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Soundtrack review: Outlander the series volume 2 (Bear McCreary – 2015)

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Two volumes of music from “Outlander” in one year? Yes please! The score for the first season of this show about a married World War II nurse in 1945 who finds herself transported back to Scotland in 1743, where she encounters a dashing Highland warrior and becomes embroiled in the Jacobite risings was in such demand that we get a second volume before season 2 even starts. Good times. It’s Bear McCreary going back to his roots and remembering growing up listening to Scottish folk songs and also him tingling my nostalgic bone because even if I grew up in an entirely different musical universe the Celtic folk sound is my favorite in the world. I love its melancholy and longing and some of my best musical memories come from The Corrs or Loreena McKennitt or “Lord of the dance”.

And, surprise: I listen to “Fort William rescue” and discover a pirate like theme, a cue on which the guys from “Black sails” would rest on. I like the way it builds up and even if it’s less Celtic that I would have expected I love the way it makes me feel. It helps me detach from the outside world and imagine I am sailing in the mist on some far away sees. The mood is quiet and reflective. Bear is more subtle in this second volume of the Outlander score. I remember the first album was a sponge full of nostalgia for me and it make me look to the past and to my memories. This second volume is quiet and gentle and makes me enjoy the present and dream about the future. The Celtic strings and flutes are mere echoes and they let me blend parts of me with the cues and feel them even more intimate.

Somehow the composer builds a musical bridge between his Celtic roots and his music for “Black sails” with this one and even if I miss the clouds and storm from the first volume, Celtic romance is just as rewarding. I listen to “On the road” and dream of a castle in the middle of a green sea, standing tall under a gentle and persistent rain. I can count of the fingers of one hand the scores that make me feel so at peace and so at home as “Outlander” does. The tender musings of Bear McCreary touch me as well. This is probably his most personal composition to date and I can feel that. I can fell the joy and honesty in this composition and the music touches me very deeply.

It takes a special kind of composer and a special kind of soul to write a score like “Outlander”. You can’t write such a score if you don’t feel it with every fiber of your body. I imagine that whenever he needs a break from the varied and mad world of his compositions Bear McCreary will always return to this lonely and quiet castle he build from himself. We are just lucky to be able to visit it.

Cue rating: 100 / 100

Total minutes of excellence: 46 / 46

Album excellence: 100%

Highlights:

Fort William Rescue

The summoning

The Key To Lallybroch

On The Road

Ah Fhideag Airgid

To The Begging I Will Go

To Wentworth

Tale Of The Tusks

Tracking Jamie

Charge Of The Highland Cattle

Hand Surgery

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).

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