Doctor Who: The Five Doctors – music by Peter Howell

It says a lot for the evolution, over time, of what listeners expect from a soundtrack purchase, when one considers that The Five Doctors – the 90-minute Doctor Who 20th anniversary special – once lent its name to an LP of “suites” from various 1980s Doctor Who stories, but didn’t merit its own full soundtrack release until 35 years after its 1983 premiere. But now that it’s here, was it worth the wait?

In the liner notes, composer Peter Howell himself says that he was firing on all creative cylinders in a way that he hadn’t before. The Five Doctors was a special production, not part of an ongoing season, so there was a bit of breathing room to come up with ideas. The Five Doctors score is one of the high water marks of 1980s Doctor Who soundtrack music, being possibly the first use of sampling, or at least the first use of sampling as a key part of the music. The unearthly, menacing exclamation point of the Cybermen’s percussive music cues is the slowed-down sound of a lid being pulled off of a metal can. The foreboding horn heard in the Death Zone on Gallifrey isn’t a brass musican instrument, but a sampled ship’s horn. And the Time Lord-centric story gets appropriately clock-like percussive elements, very much a first in Doctor Who.

Of course, none of that would really matter if Peter Howell wasn’t one of the BBC Radiophonic Workshop’s masters of memorable melodies. It really wasn’t until the Radiophonic Workshop came along that any of the show’s various resident composers had employed Ron Grainer’s theme tune as a leitmotif; even Dudley Simpson crafted his own theme for the Doctor that had virtually nothing to do with Grainer’s theme. But here, Howell leans hard on the show’s signature theme throughout the adventure, which really helps to point up the momentous nature of the story being told: the story doesn’t just involve the Doctor, it’s about the Doctor and the Time Lords. And it’s not just the motif itself, but the fact that it’s still – after 20 years – the BBC Radiophonic Workshop doing the honors, bringing all of the lovely analog tricks and reverb to the table in quoting that theme authentically. The Five Doctors was really the first Doctor Who music that even a non-fan could listen to and say, “That’s Doctor Who music, isn’t it?”

Much of the second half of the disc repeats the score, but with some sonic enhancements Howell added for a 1990s extended VHS reissue of the story, which restored some deleted scenes and added new effects, forcing Howell to rethink sections of the score to match the new edit. Bonus tracks include the “cliffhangers” composed for syndicated versions of The Five Doctors that broke the story up into a traditional four-parter, as well as some Radiophonic Workshop sound effects.

4 out of 4It all adds up to a long, long overdue package. I know that there was a fairly comprehensive suite of highlights from the score of The Five Doctors on CD and, before that, on LP going back to 1984, and I know that the score was available on DVD as an isolated audio track…but it really has been a long wait for a properly remastered release of the original, pre-special-edition score as I remember hearing it back in 1983 when The Five Doctors blew my mind by finally showing me all of the Doctors and companions that I’d only read about in Starlog. It’s nice to finally have it, and even with all of the widescreen orchestral grandeur that has become the sound of Doctor Who since the turn of the century, The Five Doctors remains one of the show’s all-time great scores.

