Composer Bear McCreary's musical talents were called upon in the last episode of Battlestar Galactica, not just to fill BSG with the lovely voices of chanting ladies and drums, but to create a special ballad. McCreary's blog reveals the meaning and creation behind 'Gaeta's Lament.' Spoilers from the episode and song video after the jump.
To cope with the pain after his leg was amputated Gaeta cries out a lonesome song. McCreary explained that the lyrics in this sad tune helped to weave together several story arcs in the episode "Guess What's Coming To Dinner."
The actor who plays Gaeta, Alessandro Juliana, graduated with a B.M. in vocal/opera performance at McGill University in Montreal. The writers and producers decided to use his experience in the episode, "Guess," and create "Gaeta's Lament," which Juliana calls, "The Stump Serenade." The episode's writer, Michael Angeli, penned the lyrics and talks about what he wanted to do with the music inspired by the his wife's piano tune.
He [Producer Ron D. Moore] wanted it to be sad, about a lost lover. In a sense we were creating a back-story through the song. And 'opera' was probably the wrong word. He wanted more of a ballad, with a minor key feel to it. So I wrote the lyrics with the lost lover in mind. But knowing how the show would end - with The Hybrid awakening - I wanted the lyrics to relate to that moment as well. I also felt that the "story" in the song should be an allegory for the cold reality of Gaeta losing his leg and there's nothing that can be done about it.
McCreary took the ballad worked with Juliana to make it the beautifully sad song it is now. He even used a little inspiration from hit previous work on Gaeta's original melody.
To create the melody for the Lament, I started with a melody conceived for Gaeta in Season 1, an idea that ultimately never developed fully. However, in this context, it fit perfectly....Many of my melodies on Galactica are extremely reliant on their underlying harmonies to have meaning (Baltar's theme is a extreme example: without the interesting chordal progression, the melody itself is quite inane).
Interestingly when Gaeta sings, it isn't the first time we hear the Lament. It played without lyrics in last weeks episode, and as Gaeta goes under Doc Cottle's bone saw. The song actually flows throughout the entire episode crescendoing with the lyrics 'To have her, please, just one day wake,' which land on the wakening of the Hybrid and the surprise jump.
McCreary spills a little dirt and promises this won't be the last we see of music being brought to the front of the series. He is even overseeing on-set instrumental performances. Oh, methinks it's time for another barn dance on BSG.
Poor Gatea he's everybody's bitch in BSG. First he took crap from Baltar, then he was almost thrown out the airlock, now his leg has been sawed off by Doc Cottle. Call this a shot in the dark, but if cylons have the ability to create mechanical people, couldn't they make a mechanical leg for our pal Gaeta? Bring Gaeta a love interest stat, he's so sad it makes me cry. [Bear's Battlestar Blog]