DR WHO-SERIES 4.

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Composer Murray Gold just gets better and better each time I hear his compositions, the first two Dr Who CD soundtracks were excellent and this addition to the Silva screen catalogue is no exception, in fact I would go as far as to say it is a more polished and accomplished sound that the composer has realised overall. The Compact disc begins with Gold’s arrangement of Ron Grainer’s iconic theme for Dr Who, Gold infusing an almost urgent, expectant and fearful energy into Grainer’s original composition that is the opening for each episode of the series, this familiar sounding theme paths the way for a rollercoaster ride of excitement, danger and high emotions and in this case some original and haunting musical cues. I don’t know what it is about this composers work on this series, but it just seems right, correct and quite perfect in almost every way! Now I sound like Mary Poppins! Track 2 is for the character portrayed by actress/comic Catherine Tate who just like Gold’s music fitted into the series like a glove, A NOBLE GIRL ABOUT TOWN has a cheeky sound to it, which is as hair brained in its style as the Donna Noble character is. Track 3, LIFE AMONG THE DISTANT STARS is a poignant and quite tender piece which was used to underline the character of Donnas Grandfather, who was an amateur stargazer. It is a heartrending cue, that begins with touching slow adagio like strings which accompany light use of piano until after a gradual build it eventually reaches an emotional climax where the composer utilises swelling strings bolstered by shimmering percussion enhanced by brass. Track 4 CORRIDORS AND FIRE ESCAPES, it is here we get our first real taste of Murray Gold in full swing and in action mode, this is a powerful and driving composition that accompanied the Dr and companion in various chases and escapes. Murray Gold’s notes in the CD refer to the music as breathless, I would add to that breathtaking, unrelenting and high octane. There is so much music on this CD it is a real fest for lovers of quality film and TV music, and we have to remember this is a TV score and not from a motion picture, not that nowadays this makes a difference, years ago I remember there was a certain amount of snobbery amongst collectors of film music regarding TV scores, I always thought that if the music was good did it really matter if it came from a movie a TV series or a stage play, if the score was good then hang it all buy it.
I would have to say that this is probably the strongest out of the three CDs that are so far available in the Dr Who series, all the selections on this disc are taken from series 4, which again is probably the most interesting in the series of four. The composers ability to produce mesmerising and enthralling compositions that match the action on screen and also stand alone as entertaining and captivating works is at times unbelievable, Gold jumps from hard hitting action cues to full blown lush compositions complete with heavenly choir and pulsating strings embellished with dazzling brass and also solo voice in places with consummate ease. There is no doubt that Murray Gold is a force to be reckoned with, and I am waiting with baited breath for his first large scale score for a major motion picture, surely this has to come very soon, to be honest listening to some of his upbeat action cues within the Dr Who scores he would not be out of place working on a Bond movie, his music has a sound and style to it which at times evokes John Barry’s more bombastic work for the 007 films, hard hitting exhilarating full on power scoring. Two particular stand out tracks on this CD are the mournful but melodic SONGS OF CAPTIVITY AND FREEDOM (track 6) which possesses a style akin more to Morricone, where the composer creates an attractive yet sad sounding tone poem utilising solo violin and male soprano Mark Chambers. Then there is the impressive and accomplished suite from THE VOYAGE OF THE DAMNED, which I know will be listened to over and over again, as it is an infectious and powerful collection of that episodes many themes condensed into an entertaining 11 minute suite. I cannot recommend this CD highly enough, if you do not purchase this you will be sorely disappointed.

DR.WHO-A CHRISTMAS CAROL.

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Since the musical reins for Dr Who have been held by composer Murray Gold, I think I am right in saying that there has not been a wrong note put to manuscript. With each episode or special the music does not improve because how can you improve on something that is practically perfect in every way, (sorry wrong movie). Seriously though, the musical scores for the adventures of the Doctor just seem to get better on each outing. This special from Christmas 2010, is in my ever so humble opinion Gold’s best yet, it is not only eloquent, exciting and gloriously haunting, but a work that further establishes the composer as one of the best in the business and hopefully soon he will score a major blockbuster and take his rightful position as an A lister film music composer. The Disc opens with an impressive almost Barry-esque cue entitled COME ALONG POND, getting events off to a high octane and fast paced start. I describe it as Barry-Esque because of the composers use of horns and other brass in this particular cue, the sound achieved here could easily be mistaken for something out of any of the BOND movies, it is rhythmic, bombastic, up front and highly entertaining, creating a real sense and atmosphere of daring do and danger. Driving strings support the brass throughout and percussion is also utilised to add depth and power to the proceedings. Track 2, HALFWAY OUT OF THE DARK, is more of a down beat cue, its sound is almost unworldly at the offset, the composer employing chorale work that is at times reminiscent of Danny Elfman’s technique in scores such as EDWARD SCISSOR HANDS and maybe touching upon Alan Silvestri’s style of composition in THE ABYSS. After a short introduction however, the composition segues into a slightly melancholy sounding arrangement, performed by strings and also choir who execute in unison the main thematic property of the composition supported and embellished by subtle use of percussion and strategically placed brass flourishes that peak and ebb giving the piece a rich and proud sound that is luxurious and haunting. This is a score of great presence, of wistful and articulate themes, a score that is pure action, unadulterated romanticism, and a score that that sums up perfectly the ethos of DR WHO. Mysterious and adventurous at every turn, as in Tracks, BIG COLOUR, THE PLANET IS OURS and EVERYTHING HAS TO END SOMETIME. Poignant and enriching too, both of which can be heard in cues such as, the heartrending and emotive I CANT SAVE HER, the pleasing ABIGAIL’S SONG (SILENCE IS ALL YOU KNOW) performed by Welsh born Diva Katherine Jenkins, and the understated but striking MEMORIES. Plus it is at times unpredictable and surprising as in, SHARK RIDE and CHRISTMAS DINNER. The composer has taken relatively simple themes and orchestrated and arranged them to elevate and convert them into compositions that are inspiring and memorable. This is a compact disc for discerning collectors of film and television music and also one for those who love Dr Who and of course those of us who just love good music. Dr Who without Murray Gold is now something that is unthinkable, as the composer is not just the musical voice of the time lord but his very soul… Recommended.