Order this CD

  1. Doctor Who – Opening Theme (0:36)
  2. New Console (0:24)
  3. The Eye Of Orion (0:57)
  4. Cosmic Angst (1:18)
  5. Melting Icebergs (0:40)
  6. Great Balls Of Fire (1:02)
  7. My Other Selves (0:38)
  8. No Coordinates (0:26)
  9. Bus Stop (0:23)
  10. No Where, No Time (0:31)
  11. Dalek Alley and The Death Zone (3:00)
  12. Hand In The Wall (0:21)
  13. Who Are You? (1:04)
  14. The Dark Tower / My Best Enemy (1:24)
  15. The Game Of Rassilon (0:18)
  16. Cybermen I (0:22)
  17. Below (0:29)
  18. Cybermen II (0:58)
  19. The Castellan Accused / Cybermen III (0:34)
  20. Raston Robot (0:24)
  21. Not The Mind Probe (0:10)
  22. Where There’s A Wind, There’s A Way (0:43)
  23. Cybermen vs. Raston Robot (2:02)
  24. Above And Between (1:41)
  25. As Easy As Pi (0:23)
  26. Phantoms (1:41)
  27. The Tomb Of Rassilon (0:24)
  28. Killing You Once Was Never Enough (0:39)
  29. Oh, Borusa (1:21)
  30. Mindlock (1:12)
  31. Immortality (1:18)
  32. Doctor Who Closing Theme – The Five Doctors Edit (1:19)
  33. Death Zone Atmosphere (3:51)
  34. End of Episode 1 (Sarah Falls) (0:11)
  35. End of Episode 2 (Cybermen III variation) (0:13)
  36. End of Episode 3 (Nothing to Fear) (0:09)
  37. The Five Doctors Special Edition: Prologue (Premix) (1:22)

    Special Edition

  38. Doctor Who – Opening Theme (0:35)
  39. Prologue (1:17)
  40. The Eye Of Orion / Cosmic Angst (2:22)
  41. Melting Icebergs (0:56)
  42. Great Balls Of Fire (0:56)
  43. My Other Selves (0:35)
  44. Nothing Can Go Wrong (0:35)
  45. Bus Stop (0:22)
  46. No Where, No Time (0:36)
  47. Enter Borusa (0:28)
  48. Enter The Master (0:14)
  49. Dalek Alley and The Death Zone (3:06)
  50. Hand In The Wall (0:20)
  51. Recall Signal (0:34)
  52. Who Are You? / Tell Me All About It (0:49)
  53. Thunderbolts (0:33)
  54. The Dark Tower (0:25)
  55. My Best Enemy (1:11)
  56. The Game Of Rassilon (0:17)
  57. Cybermen I (0:22)
  58. Below (0:43)
  59. Cybermen II (1:12)
  60. The Castellan Accused / Cybermen III (0:35)
  61. Raston Robot (0:24)
  62. Not The Mind Probe (0:32)
  63. Where There’s A Wind, There’s A Way (0:31)
  64. Cybermen vs. Raston Robot (2:04)
  65. Above And Between (1:41)
  66. The Fortress Of The Time Lords (1:04)
  67. As Easy As Pi (0:22)
  68. I Hope You’ve Got Your Sums Right / Phantoms (2:29)
  69. The Tomb Of Rassilon (0:29)
  70. Killing You Once Was Never Enough (1:26)
  71. Oh, Borusa (1:21)
  72. Mindlock (1:11)
  73. Immortality (1:17)
  74. Doctor Who Closing Theme – The Five Doctors Edit (1:16)
  75. The Eye Of Orion Atmosphere (3:07)
  76. Time Scoop (0:24)
  77. Transmat Operates (0:09)
  78. Rassilon Background (3:49)
  79. Borusa Ring Sequence (0:37)
  80. The Five Doctors Titles Zap (0:10)

Released by: Silva Screen
Release date: September 14, 2018
Total running time: 77:56

Doctor Who: The Sun Makers – music by Dudley Simpson

This is a Doctor Who soundtrack release I never expected to be holding in my hands or hearing. Composer Dudley Simpson was as close as classic Doctor Who had to the kind of singular composer-in-residence that seems to be the norm for the modern series; other composers were occasionally employed at the whim of individual directors, but from 1964 through 1979, Dudley Simpson was Doctor Who’s default musical “setting”, composing for and conducting a small ensemble occasionally augmented with synthesizers by the BBC Radiophonic Workshop. But despite his music gracing most of the series across that fifteen-year span, most of the original session tapes of Simpson’s Doctor Who music have been lost. The only remaining specimens, in fact, can be traced to the Radiophonic Workshop – if they added their wobbly analog synths to Simpson’s music, a copy of that was retained in their archives. And that’s where the score from The Sun Makers, a 1977 Tom Baker four-part story, comes in – it’s one of only two Simpson scores that still exist in their entirety, both of them thanks to the Workshop’s involvement. (The other, still unreleased, is 1971’s The Mind Of Evil, a Jon Pertwee adventure that was the second-ever appearance of Roger Delgado as the Master, and as such heavily feature’s Simpson’s sinister theme for that character.) To have a complete Simpson score is a gift; for that score to hail from a fondly-remembered story featuring the fourth Doctor, Leela, and K-9 toppling a regime embracing capitalism-to-the-point-of-ridiculousness is just gravy.

