Graham McCusker releases a demo, ‘His Dark Materials: Theme For Lyra’, as a cancer charity fundraiser.

As he track’s title suggests, the composer wrote music for the recent hit BBC series ‘His Dark Materials’, and the previously unreleased demo was originally intended for use in the hit adaptation of Philip Pullman’s novels broadcast last winter.

The piano piece – eventually unused in the final soundtrack – was unearthed by McCusker from his personal archive, with all proceeds from the release going to The Christie NHS Foundation Trust in Manchester.

The Glasgow-born composer, musician, performer and alumnus of the Royal Northern College of Music was enlisted to work as a composer and musical director on the ‘His Dark Materials’ series back in 2018.

McCusker conducted and directed over 200 people cast as ‘Gyptians’ to sing his works, including one-on-one coaching with BAFTA award-winning actress Anne Marie Duff, who plays central character Ma Costa, to bring the memorable ‘Gyptian Settling Song’ (heard in Episode 1: Lyra’s Jordan) to life.

However, ‘Theme for Lyra’ – the character Lyra Silvertongue, acted by Dafne Keen – went unused in the final cut.

“I wrote a small piano demo of a song I wanted them to use for Lyra’s character,” McCusker says, “as a theme for a time when Lyra is alone or in deep thought. When she has moments of feeling sad, unsure or scared of what the future holds.”

All proceeds from the track go to The Christie NHS Foundation Trust in Withington, Manchester. A former patient of the specialist cancer treatment hospital himself McCusker raised £2,500 for HaTS, a voluntary charity within The Christie Charitable Fund, by cycling the North Coast 500 in 7 days.

Although raised in Paisley the composer studied at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester, and while he regularly composes music for Oxford University Press and many other publishers, he was due to team up with Scottish Opera this spring. Previously McCusker’s vocal talents have seen him perform with Boy George’s Culture Club, Clean Bandit, as well as tour with Hans Zimmer.

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