perfect score TV

Soundtrack review: Outlander (Bear McCreary – 2015)

OutlanderAlbumCover-RGB

“Outlander” sounds like a very nice adventure. I haven’t watch the show yet but the plot seems interesting: it’s about a World War II nurse who finds herself transported in Scotland in 1743 where she encounters Civil War and a prince of some sorts. Dashing, no doubt. She gets caught between the love for her husband in the present and for that knight. The lord of TV land Bear McCreary wrote the score and if the plot says fantasy and Scotland I am already dreaming of Celtic emotions. Celtic music is probably my favorite sound so, bring it on.

On Bear brings it right from the start. “People disappear all the time” brings that misty Celtic melancholy I am jonesing for, flute and all. Nice introduction, I am in. Usually I don’t include the vocal songs from scores in my reviews but this version (the Castle Leoch version – ah even the name spells Celtic mystery) of “The Skye Boat song” fits too well in context not to appreciate and mention.

“Dance of the druids” is pure fairy tale music. Sweet choirs in the background, a percussion rhythm fit for a horseback journey and a flow that makes me close my eyes and smile all make for a magic cue. I am three tracks into this score and the most interesting and chaotic composer in the business has been mesmerized himself by the story and is giving us a fluid and beautiful listening experience. The music is nice and dreamy, just like it should be.

Like I said before I am biased towards Celtic music. The fiddle, the flute, the bodhran and the bagpipes are are all as familiar to me as childhood stories and this sound just makes me fall into the sweetest mental state. “Fallen through time” sounds as if it was taken from my Irish and Scottish music collections. Bear really did his homework and he’s capturing the essence of that land. And how could he not since writing a score like this has been his lifelong dream. He mentioned that Highlands folk music has been his passion and that he actually blasted bagpipes through his speakers when he first learned to drive. And who better to feel this music and get its emotion than a guy who’s been dreaming to hear a score like this? From one dreamer to the other, message received! I am falling through time myself listening to this cue and remembering the countless hours I’ve fantasized while listening to Celtic music…

I can feel all the love and care Bear McCreary put in this composition and I can tell how personal this is to him. I imagine how happy he must have been writing this one and I can’t wait to talk to him about it. “Castle Leoch” renews my wish to visit those lands. I’ve listened to some many Irish and Scottish folk songs and I am just so happy to be able to enjoy these sounds in a score and write about it…”Comin’ thro’ the rye” is just the loveliest little jig.

It’s not all dreamy… the music gets deep as well in “The woman of Balnain” and I can almost feel the rain drops on  my face. Even if I don’t understand the words and the dialect my connection with the music transcends that and I recognize that male voice. Then the sweet harp and violin take over and it’s just…magic. “Outlander” is the score that will make you dream of green plains and castles and cloudy skies. It has all the joy, sorrow, determination and melancholy of the place it describes.

Can you sit in your chair when you hear “Clean pease strae”?. I doubt it. This jig just makes me want to dance and drink and be happy. Those bagpipes just hit the spot. Nothing can go wrong when you hear a cue like this. This music comes from someone who knows it like his own heart. It’s clear to me that Bear McCreary heard hundreds of hours of Celtic music as well and I can imagine his joy at writing it. “The wedding” almost makes me tear up. This is real and pure emotion and it’s just a sweeping cue. The score ends with the 10 minutes long “The veil of time”. I love this title, its beautiful and inspired. I love this cue, it’s tender and honest. It’s my favorite from the entire score.

I grew up listening to Mike Oldfield, Loreena McKennitt and The Chieftains and they still fill my playlists to this day. I’ve seen “Lord of the dance” 8 times live. The score for that show is still in my top 20 of all time. There’s no way I wasn’t going to take a brilliant and heartfelt composition like “Outlander” and keep it close to my heart. I am so happy that Bear McCreary wrote it and his development as a composer continues to amaze me. He is probably the most versatile guy out there and we are fortunate to have him so busy and inspired. I can’t wait for volume 2 of “Outlander”. This feeling of anticipation for a score I know is going to be great is just wonderful. I hope they keep the show on for years to come.

Cue rating: 100 / 100

Total minutes of excellence: 51 / 51

Album excellence: 100%

Highlights:

People Disappear All The Time

The Skye Boat Song (Castle Leoch Version)
Dance Of The Druids
Fallen Through Time
Castle Leoch
Comin’ Thro’ The Rye
The Woman Of Balnain
Mrs. Fitz
The Losing Side Of History
Clean Pease Strae
The Marriage Contract
The Wedding
The Veil Of Time

About the author

Mihnea Manduteanu

I have been listening to film music for 25 years and writing about it since 2014. I've written over 1000 reviews and I can't imagine myself doing anything else. I am also a member of IFMCA (International Film Music Critics Association).

2 Comments

Click here to post a comment