Tracks like “Mahogany”, which starts out with a somewhat plaintive bassoon before bringing the rest of the ensemble in to create a rich, warm harmony, exemplify what Simpson was best at. The same goes for “One Thousand Metres” and its interesting keyboard arpeggios floating over the acoustic instruments. Let’s be clear – a lot of people probably wouldn’t have chosen The Sun Makers to be one of the only complete surviving examples of Simpson’s work; they probably would’ve chosen City Of Death or Genesis Of The Daleks or a more “obvious” entry in Simpson’s canon, but The Sun Makers didn’t exactly burn itself into everyone’s memory the way those stories did. That’s actually what makes it a canny choice for a release: it’s a bit of a surprise because you probably don’t remember the score that well.

“Six Suns”, “The Others”, and “K-9, Bite!” remind me a lot of Blake’s 7, of which nearly every episode was also scored by Simpson. (The Sun Makers has a Blake’s 7 connection too – it’s where director Pennant Roberts met actor Michael Keating, giving Keating a hearty recommendation for the role of Vila.) “Subway 13” is a bit more menacing, and, at less than a minute in length, it’s a reminder some Doctor Who stories lent themselves to lengthier musical travelogues, and The Sun Makers wasn’t one of those stories. It’s comprised of shorter, punchier vignettes without the opportunity for the kind of extended musical interludes that, say, City Of Death afforded the composer. In that regard, The Sun Makers is absolutely a straight-down-the-line typical bit of Doctor Who scoring from the ’70s.

A word about the sound quality: The Sun Makers was remastered extensively by Mark Ayres, himself a Doctor Who composer of a later era (but also a die-hard Dudley Simpson fan, as he himself admitted to when he was interviewed for this site quite a few years back). Ayres is also behind the audio remastering of Doctor Who’s DVD and Blu-Ray releases, so it goes without saying 4 out of 4that this entire disc is as crisply, lovingly listenable as if the tape had just been recorded last week.

As a whole listening experience, The Sun Makers is a time capsule that may find an audience only among completist collectors, and the older generation of Doctor Who fans who were there for this story the first time around (he said, addressing the mirror). It may not appeal to everyone. But it’s a lovely little slice of the past where, rather than striving to be epic or futuristic, the sound of Doctor Who was quietly, politely going for baroque.

Order this CD

  1. Doctor Who Opening Title Theme (0:46)
  2. Death And Taxes (0:28)
  3. Mahogany (0:51)
  4. One Thousand Metres (2:12)
  5. Six Suns (1:53)
  6. The Others (1:29)
  7. Subway 13 (0:36)
  8. Subway 13 (continued) (1:07)
  9. A Heart As Big As Your Mouth (0:30)
  10. A Little Hop (0:23)
  11. Jelly Babies (0:31)
  12. Something In The Air (0:24)
  13. K-9, Bite! (0:54)
  14. Humbug (1:25)
  15. The P45 Return Route (1:08)
  16. The P45 Return Route (reprise) (0:55)
  17. Morton’s Fork (1:09)
  18. I’ve Heard That One, Too (1:05)
  19. The Rebellion Begins (0:46)
  20. Static Loop (3:20)
  21. The Steaming (1:18)
  22. The Steaming (continued) (1:10)
  23. Gentlemen, Good Luck (0:40)
  24. Nobody Works Today (2:11)
  25. The Gatherer Excised (0:43)
  26. Doctor Who Closing Title Theme (0:55)

