A distant sadness

In addition to All Along the Watchtower and Battlestar Sonatica, another one of my favourite tracks from the Battlestar Galactica: Season Three soundtrack is the haunting piece A Distant Sadness, as heard at the start of Occupation. The lyrics are in Armenian and have multiple levels of meaning, according to composer Bear McCreary – I’ll have to take his word on that. The CD booklet only provides the lyrics in Armenian script with an English translation, so I thought I’d try my hand at romanising the lyrics according to ISO 9985.

A Distant Sadness
Music & lyrics: Bear McCreary
Vocals: Raya Yarbrough

Հեռու եւ ծանօթ տխրություն մը մեզ կը կանչէ
Heṙow ew çanòt’ txrowt’yown më mez kë kančē

Քամիով բերուած՝ այրուող աւազի նման
K’amiov berowaç, ayrowoġ awazi nman

Եղբայրներ եւ Քոյրեր՝ որ հեռւում էք՝ դուք կը տոկաք
Eġbayrnr ew Koyrer, or heṙwowm ēk’ dowk kë tokak

Անելանելի վիծակի մէջ՝ մեր իսկ հողին վրայ։
Anelaneli viçaki mēǰ, mer isk hoġin vray.

Յիշողութիւն մը փորագրուած հոգու եւ մորթի մէջ
Yišoġowt’in më p’oragrowaç hogow ew mort’i mēǰ

Կը թողնէ սպի մը որ երբեք չի բուժուիր
Kë t’oġnē spi më or erbek’ či bowžowir

Մեր ընտանիքը ամուր է՝ բայց ցիրուցան
Mer ëntanik’ë amowr ē, bayc’ c’irowc’an

Աստղերու եւ դաշտերու տարածութեան մէջ։
Astġerow ew dašterow taraçowt’ean mēǰ.

Մենք ձեզ չի պիտի լքենք
Menk’ jez či piti lk’enk’

Մենք ձեզ չի պիտի մոռնանք
Menk’ jez či piti moṙnank’

Մենք ձեզ համար պիտի վերադառնանք։
Menk’ jez hamar piti veradaṙnank’.

(Note: I’ve probably wrongly transcribed and/or transliterated a few characters, given my unfamiliarity with Armenian, but my romanisation does seem consistent with Raya Yarbrough’s vocals).

Battlestar Sonatica

The song All Along the Watchtower is a recurring theme in the final two seasons of Battlestar Galactica – my BSG-watching friends and I absolutely love the Bear McCreary arrangement of the song performed by Bt4 (Brendan McCreary) as heard in the season 3 finale Crossroads, part II. Bear McCreary is an award-winning composer who arranged the BSG score, and his blog (Bear’s Battlestar Galactica Blog) gives a fascinating insight into the creative and production processes for music in television/film.

Battlestar Sonatica sheet music
Battlestar Sonatica for Solo Piano, Yamaha LU-201C piano

Another one of my favourite pieces from BSG is the piano theme Battlestar Sonatica, first heard in the season 3 episode Torn. McCreary was asked by BSG producer Ron Moore to compose an ‘unsettlingly familiar’ classical piano piece to complement Baltar’s experiences aboard the Cylon Basestar. Battlestar Sonatica is a piano sonata in B flat minor inspired by Beethoven’s Piano Sonata No. 14 (’Moonlight’ Sonata, Op. 27 No. 2).

It turns out that the Battlestar Sonatica sheet music is available for purchase, and last week I finally received my copy in the mail. Now whilst mine isn’t autographed by McCreary, it’s one of the new edition saddle-stitched booklets on matte coated stock. The score corresponds exactly with the soundtrack and is thus a little technically difficult for a lapsed piano player like myself (I had difficulty sight reading it, in part because of the B flat minor scale), but in absolute terms is not a particularly difficult piece. Useless trivia: it’s the first piece I’ve played in a long time with double accidentals (in this case double flats).

Oh, and it turns out that I’d correctly inferred how McCreary came up with the coordinates for Earth in Daybreak, part II using a motif from All Along the Watchtower. Simple but effective!