Season two of Da Vinci’s Demons has launched on Starz. Hear exclusive score clips from the new season in my new video blog, which also features a conversation with series star Tom Riley!
During the first season of Da Vinci’s Demons, I introduced about a dozen character themes, set in a soundscape built from both Renaissance and contemporary instrumentation. Leonardo had his main theme, constructed as a palindrome, inspired by Da Vinci’s ability to write forwards and backwards. The Medici Theme was based on a true historical melody composed by the Medici court composer Heinrich Isaac in the late fifteenth century. The score was rounded out by the ominous Rome Theme, the delicate Lucrezia Theme as well as themes for the Pazzi Family, The Turk, The Sons of Mithras, Vlad the Impaler, Giuliano de Medici, Vanessa, Cosimo de Medici, The Pope’s Twin Brother and many sub-themes built for characters within larger factions, such as Clarice, Mercuri and Riario. For each episode, I introduced new themes and concisely developed the previously-existing ones as needed. Season one was ambitious, but manageable.
Season two… was merciless. (more…)
Happy Holidays, everyone!
Hoping to make your holiday shopping a bit easier, I’ve compiled all the records and merch that I’ve put out this year into one blog entry. Any soundtrack geek on your ‘Nice’ list will dig this stuff. And geeks on your ‘Naughty’ list as well! 🙂
I’m thrilled to announce that Sparks & Shadows has released t-shirts of my iconic “Bear McCreary: Thirteen Notes” design. Originally unveiled during my 2009 “Music of Battlestar Galactica” tours, these notes are in the frakkin’ ship! 🙂 Fans have been asking for shirts for years and thanks to the good folks at S&S, its finally happening!
CLICK HERE TO ORDER. Shirts are available for $21.98, in a wide variety of sizes and colors, and they ship internationally.
I am proud to announce the second physical CD release for Sparks & Shadows: “Da Vinci’s Demons” Original Television Soundtrack, Collector’s Edition. The two-disc limited edition album is available starting TOMORROW, OCTOBER 22, through Amazon.com and other digital retailers. The first 360 orders through La-La Land Records’ website will get an AUTOGRAPHED BOOKLET! These exclusive signed copies go on sale at noon PST and usually sell out very quickly, so be ready to move fast to snag yours.
As I wrote in my mission statement when I founded Sparks & Shadows, I still believe in the physical format as a way for collectors and fans to treasure soundtracks. Our initial focus for “Da Vinci’s Demons” was in getting a digital album released quickly, so fans could download the music while they were still watching the first season on the air. I always knew I wanted to go back to this material and release it in a physical format. (more…)
I won an Emmy on Sunday night, for my “Da Vinci’s Demons” Main Title Theme.
I’m still so overwhelmed by this that I can barely process it. If I didn’t have this winged golden lady sitting on my table right now, I’d hardly believe that it happened at all. At Sunday’s award ceremony, I almost felt like I was watching my speech from an out-of-body experience. The ceremony is airing this Saturday night on FXX, so I’ll tune in then and remember exactly what I said! Since then, I’ve been inundated with a flurry of congratulations, smiles, cards, flowers, champagne and enthusiastic words from friends, family and fans alike. I will likely never have the chance to respond to each one personally, so let me now just thank you all for the chorus of kindness.
From what I can recall, I thanked a few people in my brief speech last Sunday, but 34 seconds is not enough time to thank everyone who contributed to this recognition. Here on my blog, however, there’s no timer counting down, so I can say everything I would have on Sunday if I’d had the whole three-hour ceremony to speak! (more…)
To celebrate the final first-season episode of “Da Vinci’s Demons,” I sat down with the visionary series creator / director / writer / executive producer David S. Goyer to discuss my music for the show:
Scoring a series as thematically layered as “Da Vinci’s Demons” is a daunting task. I have to write dozens of themes. Each must serve the creative needs of the scene at hand, but also be malleable enough that it can support the drama in future twists and turns, multiple episodes or even seasons down the line. This process allows me to build up a tremendous toybox of musical material. Big finale episodes are where I get to bust out all my toys and really play. All my work setting up character themes finally pays off, and the process of writing is truly exhilarating.
“Da Vinci’s Demons” returns after a week-long hiatus, and what a big week it is. I’m thrilled to say that my original score has been released digitally by Sparks & Shadows! This marks the first time in my career that a television album has been released while the episodes are still airing. This has always been one of my dreams and I’m very excited that everyone at S&S pulled it off.
The “Da Vinci’s Demons” album contains over 90 minutes of music, across 26 tracks. It is available digitally from iTunes, Amazon and other digital retailers. We’re working on a physical CD set for later this year. Interestingly, this is the first television album I’ve ever released where the cues are presented in chronological order. I normally put the cues in an aesthetically pleasing order. However, the development of the themes on this series is so crucial that no other order would have made sense.
Tonight’s episode, “The Hierophant,” is well-represented on the album, and for good reason. (more…)
My recent video blogs have detailed how I dove headfirst into the sounds of Renaissance and used period-appropriate instruments and performance practices to evoke the era. Going one step further, I actually used compositions from the time period in my score. (If Lorenzo de Medici were to travel through time and watch this series, he would recognize his own theme as the one composed by his court composer!) In tonight’s video blog, I sit down with series music historian Adam Knight Gilbert and discuss two themes in particular that were drawn straight from the pages of music history:
MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD: “The Devil” introduces a new character to the series: Vlad III, a.k.a. Dracula, the true historical inspiration for Bram Stoker’s Dracula.
During the past four video blogs, I’ve detailed the main themes of my “Da Vinci’s Demons” score and introduced several essential instruments, including the Calder Quartet, choirs, and percussion. At last, my new video blog highlights the soloists and their instruments that give my score its distinctly Renaissance flavor:
SPOILERS AHEAD: The first few episodes of “Da Vinci’s Demons” were all about setting up character conflicts and musical themes. Now, we’ve reached the point where story threads cross, characters develop and new conflicts arise. In response, I was required to develop the score and push the now firmly-established themes into newer variations to keep pace with the story. (more…)
Tonight’s episode of “Da Vinci’s Demons” introduces a new theme, for the titular magician, Cosimo de Medici. His theme features a variety of new percussion sounds, expanding on the percussion I’ve used thus far for The Turk. Tonight’s video blog details how percussionist M.B. Gordy and I discovered the right instruments to use for this series:
After “The Magician,” we are halfway through the first season. By this point, character arcs and conflicts are firmly established, and similarly, all the principal musical themes are clearly defined. “The Magician” is musically remarkable not for introducing new material, but instead for the way in which the themes expand and develop, along with the twisted narrative.
The third episode of “Da Vinci’s Demons,” called “The Prisoner,” allows the series to explore the Gothic horror genre. The spooky imagery of a damned convent is accompanied by ethereal female vocals that take center stage in the score. Tonight’s video blog introduces a few of the vocal ensembles you will be hearing during the first season:
MAJOR SPOILERS BEYOND: “The Prisoner” begins with an introduction to the titular character: a mysterious old man with a long grey beard who’s clearly being held prisoner in Rome and whose face we will not see. Riario enters the dungeon and engages him in the ancient Chinese game of Go, that will be a framing device for the entire episode. I wrote a theme for this character, called The Prisoner Theme: (more…)