Released by: Silva Screen Records
Release date: May 8, 2020
Total running time: 28:49

Jodorowsky’s Dune – music by Kurt Stenzel

A unique documentary about a movie that almost, but didn’t, get made, the musical treatment for Jodorowsky’s Dune is a novel one: score the documentary with the music that the unmade movie should’ve gotten. Chronicling, as it does, an abortive attempt to bring Frank Herbert’s genre-redefining novel to the big screen in the 1970s, Jodorowsky’s Dune is graced with a fittingly ’70s-style score awash with analog synths (or very good approximations of them).

Think of early Tangerine Dream (composer Kurt Stenzel’s auditory reference point), or the all-synth, almost-abstract score of Enter The Dragon, or the music of Jon Pertwee-era Doctor Who: that sound in your head is the sound of the Arrakis that was never meant to be. It’s the sound of a Dune that would’ve starred the likes of Salvador Dali, Orson Welles and Mick Jagger, rather than Kyle MacLachlan and Sting. The music is authentically trippy – as Alejandro Jodorowsky’s vision for Herbert’s epic likely would’ve been – and anyone born in the ’70s or steeped in ’70s genre cinema will likely find the wobbly analog synth sounds are a comforting old friend.

On a few tracks, there is dialogue from the documentary itself, and depending on my mood I can come down on either the “no, just let me hear the music, please” or the “oh, that’s kinda neat and it helps set the tone” side of the fence. It’s only on a few tracks. Stenzel sequences the album as a four-sided double LP, staying true to the medium that would’ve been available to a soundtrack album from the unmade movie. Tracks blend together as ethereal suites and reach an end point whereupon, in some alternate universe where Jodorowsky beat David Lynch to the punch, someone presumably turns the record over.

Alejandro Jodorowsky’s mid-1970s attempt to change how sci-fi reached the big screen never happened, and Dune languished in Hollywood turnaround hell while a little movie about the last of the Jedi Knights became the film that changed the entire playbook in 1977. That movie, of course, redirected movie music back onto a 4 out of 4European-inspired orchestral course, almost exactly 180 degrees away from the music Stenzel imagines here (and 180 degrees away from Jodorowsky’s pie-in-the-sky dream of having post-Syd-Barrett-era Pink Floyd score his vision of Dune). But Kurt Stenzel’s realization of the course on which movie sci-fi soundtracks could have continued is an incredible, atmospheric listen.

Order this CD

  1. Coming of a God (5:27)
  2. Greatest Movie Never Made (1:01)
  3. Parallel World (1:41)
  4. Parallel World (outro) (1:03)
  5. Leap of Faith (0:43)
  6. Time and Space (2:04)
  7. Optical World (2:55)
  8. Nebula (1:25)
  9. Invitation (1:02)
  10. Point of View (2:36)
  11. Moebius (4:48)
  12. Arrakis (1:58)
  13. Millions of Stars (0:21)
  14. Into the Galaxy (1:26)
  15. O’Bannon Meets Jodo (1:18)
  16. Finding the Others (0:57)
  17. Spiritual Warriors (1:36)
  18. Conception of Paul (2:01)
  19. Ships With Souls (1:51)
  20. The Pirate Spaceship (5:23)
  21. Rescue From a Sandworm (2:36)
  22. Mad Emperor (0:23)
  23. Burning Giraffes (1:42)
  24. Baron Harkonnen (0:33)
  25. Giger’s Theme (1:06)
  26. Deepest Darkness of the Soul (1:15)
  27. Feyd Rautha (4:17)
  28. Total Extermination (2:16)
  29. I Am Dune (6:00)
  30. Hollywood (2:22)
  31. Fingerprints (4:16)
  32. Open the Mind (3:38)
  33. Try (2:30)

Released by: Cinewax
Release date: November 13, 2015
Total running time: 75:31

Doctor Who: Series 8 – music by Murray Gold

Though Matt Smith’s first season seemed to take a momentary sidestep into sounds inspired by Doctor Who’s radiophonic, synth-heavy past, the musical paradigm for the new Doctor Who series’ first decade has always been John Williams: big, unapologetically brassy action music, widescreen action cues, and heavy choral doom when the occasion demands.

