'Setting Sail' is an international television series that describes how seafaring shaped and spread civilisation. The series gives a refreshingly balanced viewpoint by not concentrating solely on western successes, but also includes the maritime achievements of the Chinese, Arab, Indian and Polynesian nations. The wide-ranging subject matter calls for a wide-ranging score, which Belgian composer, Guy Cuyvers, supplies with plenty of range to spare. Guy Cuyvers, a renowned classical guitarist, has already demonstrated a mastery of music for the sea with 'Into The Rising Sun' (1998) and two short films, Sea Fever (1995) and Sea Power. The score for 'Setting Sail' is symphonic in style, moving seamlessly around the world while maintaining a beautiful musical integrity that makes this a piece of music to relish.

The opening cue is a relatively low-key introduction that leads 'The Great Voyage', which has a wonderful majesty personified by a simple theme played in a spectacular combination of French horn and flute. This theme spills into 'Wendazako', but through a combination of woodwind and steady percussion, takes on a medieval persona. The composer switches easily through the settings without cliché musical phrase. 'Arabian Sunrise' places the listener in a dhow in a sparkling Gulf dawn, but retains a charming musical balance between European and Middle Eastern values. Similarly, the music moves to portray Eastern junks, galleons and clippers with the same confidence, not only travelling in space but also in time, using hints of period sounds. The music carries a reverence and respect similar to that which seamen quickly learn for the sea and their ships. The album contains a couple of cues that veer from the romantic orchestral approach like 'Aegean Light' which uses a mandolin sound to portray a Greek influence and 'Tumutae' which has the feel of a Polynesian sea shanty, both adding a special variety. However, it is the composer's mastery of the orchestra that shines through each cue.

The score for 'Setting Sail' is a measured balance between awe and magnificence, reflecting the breathtaking solemnity of the sea and the sadness and hope of those setting out long voyages. Guy Cuyvers has produced a very mature, almost classical score that digs deeper into the soul with each play. A highly recommended score.