Like Berman-Trek, nBSG has 99.9% "drone" for a score. Nothing stands out, nothing makes you sit up and take notice. "Minimalist" doesn't really do Bear's music justice...it's just irrelevant noise.
A lot of Bear McCreary's score can be described as minimalist. In fact, that's a pretty exact term for music such as that concluding "Pegasus" - it's a musical style, not an insult. Irrelevant noise, however, it's certainly not. Now, McCreary is actually fairly eclectic in his choice of musical styles, but for the sake of conveinence and in consideration of your arguments I'll address minimalism for the rest of this post (which is if nothing else a major constant in nuBSG's musical approach).
Obviously it does. Not only do I find it flat and uninspiring, but, as stated above, it completely fails to accomplish the primary mission of tv/cinema music: to support the visuals and dialoge by adding emotional texture to the material.
Minimialist composition in film is, as Glass himself noted regarding Koyaanisqatsi
, detached. It accompanies a work, but does not try to manipulate you into a certain emotional state. It's evocative rather than instructional. A whole 'nother approach, basically, but one that can be very stimulating. It's also nothing new, as there's been minimalist composition in film for decades (Mishima
, another Glass work, is one of my favourite film scores ever.)
Now I can understand why that isn't someone's cup of tea - minimalism is something I find people tend to either love or loathe, there's little middle ground - but it's far, far
from failing a principle purpose of film music. McCreary's just following a tradition of music you don't care for, which is fine.
So, what is the principal purpose of film music, if I had to define it? Rather blandly, to accompany a film. Preferably they should fit together rather well, and in BSG's case mission (largely) accomplished from what I've seen, though McCreary has mistepped occasionally.
Put it this way: put up the nG theme and have a random person listen to it. Then put up Phillips. More people I would bet are going to recognize Phillips over nG because it has resonance and an appropriate tone and is memorable.
Hey, no argument there. Stu Phillips' original theme is very, very hummable. McCreary's... is simply, well, not. But each match their respective series and their tones expertly.