Film Music Review
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Film Music Review (Volumes 1-7)





FIREFLY (2002)

Music composed and produced by Greg Edmonson.

25 Tracks (Playing Time = 60:30)

“Main Title” written by Joss Whedon and performed by Sonny Rhodes. Recorded at Rancho Gato Loco, Studio City, CA. Music mixed by Les Brockman and Dave Appelt.

Varese Sarabande 302 066 699 2

Rating: ***


Last fall Joss Whedon’s short-lived science fiction series from 2002 made it to the big screen as SERENITY. David Newman’s score was an eclectic one that strayed from the traditional science fiction big orchestral sound. In short, he managed to capture the style and sound, or at least mimic that, of Greg Edmonson’s equally eclectic mix of blues and ethnic music coupled with fine thematic statements and intermingled with action cues. The music included on this CD is taken from the series various episodes and blends occasional ambient sounds with orchestral ones (both acoustic and synthetic) along with a more pop music country blues sound. Whedon’s theme song, which opens the disc, sung by Sonny Rhodes, sets the tone for the type of some of the music that is to follow. Many will be struck by a score that sounds like it is more for some contemporary drama than a science fiction film which suggests how close Edmonson came to realizing Whedon’s vision for this series.

This disc is one of those experiments that Varese used to launch a digital download of its music. The CD features 8 “bonus” tracks which were evidently not available for download. Some of these sound like the introductions to songs that never materialize. Fans of the series will probably want both. Others will more likely hear a sound not unlike Sci-Fi Channel movies of the week.

The difference here is that Edmonson’s score tends to find time to provide an undercurrent of emotional support for different characters befitting a contemporary drama than the kind of writing one often hears for these programs. It also bears a sophistication with its gentle piano and guitar lines and a recurring motif played on electric violin which later takes on a more Asian fell for Inara’s theme. The thematic ideas are generally quite engaging as they weave their way in and out of various cues. The poignant track, “The Funeral” provides one such moment of quietude amidst some of the more dissonant writing and action music. Edmonson also weaves the main “Firefly” theme into some of these tracks as well. Big action cues are not the primary focus of this score any more than they were of a series that believed you could have a character driven science fiction program. Fox felt otherwise and at least Whedon had a chance to bring his vision to a fine large-form film while interest still existed. FIREFLY will likely be one of those television programs that will be fondly remembered by all who fell under its spell and it is they who will mostly appreciate this release. The booklet included a list of all the episodes along with a brief synopsis and air date information for each episode. It makes the CD an excellent companion to the recently released DVD set.

--Steven A. Kennedy, 9 January 2006

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