by Brian McVickar
From Silva Screen in the UK arrives this release of music composed by Murray Gold for the latest incarnation of the science fiction legend, Doctor Who. Thus far there have been two seasons aired and included are over 70 minutes worth of selections from the episode scores, highlighted by an update of the famous main theme, composed by Ron Grainer. Murray Gold is one of the most popular British composers working in current film and TV projects. Recent, well-received efforts of his across the pond include Alien Autopsy, Casanova, Shameless and Mischief Night and apparently Gold is now working with Yoda himself, director Frank Oz, on the upcoming film Death at a Funeral.
The album will be released in the UK next week, but not until next February in the United States. As such, we're delighted to be able to offer our worldwide visitors a chance to sample the new soundtrack, with an exclusive "First Listen" track-by-track analysis.
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1. Doctor Who Theme - TV Version (0:41)
As tied to the character himself and the various series produced by the BBC as Alexander Courage's theme for the original Star Trek, this brief version of the main Doctor Who theme is beefed up through driving snares and string ostinatos, but the melody still sings forth on the high pitched synth.
2. Westminster Bridge (2:08)
The tracks moves from an orchestral build into a surprising shift to quick tempo pop backbeat and confident guitar straight of the 60's spy style, buoyed by strong brass in a mold similar to David Arnold's Bond scores.
3. The Doctor's Theme (1:18)
The main Who theme receives variations through solo female vocal, in an aloof and smooth manner, but backed warmly by strings, piano and flute.
4. Cassandra's Waltz (3:08)
A theremin adds humor to this offbeat track, led by a memorable piano line, which seems culled from an early Danny Elfman project, such as Forbidden Zone, and then successfully adds in all sections of the orchestra in a grand stately fashion.
5. Slitheen (1:22)
Next up is a propulsive action track, including an ostinato in low strings while the guitar melody from "Westminster Bridge" is picked up sonorously by strings and brass.
6. Father's Day (1:55)
The track starts unassumingly with soft piano and harp set against atmospheric synths which soon shift to both undulating and rising lines.
7. Rose In Peril (1:40)
This features a return to fuller orchestral textures with tension growing in the strings, setting the tone for trouble.
8. Boom Town Suite (3:02)
The tone shifts again here, from a shuffling rhythm and charming tune to an understated yet slightly ominous section featuring solos for oboe and piano.
9. I'm Coming To Get You (1:12)
This track opens impressively with large, low brass chords, augmented by choir, then hurtles into a triumphant major mode.
10. Hologram (2:15)
The choir adds a wondrous effect to this next selection as well, as arpeggiated lines in piano and woodwinds underline them, all leading to a lovely interlude and finish.
11. Rose Defeats The Daleks (2:31)
This track develops the ethereal colors from its immediate predecessors, soon blossoming into a cascade of victorious crescendos.
12. Clockwork TARDIS (1:18)
Percolating woodwinds and pizzicato strings motivate this bouncy cue, with strings and horns playing in long line fashion.
13. Harriet Jones, Prime Minister (2:13)
A more serious, determined tone is set by mid-range strings, which churn and build in intensity.
14. Rose's Theme (2:14)
This is a lovely track in which the piano first dominates with the theme but its material is soon inherited by soaring strings and winds.
15. Song For Ten (3:29)
This, an upbeat number, is the first of two songs written and performed by Neil Hannon of The Divine Comedy, both of which will apparently be broadcast on the BBC in a key Christmas special.
16. The Face of Boe (1:16)
This cue features heavy piano notes echoing among atmospheric synths and low drones.
17. UNIT (1:44)
Driving action returns here though a low string ostinato, percussion, bass guitar, a recurring motif in nervous upper strings and accented subtly by electric guitar and muted horns.
18. Seeking The Doctor (0:44)
The solo female vocalist then reappears, this time accompanied by solo flute, in this dreamy, alluring variation on the Doctor Who theme.
19. Madame de Pompadour (3:44)
In the lengthiest selection this far on the album, a touching, bittersweet melody is displayed powerfully on piano, in an almost music-box like fashion, set against restrained tonalities in strings and choir. A brief recapitulation in chimes follows.
20. Tooth and Claw (3:50)
This is a raw and brutal action track, highlight by shouts from the male chorus, and moving from rattling percussion and heavy drums to large scale orchestral flourishes and then mixing the elements together in an engaging fashion, ending in a bracing crescendo.
21. The Lone Dalek (4:59)
This is another lengthy track for this album, which during its five minutes expresses rich orchestral and choral textures, earnest and evocative.
22. New Adventures (2:19)
This track opens with a burst of energy and overall Middle Eastern flair in the strings and percussion, advancing into some purposeful low brass to keep the intensity.
23. Finding Jackie (0:54)
The momentum continues but in a more measured pace for this abbreviated exercise for staccato strings.
24. Monster Bossa (1:37)
Low brass initially propel this track, leading to a flavorful dance, almost a tango, for clarinet, snares and pizzicato and bowed strings, interrupted by a brief explosion of action.
25. The Daleks (3:01)
Chanting choir bring about a menacing tone in this cue, though dark synth pulses intrude, and soon the orchestra gets pulled inexorably into the persistent, driving force and its resounding closure.
26. The Cyberman (4:32)
More dark textures are explored here, descending basses and cellos leading to a pumping ostinato, counter-pointed with arcing string lines and angry brass. Its second half accelerates the paces, adds a percussive beat to the ostinato while the other sections rise chromatically in urgency.
27. Doomsday (5:09)
A steady electric bass and single piano notes set up a plunking tempo to start here as the wordless female vocal joins in a lonely yet defiant fashion. Soon a pop backbeat and electric guitar augment the setting and the jam continues with a cello line atop it all. Quite a hypnotic mélange.
28. The Impossible Planet (3:11)
The album cools down here, with a dreamy, meditative track for cello anchored by pedal drone. Strings and flutes take up the latter half in a sympathetic, somewhat tragic manner.
29. Sycorax Encounter (1:13)
Strong brass introduce this track and amp up its threatening nature, heralding a dangerous confrontation.
30. Love Don't Roam (3:57)
The second of the contributions of Neil Hannon, still a toe-tapper, but with a fuller brass band backing and more swagger than "Song For Ten".
31. Doctor Who Theme - Album Version (2:36)
As the title indicates, this is an extended version of the interpretation heard in the opening track but expanded for this presentation. It develops into an almost heroic mode, with brassy accents to the synth and bold horn calls of the main theme, the same driving strings and percussion keeping the engine running.
The music included on this album was quite a treat, full of much variety. The orchestral portions could easily work into a major motion picture and not feel out of place, as there is a lot of scope and scale to them, while the action bits are focused and memorable. By including diverse elements such as the pop drums and guitar in "Doomsday", the female vocal, quirky instrumentation and lovely melodies ("Madame de Pompadour"), there are not many dead spots in the 70+ minute running time, making each track worth checking out.
Special thanks to Rick Clark and David Stoner at Silva Screen Records