Peter Capaldi’s first season, however, seems to mark a major turn left (sorry, had to) for new Doctor Who’s musical style: the paradigm has shifted from Williams to a Hans Zimmer-inspired sound, more reliant on synths and urgent low cello ostinatos. There are still brassy action scenes, but they’re brassy in a different way than before. Several cues seem to echo Doctor Who’s 1980s sound, including the new theme tune arrangement (included here in a full-length version).

A suite of themes and variations of the musical signature of the new Doctor proves to be more introspective than the popular, in-your-face bombast of “I Am The Doctor” (a running theme throughout Matt Smith’s tenure). Inexplicably missing is Foxes’ unexpectedly catchy big band cover of Queen’s “Don’t Stop Me Now” – a musical highlight of the season that could have served as a single to 3 out of 4raise this collection’s visibility. (Only an instrumental version is available…and even then, only as a bonus track on the download version, not on CD.)

The first two CDs cover the entirety of Capaldi’s freshman year in the TARDIS, while the third presents virtually the complete score of his first Christmas special, Last Christmas.

Order this CD

    Disc One

  1. Doctor Who Theme (01:17)
  2. A Good Man (Tweleve’s Theme) (07:34)
  3. Something It Ate (02:40)
  4. Concussed (03:28)
  5. It’s Still Him (02:00)
  6. Pudding Brains (05:27)
  7. Breath (04:45)
  8. Hello Hello (03:17)
  9. Drink First (02:02)
  10. Aristotle We Have Been Hit (01:00)
  11. We’re Still Going To Kill You (03:56)
  12. Tell Me, Am I A Good Man? (04:04)
  13. Blue Rescue One (01:38)
  14. What Difference A Good Dalek (03:32)
  15. The Truth About The Daleks (02:08)
  16. You Are A Good Dalek (01:49)
  17. Old Fashioned Hero (02:16)
  18. This Is My Spoon (02:07)
  19. Robert, Earl of Loxley (02:00)
  20. The Legend of Robin Hood (02:18)
  21. Robin of Sherwood (03:15)
  22. The Golden Arrow (01:37)
  23. Listen (02:25)
  24. Rupert Pink (03:57)
  25. Fear (02:47)
    Disc Two

  1. The Architect (01:28)
  2. Rob The Bank (00:59)
  3. Account Closed (02:09)
  4. Open Up (02:07)
  5. The Caretaker (05:16)
  6. Missy’s Theme (01:34)
  7. Hello Earth, We Have A Terrible Decision To Make (00:54)
  8. Are You Going To Shoot Me? (01:57)
  9. When I Say Run (01:46)
  10. They’ve Been Here The Whole Time (02:48)
  11. That Is The Moon (02:02)
  12. NASA Is That Way (01:00)
  13. Start The Clock (01:33)
  14. There’s That Smile (02:24)
  15. The Sarcophagus Opens (03:59)
  16. The Artefact (02:05)
  17. Study Our Own Demise (02:13)
  18. Not Knowing (03:01)
  19. Siege Mode (01:27)
  20. In The Woods (02:22)
  21. We Weren’t Asleep That Long (01:03)
  22. The Song of Danny and Clara (02:41)
  23. Forgetting (01:46)
  24. Throw Away The Key (04:15)
  25. Browsing (02:23)
  26. Missy Theme Extended (02:06)
  27. Heaven (01:30)
  28. They Walk Among Us (02:21)
  29. There is No Clara Oswald (01:00)
  30. Missy And Her Boys (01:18)
  31. Freefall (01:41)
  32. Need To Know (05:00)
  33. Missy’s Gift (02:04)
  34. (The Majestic Tale of) An Idiot With Box (02:22)
    Disc Three: Last Christmas

