I recently had the privilege of visiting Mr. Stu Phillips at his home in Studio City where we went over last-minute particulars for his upcoming concert (i’m helping out with a few behind the scenes details). Regular readers of this blog – and any fan worth his salt – should recall that Phillips is the maestro behind the music from the original Battlestar Galactica, as well as Buck Rogers, Knight Rider and countless other hours of entertainment that has undoubtedly made the world a better place. As we wrapped things up, I headed for the door and walked past a piano… the very piano that was used to compose the theme music that defined my childhood; the theme that I’ve probably listened to more than any other piece of music in my life (yes, even the theme from Star Wars). I couldn’t help myself. “Stu,” I nervously asked. “Would you be willing to give a fan the ultimate thrill and personally play the theme to Galactica on this piano?” With his trademark humility and humor, he suggested that I should have higher standards for thrills – but he kindly obliged – and let me make a video of the impromptu performance to share with all of you…
Thanks so much, Stu! I have to say, despite having listened to that theme a million times, hearing it distilled down to the basics in a piano performance was a whole new experience and further evidence of the strength of the piece. It really is a classic.
Speaking of the upcoming concert, the erstwhile Bear McCreary (composer of the new BSG), has made this blog post about the show. Bear will be premiering a brand new version of the Galactica theme, written specifically for this event, and had this to say about it:
My piece will be a combination of the various moments in my scores in which I quoted Stu’s timeless melody, drawing from “Colonial Anthem” from Season 2, “Husker in Combat” from Razor and, of course, “The Heart of the Sun” from the final episode. Some of my own, original BSG themes will weave in there as well… this is your last chance this year to hear my Galactica score performed live in concert. Since the concert program also includes Stu’s “Theme from Battlestar Galactica,” I want my “Colonial Anthem” to have all the unique qualities and sounds that set my score apart. So, the orchestra will be joined on stage by BSG Orchestra superstars Paul Cartwright on electric violin, Chris Bleth on duduk and M.B. Gordy on taikos and ethnic percussion. This concert will truly be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to experience the classic and re-imagined Galactica scores together on one program..
In addition to all the great music from your favorite TV shows, there will also be a few surprise guests on hand, as well as a drawing to win CDs and other goodies signed by Bear and Stu. Full details:
The Golden State Pops Orchestra
Halloween Fright Night 7
Help GSPO celebrate Stu Phillips’ 80th Birthday
Grand Warner Theater, San Pedro, CA
Saturday, October 24, 2009
Before I finally left, I asked Stu if I could grab a photo of one last thing, and I present it to you here – the original, hand written sheet music for the theme to Battlestar Galactica! Enjoy your glimpse of the BSG Holy Grail (click to make big) and I’ll see you in San Pedro on the 24th!
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Bear also posted a fantastic interview with Stu Phillips, chock full of great insights into writing the Galactica score, Knight Rider, composing in general and some great stories about working in the industry. I highly recommend you check it out!