Sunday, 29 December 2013

50th Anniversary Album

I recently bought this great compilation of Doctor Who music covering the 50 years of Doctor Who.  It makes for interesting listening and is good value at over 5 hours for under £15.  Tthere's a good spread of music and avoiding too much of the New Series material which covers the last of four CDs (though I bought the download).  The New Series material is widely available with most series having a dedicated soundtrack.  Various material for the older series have been released but many are now unavailable or just didn't have a commercial release, such as that for the TV Movie.  Also with this album you can enjoy a sample from across the years, rather than a whole CD of music from a single story, for which are there are few stories I would want the entire soundtrack.

Overall this album lets you take a journey through the styles and approaches to music in Doctor Who over 50 years, given a certain hiatus in the 90s.  There are lots of tracks from the very earliest stories such as The Daleks but these were enjoyable and very atmospheric; the petrified jungle, the Dalek city.  Some favourites like the Tomb of the Cybermen music are also very pleasing.  Pertwee's era seems a bit thin on the ground but there's the Master's theme and the strange music from the Sea Devils.  I especially enjoy the music by Geoffrey Burgeon for Zygons and Seeds of Doom, so was happy to have several pieces from these, and some of the nicer sounding music from Season 18 when they first started using synthesisers a lot.  It's interesting to see how the regular use of synthesisers started with quite melodic and varies pieces in stories like Keeper of Traken and Logopolis, in comparison to some of the ghastly work by Keff McCulloch during the McCoy era.  The piece for Battlefield is quite dreadful but its inclusion with the album allows the comparison, as a journey through the music of Doctor Who is works, even when the music is bad.

There are some omissions I would have liked to heard included if possible, the strange music from the Silurians to complement the Sea Devils, the theme from City of Death, and some more Dudley Simpson from things like Pyramids of Mars (which had previously had a full release but something from this would have been pleasing).  But you can't have it all.  There are a few odd things included like a minute of two of Chumbley noises from Galaxy 4, but when the total running time is over five hours there's no feeling of losing any time to a couple of quirky entries.

Overall, a top release for the 50th Anniversary, listening to isolated scores of Doctor Who stories is more rewarding than I imagined.