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Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey Volume 4
  • Composed by Alan Silvestri
  • Cosmos Studios Music / 2014 / 41m

It’s very unusual for a single tv season to produce four soundtrack albums but that’s what the excellent Cosmos has done, with the fourth volume of Alan Silvestri’s music focusing on the final six episodes.  By this stage of the series, the show was combining a few original cues with I believe tracked-in music from earlier episodes, which makes perfect sense (there’s only so much “awe and wonder” music Silvestri could write).  It opens with the lovely main theme in an even-more-twinkly-than-usual arrangement before progressing to “Duck Soup?” in which electronics come to the fore – that side of the scoring has not been much to my liking throughout the four volumes, but thankfully it generally takes a back seat here.  Things are quickly back on track in the terrific “Pat Patterson”, with an engaging piano solo leading the way and threatening at times to turn into a piece of full-on Silvestri action music (though it never does).

I love “4.5 Billion Years Old” which features probably the best use of electronics in the whole series, interplaying with typically strong Silvestri orchestral writing.  “Sifting the Stars” has a couple of bars of an Arabic sound but turns into a more typical orchestral piece, quite lovely by the time it ends.  “Stellar Atmospheres” is a charming and elegant summary of the main themes.  “What About Us?” sees the score getting unusually unrestrained, the orchestra never quite magically soaring away, but it gets close.  “Paris, 1878” has a more lighthearted feel – expressive writing for the winds – and it’s one of the most engaging cues of the whole series.  “Islands of Light” features a wonderfully rousing take on one of the series’ main themes. It all comes to a satisfactory conclusion with a great end title piece.  Cosmos was clearly a major undertaking for Silvestri and it’s nice that so much of his music for the show (quite possibly all of it) has been released, but I can’t help but wonder whether it wouldn’t have been better-served by a single disc highlights compilation.  As things stand, there are so many fine pieces on each of the volumes but none of the albums individually is quite strong enough to make it a truly compelling listen from start to finish.  In common with the others, this one is generally very pleasant and features some excellent moments, but at the end of it there’s been almost three hours of Cosmos music released and I’m not sure how many of those three hours I’ll be returning to in the years to come.

Rating: ***

See also:
Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey Volume 1 Alan Silvestri
Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey Volume 2 Alan Silvestri
Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey Volume 3 Alan Silvestri | |

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  1. ghostof82 (Reply) on Monday 14 July, 2014 at 06:43

    Silvestri has confirmed that all the music he wrote/recorded has been released across the four volumes. I intend to compile a highlights CD-R to listen to, but its certainly nice to have the opportunity to have all the music for a change rather than be annoyed by a piece missing from the soundtrack release. Bit of a shame it was only released as a download though, as I much prefer physical media.

  2. TDidz927 (Reply) on Tuesday 15 July, 2014 at 13:59

    Ghost, let me know if you make your compilation, I’d like make one too!

    • James Southall (Reply) on Tuesday 15 July, 2014 at 14:34

      Me too! Would be nice to know what you come up with.

  3. TDidz927 (Reply) on Tuesday 15 July, 2014 at 15:44

    That was my first time posting….sorry I wrote with broken English!