April 29, 2007

GWC Podcast #41

This week we’re joined by every BSG fan’s favorite composer Bear McCreary who takes some time out of his busy schedule to answer our star-struck questions and give us some insight into his history and the music that makes Galactica so enjoyable. Highlights: Mr. McCreary explains the scoring process and clues us in on what’ll surely be the BSG event of the summer — a live performance co-inciding with the season three soundtrack release, we respond to listener Armondo’s comments regarding music careers, the discussion of Baltar’s evil nature continues, we again question Athena’s true allegience, and we get more than a little punchy as we wrap up this week’s re-watch. Next week: Act of Contrition and lots more listener calls and comments.

25 Responses to "GWC Podcast #41"
  1. Architect says:

    BEAR McCREARY?!! Dude! Downloading right now! Can’t wait to hear what all is being said.

  2. Chuck says:

    As I mentioned in the show notes, we were all a little star-struck, so we’ll try to mumble less next time ’round. Audra and are both amateur musicians, and we felt a little out of our league. One thing we can definitely say (and you can clearly hear): Mr. McCreary is not only an incredibly nice guy but very generous in his direct contributions to the BSG fan community.

    Be sure to check out both soundtracks of his hitting shelves this summer, and check out his website when you get a chance: http://www.bearmccreary.com.

  3. Eyeless says:

    w00t! My favorite member of the BSG team! Thanks guys. Downloading now, I’ll definitely be back after I listen. =D

  4. techie says:

    Audra, maybe he went to skidmore?

  5. Pike says:

    Oh, very nice. Bear is cooler than Darth or Gaius. ๐Ÿ˜€

    It’s interesting how many pro musicians actually play the accordian. I’m confused about the harmonium. I thought that was the spinning glass instrument that Ben Franklin invented, but I must be thinking of something else.

    And finally, I can’t believe that the original Apollo debuted on the new BSG and nary a mention!

  6. Audra says:

    Pike, check out:


    and click on “blog.” If you scroll down you can see a photo of Bear McCreary playing the harmonium.

  7. Pike says:

    Audra, thanks. I was thinking of the Armonica:

  8. Trak101 says:

    I seem to recall somewhere reading that Hell is merely the absence of God… by extrapolation, I argue that Evil is the absence of morality. Baltar is ‘evil’ because he is totally amoral. Baltar’s sole focus is on himself and all else is secondary. Despite some apparent misgivings at times, Baltar is clearly all about Baltar and will do whatever it takes to preserve himself or get himself what he wants. Whether it’s signing a death warrant or giving a mentally unstable, albeit sexy, robot chick a nuke, Baltar is either preserving his @ss or trying to get some. This is why he’s “evil”.

    This is a more subtle and nuanced form of evil than was portrayed in TOS with Baltar spinning in his Cylon throne trying to subject the human race under himself.

    I posit that it’s a reflection of the times.

  9. BoxytheBoxed says:

    more cowbell….Audra your my new hero byby sean
    thats a drummer thing you know audra*online hugs* ewwww online hugs…im 14(yep i am now)molester jk
    but whats with the new pornbotsite ads???

  10. Armando says:

    I’m a little late on the download (what else is new?) so I didn’t realize this was the Bear McCreary podcast. I just can’t believe you guys used my phone call from last week. (I was afraid you’d do that! D’oh! But a friend had to call and tell me because I still haven’t gotten around to listening to it.) After my phone call last week, though, I checked out Bear’s site. There’s some nice things in there and some things that make me see how far he’s come in the few short years since he finished at USC. He needs, however, to put more of his “Piano Quartet” on his site. THAT piece is pretty sweet (what’s up of it, at least). (The Concerto for Giacomo, or whatever the rock band his friends had in college, is pretty nifty too.)

    Can’t wait to hear what he has to say! I’m gonna geek out AND get to use my degrees in a non-work context. Woo hoo!

  11. Armando says:

    So I started listening to the podcast tonight and am enjoying Bear’s comments. What a sweet guy! I have to say, as a trained composer (although I always wanted to write concert hall music, as cool as it would be to do a film score sometime in my career), it’s very cool to hear him talk about his training and how he got into it. The only difference is the work he was drawn to was obviously the work of other film composers, but we all go through the same process of education and training. Way to go for getting him on the podcast!

  12. Armando says:

    Does my voice REALLY sound like that?!?! ๐Ÿ˜‰

    I don’t think I will finish the podcast till tomorrow…it’s getting late, but apology accepted, Chuck. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Seriously, though: the reason I’m not a film composer is precisely the things that Bear talked about. For one, even though I still have to deal with deadlines, they are not as intense or as short as a film composer’s. Two weeks? Four DAYS?!?>!?! DAMN! That’s just intense. I’m writing a piece right now that’s not due until late 2008 or so, for a performance in February, 2009 (it’s a REALLY huge piece) and I’m worried about not finishing it on time for various reasons. I can’t imagine dealing with the sorts of deadlines Bear deals with (although it sounds like he’s developed a nice “tool box” of sorts to help him in that process). Then there’s the need for film composers to be versed in a number of different styles, which is, frankly, beyond me.

