As announced last year, Silva Screen
are releasing an incredible limited edition Doctor Who
soundtrack boxset featuring eleven discs of music spanning every era of
The Doctor. This magnificent collection, due for release very soon,
comes presented in its very own TARDIS boxset and is a must for any fan
of Doctor Who
music through the years. Also included in the set are notes from classic Who
composer Mark Ayres and notes from various composers through the years.
When John Nathan-Turner offered me the chance to write music for Doctor Who
back in 1986, it was a double dream come true for me as a young composer. On the one hand I had the opportunity to work on a show I had loved since I was a small child. I grew up eagerly waiting for Saturday nights when Daleks and Cybermen would do battle with my Doctor - Patrick Troughton. I still have my childhood notebooks full of drawings and stories that I created around our heroic Time Lord. On the other hand, here was a chance to write music professionally, in a way that could be innovative and experimental. No other TV programme afforded the freedom to play around with electronic sound and synthesisers in the way that Doctor Who
The soundtrack of the show played such a vital part in creating the other-worldly atmospheres of the Doctor's journeys and I was given fantastic latitude to develop my own ideas for each episode. The nature of the show's format also meant that each story could be given an entirely different treatment, so I never felt that I was creatively stuck in a groove. Each episode was a new challenge, and every story provided the opportunity to create an entirely fresh soundscape.
Now, as we celebrate fifty years since the programme first hit our screens, it is a privilege for me to be able to present some of my music on this CD - perhaps to a whole new audience who weren't alive when the original series went out. For those viewers who only came to the programme since its revival in 2005, I hope this music gives a flavour of the legacy of the Doctor's past adventures, and a greater appreciation of the history of this amazing and unique television series.
Abridged album notes from Mark Ayres [Part 9]
Russell T Davies was a Doctor Who
fan in childhood, one of a number of enthusiasts who in the 2000s rose to positions of considerable power within the television industry. He found himself tasked with reinventing the programme for an entirely new generation of fans, and asked long-term collaborator Murray Gold to take on the music. With budgets still tight, the first series (starring Christopher Eccleston as the Ninth Doctor) was scored almost entirely using synthesisers and took full advantage of developments in technology since the 1980s.
For my scores, for instance, I used a state-of-the-art Roland S-550 sampler, which contained an amazing 1.5Mb memory (two floppy disks’s worth) to house my orchestra of strings, woodwind and percussion. In the mid-1990s I had a Roland S-760 with 32Mb, but by 2005 we had libraries containing many gigabytes of fantastically workable sounds, allowing for some highly-convincing orchestral scoring - for this is the direction in which Murray Gold was guided to underscore the far more emotionally-charged story-lines of this new incarnation.
Nevertheless, the synthesisers were often enhanced with live elements - soprano voice and cor anglais, plus the full Crouch End Festival Chorus bringing gravitas to the Daleks. (This was quite a change from my day - I requested a soprano soloist for The Curse of Fenric
but was firmly turned down on both budgetary and contractual grounds. My colleague Dominic Glynn waited until JN-T went on holiday before booking a guitarist for Survival
and was admonished soundly on the producer’s return!). Later, Murray re-recorded the major themes from season one with the orchestra, and it is those re-recordings that are featured here, the rest of Disc 9 being made up with “bonus” tracks.
TO BE CONTINUED
Thanks to Silva Screen