Demons Season 2, “The Enemies of Man,” our heroes return to a Florence overrun by the mercenaries of Duke Federico, and struggle valiantly to take back the city. The demands on the score this week were tremendous, because there was so much narrative packed into a single episode – battles, revelations, betrayals, lovers, celebrations and suicide. Before discussing the musical twists and turns, I want to dive into the scene I know you are most curious about: the musical clue hidden within the Brazen Head. (more…)
“The Fall From Heaven” concludes this season’s Peruvian story arc while setting in motion events that will have major ramifications for the rest of the season and beyond. The episode also presented my final opportunity to incorporate unique South American instrumentation and vocals into my score this season. It’s not as if I ever hold back anyway, but I definitely pulled out all the stops on this one, writing my biggest action cues and most lyrical orchestral passages yet for the series.
SPOILERS AHEAD: The episode opens with the full scene that teased the season premiere, where Da Vinci and Riario have an intimate conversation in a Peruvian dungeon awaiting their sacrificial deaths. We saw the beginning of this ritual in “The Blood of Man” and witnessed another ritual in “The Sun and The Moon.” In all three sequences, I combined score and source music to create music that exists in both worlds. (more…)
“The Vault of Heaven” is the third episode of Da Vinci’s Demons set in Peru, and really turns up the action. The requirements of the score were intense, as I had to follow Da Vinci through various successive traps and increase the suspense with each one.
SPOILERS BEYOND: At the beginning of the episode, Ima clearly wants to enter the Vault of Heaven alongside Da Vinci, to recreate the pairing of The Sun and The Moon, originally formed by Da Vinci’s mother and The Abyssinian. Ultimately, her intentions turn out to be treacherous. To hide that, I used an evocative quena solo playing the Ima Theme wherever possible to try to emphasize the bond between her and Da Vinci: (more…)
Scoring “The Rope of The Dead” presented a welcome opportunity to explore and expand upon the new musical ideas I’d introduced with the last episode, “The Sun and The Moon.” Like “The Ends of The Earth,” this episode presents our primary characters undergoing similar experiences. In this case, each character faces a test and is helped by visions. This narrative twist pushed me to write in a more dreamy, ambient style, and gave me opportunities to bring back themes from the past. (more…)
“The Sun and The Moon” was the most ambitious score I have composed yet for Da Vinci’s Demons. As Da Vinci sets foot on the new world, the score needed to tell us he is in a completely alien environment, meeting a foreign culture. I had a year and a half to mentally prepare, because Da Vinci’s voyage to South America was hinted at as far back as the second episode of the first season. I distinctly remember David S. Goyer telling me, as we were working on that episode, that our characters would indeed travel to the new world in the second season. Even then I was nervous at the prospect of adding another continent’s worth of music to this already globally-influenced score. (more…)
In “The Ends of the Earth, ” all our protagonists are on journeys. Da Vinci and Riario travel aboard ships bound for the new world, while Lorenzo and Piero trek undercover to Naples. Lucrezia’s journey is into the past, as we flashback to the tragic events that defined her relationship with Sixtus and Riario.
SPOILERS AHEAD: The primary story arc in “The Ends of the Earth” revolves around (pun intended) Da Vinci. The Circassian slaves he freed from bondage in the last episode are proving to be a superstitious lot who believe they will fall off the edge of the world if they travel too far from home. Da Vinci must convince them that the world is round and that he knows the secret to navigating by the stars. (more…)
In “The Voyage of the Damned,” all our characters embark on the journeys that will define their arcs this season.
Da Vinci’s epic journey begins in a bustling fish market in Pisa. To help establish this world, I added the sounds of street musicians playing a traditional song on lutes, “Propignan de Melyor.” Later in the episode, you will hear a small band playing “Schiarazula Marazula.” Please note the very carefully-worded description of desired performance technique that I gave to guitarist Ed Trybek…
Music historian Adam Knight Gilbert tracked down these pieces because they are wilder dances, more likely to be played in the streets than the more formal source pieces I had used for the Medici court scenes in the first season. (more…)
SPOILERS AHEAD: Narratively speaking, “The Blood of Brothers” is the true first season finale. The story of the Pazzi conspiracy is concluded, and our main characters say goodbye before the start of a long journey that will bring new story. Musically, the score reflects these ideas. Themes pertaining to the Pazzi and Medici families are featured prominently, providing triumph for the Medici and humiliation for the Pazzi, while new themes are introduced for new characters.