  1. Perfectly Ordinary Roof People (04:21)
  2. Unsealing The Infirmary (02:47)
  3. Ghosts (01:53)
  4. What Seems To Be The Problem (01:08)
  5. We Don’t Know What’s Real (02:34)
  6. Thinking About It (01:16)
  7. Clara’s Dream Christmas (03:57)
  8. The Doctor’s Dream Christmas (05:33)
  9. Dreams Within Dreams (04:51)
  10. Believe In Santa (01:31)
  11. Sleigh Ride (02:48)
  12. Reunion (03:12)
  13. Every Christmas Is Last Christmas (03:49)

Released by: Silva Screen Records
Release date: May 26, 2015
Disc one total running time: 1:12:54
Disc two total running time: 1:14:01
Disc three total running time: 39:27

Doctor Who: The Rapture – music by Jim Mortimore

Doctor Who: The RaptureIn 2002, Big Finish Productions released The Rapture, a Doctor Who audio play which had the distinction of being the first professionally-published work by one Joe Lidster (who went on to do more for Big Finish before being snatched up by the BBC itself), and of being one of the most controversial things the company had produced up to that point. Plucking the seventh Doctor and Ace out of tea time TV and dropping them into a storyline at an all-week rave complete with sex and drugs was too much for some fans’ tender sensibilities. And The Rapture had some awesome music – real club music, not some soundtrack-composer-for-hire’s second-hand impression of real EDM. Composer Jim Mortimore, in addition to having written Doctor Who novels and audio stories in the past, had also enjoyed a second career, playing live music at raves through much of the 1990s. To say that The Rapture‘s music is merely authentic is probably underselling it. It’s the real deal.

In 2012, via Bandcamp, Mortimore released three CDs’ worth of music from an audio story (whose narrative running time was only enough to take up two CDs). Drawing from his ’90s recordings as well as concocting an entire CD worth of new music, and bringing collaborators Jane Elphinstone and Simon Robinson on board, Mortimore presented Big Finish with a series of pieces that would be excerpted as needed for The Rapture, with some music heard only briefly in the background mix at the story’s titular nightclub and with other pieces – the specially composed ones – more prominently placed in the foreground. A few Rapture tracks had previously been presented on a Big Finish soundtrack CD in the past, but were savagely edited down to two and three minute running lengths: most of the tracks in their original form run close to eight minutes long, and are better for it, with the melodies developing a bit more naturally. Tracks such as “Over Me” show much deeper layers and arrangements than the edited-down versions hinted at.

The “A Side” covers all of the music composed expressly for The Rapture, while the “B Side” tracks are the full-length tracks Mortimore presented from his ’90s work for inclusion in the background of several scenes. (Again, the average length is about eight minutes; most of the excerpts of these pieces in the finished audio play could be measured in seconds or maybe as many as a couple of minutes.) The “E Side” consists of downtempo tracks, one of them quite lengthy; whether the “E” is for “epic”, “ecstasy”, or “etheral” is up for you to decide.

4 out of 4Many times over the years I’ve dragged out that Big Finish soundtrack and its woefully truncated soundtrack for The Rapture because it’s ridiculously good music by which to write. Color me “E” for “elated” that the full tracks – and more of them – are now available. And gloriously, “Doctored Who” gives us the full-length rave remix of Delia Derbyshire’s Doctor Who theme. Whether or not the story of The Rapture is worth the listening time is something that’s still hotly debated in Doctor Who fan circles, but its soundtrack is undoubtedly worth the listening time for audiences far beyond Doctor Who fandom.