    And still, I would love to do a film score at least once in my career.

    To answer some of your comments to me (that feels weird after listening to your podcast the last few months!): first of all, Chuck, I think you should get in touch with your high school music teacher and tell him how much his teaching meant to you. Even though you didn’t pursue music professionally, I’m glad to hear the training you got from him helped your professional and personal life. That’s one of the aims of music education and I’m glad to hear it actually works. And besides, your teachers like to hear that kind of stuff. I got a chance to do that for my first composition teacher when I was featured in a piece for Studio 360 on NPR/PRI. I am indebted to my first teacher, Susan Hurley, for EVERYTHING in my professional life.

    Audra: to answer YOUR question, I am not originally from upstate New York, although my undergraduate is, indeed, from Eastman (ding, ding, ding, ding, ding!!!!!! And even though I didn’t go to Ithaca/Cornell, one of my teachers at Eastman did, so you get a bonus point). I’m originally from way farther away, then after Eastman moved away again and only came back to the area last year for a teaching gig at a liberal arts college in central New York.

    And…I’m afraid I’ve revealed too much about myself. If you’d like to learn more, though, maybe even hear my music, feel free to email me. I’ll be more than happy to send you to the appropriate web site then. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Most of all, thanks for putting on Bear. He was cool! And he’s only like 25 or something. I’m so fracking jealous!

  13. Pike says:

    Armando, yeah, it sounds like that. Welcome to my world…

    On the upside, google “fanfilms.” They’re invariably looking for help with soundtracks, and the constraints of real jobs means they are inevitably behind schedule. Thus, you have the best of both worlds; soundtracks that need to be done, and deadlines that are constantly moved back.

  14. Armando says:

    Pike, I so don’t have time to do a fan film right now! I have two big projects coming up that are due for a premiere within a month of each other in early 2009. One of them is a 45minute to an hour long piece for voices and orchestra which will take me the better part of this year to finish, the other is a cello concerto which won’t take as long, but I’m way behind on fund raising and helping set up a consortium of groups to do it, which I need to start worrying about soon. Then there are my teaching responsibilities, which aren’t too huge, actually (and the semester ends very soon anyway) and administrative duties related to the “band” I’m in (a group that plays only “classical” music written since 1970) and a festival I’m helping a friend start. With all of that (and I’m not even all that succesful in the world of classical composers. There are people who are much, much busier…and much better at this than I am) I’m not taking on projects until 2009.

    I know, I know. Poor me, right?

    (Hey, thanks for indulging all of this professional musician babble. It’s so far removed from BSG, but Bear’s conversation with Chuck, Audra and Sean really felt like talking shop. Way to go, guys, on some really musically intelligent questions.)

  15. Pike says:

    Armando, Bah! Bear could knock that out in a fortnight! He’s the Chuck Norris of composers!

    Seriously, though, good to hear that you’re so busy.

  16. Armando says:

    Thanks, Pike. I’m actually hoping to be busier in the near future and guaranteeing that is itself a full time job. But it’s the end of the semester and I’m tired and procrastination seems to be the order of the day, I guess. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Anyway, I’ve made it through more of the podcast and had a thought. I’m struck by Sean’s question about whether Athena’s relationship with Helo, the cylon-on-cylon violence she commits, etc. are all part of the cylon plan. I’m a little further ahead on the re-watch than our schedule (I just watched “Tigh me up, Tigh me down” last night). On “Flesh and Bone,” when Athena reports to Six and Doral (who used to be far more threatening and creepy. I think he’s so underused now) that she thinks Helo is in love with her and they had sex, they tell her they’re setting them up with a cabin in the woods with “all the comforts.” Until that point I had the same doubts Sean has been having in the rewatch. At the point when she runs to Helo and tells her they need to run now, he asks her, “what’s different?” Her response is, “everything.” It’s at that point, and not when she takes the colonial oath in season three, that she betrays the cylons. She has fallen in love with Helo as well, which was, I think, not part of the cylon plan. So they throw everything at her…and she still gets off the planet. In “Tigh me up…” Six and Doral are talking about what Sharon and Helo have and Six is visibly upset because, according to Doral, she “hasn’t had that” (although I think that at that moment that’s our Caprica Six and she has, in fact, had that with Baltar). It’s at that point that the Cylon plan goes out the window.

  17. Mike P says:

    Trak101 writes: “I argue that Evil is the absence of morality. Baltar is รขโ‚ฌหœevilรขโ‚ฌโ„ข because he is totally amoral.”

