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Soundtrack Review

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When We Left Earth
The NASA Missions
Original Television Soundtrack


Composer: Richard Blair-Oliphant
Label: MovieScore Media
RRP: £13.99
Release Date: 27 December 2019

The latest entry into MovieScore Media’s Discovery Collection is Richard Blair-Oliphant’s Emmy-nominated orchestral score for the 2008 documentary series When We Left Earth: The NASA Missions. The six-part television event on Discovery Channel gave viewers a unique look at the Golden Age of space travel, including episodes dedicated to the Mercury and the Gemini program, the various Apollo missions, Skylab, the Hubble Space Telescope, International Space Station as well as the tragedies of the space shuttle Challenger and Columbia...

Richard Blair-Oliphant delivers a never ending stream of emotive themes across this 20 track (46 min, 08 sec) album. It's mainly composed of beautiful melancholic pieces. The album brought to mind several other composers works. I was reminded, from time to time of the music for the various Star Trek shows - most notably on tracks like 'Parachute'. In addition, 'Mission' reminded me of Jerry Goldsmith's score for First Blood (1982).

Talking about the score, Blair-Oliphant said: "It’s no accident that the main theme is called ’Heroes’. The risks that the first astronauts took were extraordinary - they were indeed heroes and deserved a heroic theme. But in addition to the astronauts’ jeopardy, the music also had to reflect the beauty and tranquility of space. Astronauts almost universally describe the ‘Overview Effect‘, the overwhelming and emotional experience of seeing the Earth for the first time as a tiny, fragile rock suspended in space. Three of tracks in the album have the word ‘home‘ in the title - and ultimately the score is predominantly about the Earth, our home."

This is an emotional score that will certainly get under your skin. It's an album you'll play to death now, and return to again and again in the future.


Darren Rea

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