Order

    “Side A”

  1. Over Me (7:02)
  2. On The Beach (6:01)
  3. Rebirth (7:46)
  4. Brook Of Eden (8:07)
  5. Freestyle (6:34)
  6. Sorted (6:31)
  7. Jude’s Law (9:09)
  8. Pink Pulloff (4:52)
  9. Music Of The Spheres (6:10)
  10. Gloves Off (3:40)
  11. Doctored Who (2:10)
  12. “Side B”

  13. Kanhra (8:18)
  14. Udu (8:08)
  15. Uracas (8:16)
  16. Xanthulu (7:17)
  17. Mahser Dagi (8:07)
  18. “Side E”

  19. Sven’s Wrath (3:39)
  20. Radio Beach (5:32)
  21. Ice Floes At Twilight (35:20)
  22. Phases Of The Moon (3:58)

Released by: Jim Mortimore via BandCamp
Release date: October 28, 2012
Total running time: 2:36:37

Doctor Who: Day Of The Doctor / Time Of The Doctor

So it turns out I owe Murray Gold an apology.

As I watched Day Of The Doctor for the first time, I was mildly annoyed that its score seemed to be a cut-and-paste of “greatest hits” of themes from the modern series dating back to 2005. Not new versions of those themes, mind you, but the same recordings we’d been hearing for years now. It seemed like an uninspired choice, but as it was already known that the BBC had asked for an episode 30 minutes longer than the usual 45-minute shows, in 3-D, with big-name guest stars, without increasing the budget much beyond that of the typical 45-minute episode, it seemed likely that the decision had been made to edit together a score from the music of past episodes. After all, what’s a decadal Doctor Who anniversary special if it’s not a kiss to the past?

As it turns out, the truth is even sadder than that: Day Of The Doctor did have a brand-new score custom-made for its requirements, and a dandy one at that. In various interviews, Gold has hinted that the heavily-promoted special had more cooks in the kitchen than usual, resulting in Hollywood-style second-guessing of creative decisions that rarely occurs with the series’ weekly episodes. Reading between the lines, the answer is simple: some BBC suits, freaked out by a fantastic original score which not only brought back numerous musical themes but paid homage to the show’s long history by incorporating various vintage synthesizer sounds into the orchestral mix, insisted that Day Of The Doctor should largely be “tracked” with existing music, not unlike the original Star Trek. The result is a soundtrack which was either buried in the sound mix or, in some instances, not used at all.

Some of the most eye-opening fun you can have with the Day Of The Doctor half of this 2-CD set is to cue up the DVD to key scenes, turn your TV down, and let the music be heard as originally intended. “He Was There”, which takes us from outside the National Gallery into the three-dimensional painting of the Time War, is a knockout cue that works outstandingly well; the rising howl as we zoom through the painting until we settle on the War Doctor is hair-raising stuff. On TV, this material was dropped in favor of the choral Dalek music from The Stolen Earth, but in the original unused cue, Gold holds off on quoting that theme until the Daleks show up in person. His opening volley, meant to accompany Clara’s motorcycle ride into the TARDIS control room, is an electro dance piece omitted in its entirety. A great many of his more interesting, “radiophonic” sounding pieces were either savagely dialed down in the sound mix or covered/replaced with “whooshy” sound effects to emphasize the show’s all-important (for one night only before the BBC abandoned the technology) 3-D. Even the final scene – all the Doctors dreaming of home – was scored differently, building up to a triumphant flourish that quotes the Doctor Who theme itself as a heroic fanfare: all left on the cutting room floor.

The second disc contains the music from The Time Of The Doctor, and in this case, at least, what you hear is what was heard in the show itself – unless it’s just not on the album, such as the criminal omission of the haunting choral piece heard as Clara bellies up to the crack-in-the-wall that has follow the eleventh Doctor through his entire tenure, appealing to the Time Lords to help the Doctor survive. How that didn’t make the album, I’ll never know.