    All due respect, I’m unsure what to make of this. “Evil” is a moral concept, so how can its definition be “the absence of morality”? I mean, I suppose it is true in a sense. People only ever talk about “amoral people” to mean “evil people” — you never hear infants, for example, described as “amoral” even though it is technically true. I’m just not sure what is gained by defining “evil” as “amoral.” Also, I suppose one could have a moral code that others deem evil. It’s not that the villain has no morals, it’s just that their morals are — as in Baltar’s case — self-preservation at all costs, self-indulgent escapist narcissism, and so on — values that most of civilization has deemed “not good” (hence, I suppose, evil).

  18. Armando says:

    Great point, Mike P. This came up a while back in another forum I participated in regarding religion and around the HBO series “Rome.” The producers of that show made it their purpose to show how similar, sure, but especially how different the Romans were to us in questions of morality, societal values/mores, religion, marriage, sex, you name it. The fact that a man who enslaved upwards of a million people in his quest to conquer Gaul could be seen for centuries, into our day (even through some revisionist biographies) as a hero and a great man (whose murderer Dante placed in the lowest circle of hell in the 14th century, next only to Satan himself and Judas Iscariot) drives this point home more than anything else. We would see a man like Julius Caesar as a monster not too far removed from Hitler and Stalin. The civilization he was a part of, however, saw the things he did as ultimately heroic and for the common good.

    Which is not to say Baltar is not despicable. I just don’t think he wakes up every morning, looks in the mirror and says, “I wonder how I can commit great evil today.” That’s what makes him such a great character, rather than a charicature.

  19. By your Command says:

    What a great podcast! As always Audra puts the cooler on Watercooler… (I have to say that she has a really hot voice) And Bear McCreary, i’ve heard like 5 podcast interviews of him, but I was never a loyal listener to those podcasts, so when I heard his voice here it was just that sweet. You should invite him again, maybe before the Battlestar Pegasus movie, and ask him about the scoring of that, and maybe let the listeners ask some questions (Just saying…).

    Oh! and… well… Darth Vader doesn’t have a chip Six in his head, that’s just his loss, but still he’s cooler than Baltar.

    PS: You should invite Martha again. “Maybe not 40 of your years Martha” I still crack up every time I remeber that.

  20. Audra says:

    Trak101: I wonder if what you recalled was St. Augustine’s theory of evil? In Augustine’s Enchiridion, Chapter 11, he refers to evil as “the absence of good.”

    Here’s an 1876 translation of the relevant segment, by Marcus Dods:

    And in the universe, even that which is called evil, when it is regulated and put in its own place, only enhances our admiration of the good; for we enjoy and value the good more when we compare it with the evil. For the almighty God, who, as even the heathen acknowledge, has supreme power over all things, being Himself supremely good, would never permit the existence of anything evil among His works, if He were not so omnipotent and good that He can bring good even out of evil. For what is that which we call evil but the absence of good? In the bodies of animals, disease and wounds mean nothing but the absence of health; for when a cure is effected, that does not mean that the evils which were present–namely, the diseases and wounds–go away from the body and dwell elsewhere: they altogether cease to exist; for the wound or disease is not a substance, (2) but a defect in the fleshly substance–the flesh itself being a substance, and therefore something good, of which those evils–that is, privations of the good which we call health–are accidents. (3) Just in the same way, what are called vices in the soul are nothing but privations of natural good. And when they are not transferred elsewhere: when they cease to exist in the healthy soul, they cannot exist anywhere else.

    FWIW, the only detail I remembered was that Augustine had a similar-sounding philosophy. You can thank the Very Jerry for that: he was my ethics professor my second year of college.

  21. TheBob says:

    Re: The discussion of if we can trust Athena or if she has a switch in her like Boomer did – here’s something I always wondered:

    Who decides (or decided) to throw the swith?

  22. fuzzyelf says:

    trying to catch up but busy this week and haven’t quite finished this cast but had to say what a great job of interviewing esp Chuck.

  23. Mike P says:

    Ok, Steve — Since you brought up Dualla’s magically switching headset which will now forever distract me (grr… ), here’s a sneak peek at a gaffe in next week’s re-watch episode, “You Can’t Go Home Again,” as reprisal. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Watch the shot of the fleet right after we cut away from Starbuck — well, cutting away — the underbelly of the Cylon raider on the planet. The Galactica is, contrary to form, flying from left to right. Note the fire damage on the “starboard” landing bay. That’s there because it’s really the port landing bay, and if you freeze frame your DVD and zoom in you will see that the name “GALACTICA” is backward.

    That’s the first error in a DVD I’ve ever spotted on my own. Aren’t we proud? ๐Ÿ™‚

  24. Armando says:

    All those years of schooling are finally paying off, Mike! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  25. perry ostrin says:

    hey audra mo spanish por vavor

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