Sparks And Shadows, Out May 27
Following on from the first season’s soundtrack, this continues both the journey of the characters and the musical journey of Renaissance genius, action and drama.
Sadly the album is not topped and tailed by the evocative theme tune this time, but both the theme and lullaby leitmotifs return, along with several new ones. New tracks represent both the Ottoman Empire and the New World, where much of the season takes place.
The religious overtones of the Renaissance are front and centre in the opening “Florence Under Siege” suite, but they soon give way to a mix of more emotional character moments, action cues, and music representing the Inca Empire. As with the Italian Renaissance, McCreary has blended genuine period music with his own compositions, having recorded in Lima some surviving Incan chants from 500 years ago.
As per the first season, the music is presented in chronological order rather than listening order, and, again, it still works as a standalone listen, or as accompaniment to a spot of epic fantasy reading. If anything, this score is more action-oriented than the first, and even at the time of writing, when the last couple of episodes have yet to air, the listener can tell which passages accompany sword fights and so on.
There are two downsides to this release, albeit barely. The first is the lack of the title theme, especially when there’s a 12-inch single version (released last year) which could have been included. The second is the fact that in the action passages of the early parts, the hints of Hans Zimmer style underbeat bloom into what sounds far too like quotes from the score of The Rock or Crimson Tide.
These are minor quibbles, however, as McCreary has given us another supremely listenable epic score. 8/10
David A. McIntee
As with the first season soundtrack, McCreary states in the PR for this release that there will be an expanded CD set in October. This release is another fantastic score, but it might be worth waiting for the CD set if you don’t want to double-dip.