Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Produced by Twentieth Century Fox
One cue available commercially as part of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer album
For links to mp3 sites, see the links page, and for fuller details on Beck's involvement with both Buffy and Angel, refer to the Buffyverse section. Unfortunately future releases of score-only Buffy music have been negated by Sony (see Save the Score for details), and Fandom.com, once home to Buffy information and mp3s is now closed
After several years of scoring for limited TV series and low-budget films, Beck was given the chance to score in alternate episodes of the second season of Buffy the Vamipre Slayer. A series still effectively finding its feet with its audience and backers, Buffy represented the opportunity Beck needed in order to impress. The horror genre, along with science fiction and fantasy (the latter progressively embraced by the series also) has always been a fertile genre in the film world, often allowing the composer a freer hand in terms of musical style, and increasing the number of instances of non-speech. But Buffy was (and still is) more than that, mixing in growing-up troubles with action set-pieces and Gone With The Wind-style romantic canvases.
Beck's music fitted like a glove, and by the time Season 3 started, with its increased budget and mass audience, he was already house-composer. This in itself was a hugely rewarding set-up, expanding his mastery of the "miniature" musical cue (to be discussed in-depth in the extanded featur(s)) to a long-term, slow-burning thematic plot device. From an early stage in Season 2, Beck begins to play fast an loose with the central Buffy-Angel forbidden fruit theme, with the "Close your eyes" love theme becoming popular enough to invade the pop album of 1999. More than this, though, and just as important was the sense of stylistic unity which a single (and single-minded) talent can bring to add to the strengths of a plot-arc project. His fight sequences may use different "instruments", harmonies, and rhythms, but back-to-back, they are all recognisably of the same identity, and it is identity (along with good pacing) which Buffy needed in order to survive the way it has done with its audience intact. This continuity was transferred to the first season of Angel which Beck worked on simultaneously with Buffy season 4.
With season 4 drawing to a close, and an exodus of some of its talent for various reasons, Beck made the push back into the world of films, but has been rewarded for his tenure with an episode in each suceeding season, the finale of season 5, and the musical episode of season 6. The latter has not been viewed by this author, but whatever may be said musically about the 100th episode, the inclusion of the composer who contributed most to the success of Buffy was a fitting touch in the culmination and encapsulation of 5 series.
Webmaster's note: the best place to find Beck's music for Buffy and Angel in its most effective setting is on DVD. UK region 2 releases are currently well ahead of US region 1, and costs for complete season box sets vary. So it is advisable to shop around.