Firefly soundtrackAnyone seeking to understand how much music contributes to the tone and identity of a show need look no further than Greg Edmonson’s scores for Firefly. It may be hard to find words that express “Western in space with a society that’s a fusion of America and China, but Edmonson’s music mixes those elements together into an organic whole.

The album is made up of relatively short tracks many of which appear to have been formed by connecting shorter cues from different episodes. The editing works surprisingly well, although I can’t help but wish that some of these pieces could have been reworked into extended suites of some kind. The opening minute of “Big Bar Fight” a wonderfully energetic bluegrass tune, and I would love to hear how Edmonson would have developed the theme over a longer period of time. The acoustic instrumentation is something I can’t recall being used so heavily in a science fiction show. Some of the most emotionally-stirring music on the album heavily features Edmonson and Alan Steinberger on piano. “The Funeral”, which I am reasonably sure was composed for the final episode produced for the series, is as heartbreaking as the title suggests. Cues from Out Of Gas, which featured an almost-abandoned Serenity, are just as strong. The latter half of the album’s closing track, “Dying Ship/Naked Mal”, shows off how the music contributed to the show’s occasional sense of whimsy.

The Eastern feel comes through very strongly in the darker, tension-building cues. I especially like how these elements are combined with traditional Western genre elements in the “Heart of Gold Montage” to give a unique feel to traditional waiting-for-the-big-shootout music. I admit that this sort of reaction raises the possibility that I’m treating the Eastern elements as a piece of alien-ness thrown onto familiar sounds, which rating: 3 out of 4has certain unpleasant implications for how I view a culture that, while foreign to me, is clearly human. But I think that what’s important is that the combination produces something that is unique and distinctive. Someone with more expertise in Eastern music could tell you how well Edmonson truly integrated these disparate influences, but to my ears it sounds good.

Order this CD

  1. Firefly – Main Title (written by Joss Whedon, performed by Sonny Rhodes) (0:51)
  2. Big Bar Fight (1:54)
  3. Heart of Gold Montage (2:09)
  4. Whitefall/Book (2:16)
  5. Early Takes Serenity (2:34)
  6. The Funeral (2:33)
  7. River’s Perception/Saffron (2:14)
  8. Mal Fights Niska/Back Home (1:52)
  9. River Tricks Early (3:28)
  10. River Understands Simon (2:03)
  11. Leaving/Caper/Spaceball (2:37)
  12. River’s Afriad/Niska/Torture (3:19)
  13. In My Bunk/Jayne’s Statue/Boom (2:26)
  14. Inara’s Suite (3:27)
  15. Out of Gas/Empty Derelict (1:48)
  16. Book’s Hair/Ready for Battle (1:57)
  17. Tears/River’s Eyes (1:56)
  18. Cows/New Dress/My Crew (2:10)
  19. Boarding the Serenity/Derelict (2:00)
  20. Burgess Kills/Captain & Ship (comp. by G. Edmonson & Alan Steinberger) (3:24)
  21. Saved/Isn’t Home/Reavers (2:53)
  22. Reavers Chase Serenity (3:20)
  23. River’s Dance (1:48)
  24. Inside the Tam House (composed by G. Edmonson & Alan Steinberger) (2:19)
  25. Dying Ship/Naked Mal (2:10)

Released by: Varese Sarabande
Release date: 2005
Total running time: 60:28