Highlights of Smith’s final episode as the Doctor include “The Crack” and the bite-sized but propulsive “Rhapsody Of War”. Even some of the more obscure cues, like the John-Williams-esque morsel “Papal Mainframe”, are fun. But the show is stolen by the solid wall of music that takes up the last 25% of the show; “Never Tell Me The Rules” is the accompaniment of modern Doctor Who’s extension of the “explosive regeneration” to ridiculous extremes, while “Trenzalore / The Long Song / I Am Information” – its title giving away that it’s a mashup of themes already established in the previous season of the show – accompanies Smith’s record-settingly long send-off speech. “Hello Twelve”, naturally, rings in the Doctor’s new face in the form of Peter Capaldi.

4 out of 4So it turns out I owe Murray Gold an apology. Here I thought that, out of budgetary necessity, he’d had to phone in one of the most pivotal installments in the entire series, but whether it’s the seventh Doctor’s straw hat, the eleventh’s Fez, or the first Doctor’s shapeless lump of an astrakhan hat, I hereby eat that hat – Murray Gold did his best to honor the show’s sonic history, only to be let down by the marketing department. At least this 2-CD set lets us hear it all in its original intended glory.

Order this CDDisc 1: The Day of the Doctor

  1. I.M Foreman (1:10)
  2. Will There Be Cocktails? (0:40)
  3. It’s Him (The Majestic Tale) (2:04)
  4. He Was There (4:22)
  5. No More (1:05)
  6. The War Room (1:42)
  7. Footprints In The Sand (1:42)
  8. Who Are You (4:37)
  9. England 1562 (1:02)
  10. Nice Horse (1:43)
  11. The Fez And The Portal (2:44)
  12. Two Doctors (1:01)
  13. Three Doctors (1:56)
  14. Somewhere To Hide (1:50)
  15. Rescue The Doctor (1:08)
  16. 2.47 Billion (4:28)
  17. Zygon In The Painting (1:34)
  18. Man And Wife (1:32)
  19. We Don’t Need To Land (2:27)
  20. We Are The Doctors (0:49)
  21. The Moment Has Come (3:06)
  22. This Time There’s Three Of Us (The Majestic Tale) (7:03)
  23. Song For Four/Home (3:41)

Disc 2: Time Of The Doctor

  1. The Message (1:15)
  2. Handles (2:07)
  3. The Dance Of The Naked Doctor (2:12)
  4. You Saved It (0:56)
  5. Papal Mainframe (0:44)
  6. Tasha Lemm (1:06)
  7. Bedroom Talk (1:48)
  8. The Mission (0:54)
  9. Christmas (2:26)
  10. The Crack (5:24)
  11. Rhapsody Of War (0:52)
  12. Back To Christmas (3:09)
  13. Snow Over Trenzalore (Song For Four) (2:45)
  14. Beginning Of The End (2:46)
  15. This Is How It Ends (3:06)
  16. Never Tell Me The Rules (3:11)
  17. Trenzalore/The Long Song/I Am Information (Reprise) (4:03)
  18. Hello Twelve (0:39)

Released by: Silva Screen Records
Release date: November 24, 2014
Disc one total running time: 53:26
Disc two total running time: 39:23

Doctor Who: The Krotons

Doctor Who: The KrotonsA curiosity in Silva Screen’s sparse handful of classic series single-CD music releases early in 2013, this CD – weighing in at barely half an hour – is easily the most obscure entry, and the one that met with the most hoots of derision from fandom. Why The Krotons? Why not a full score for The Five Doctors or Logopolis or something more… pivotal? Why not release the best of the BBC’s Doctor Who Proms concerts on CD?

The answer is actually just this side of the obvious: the existing musical material from the 1970s could fill a teacup (and, between a couple of past releases from the BBC’s now-extinct in-house music label, almost all of it is out there already). So, instead of individual CDs showcasing Doctor Who’s sound in the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s, we get an example of the BBC Radiophonic Workshop’s musical style (the Caves Of Androzani CD), an example of the freelance composers who supplanted the Radiophonic Workshop in the show’s waning years (the re-release of Ghost Light), and an example of the Radiophonic Workshop at the height of its tape-manipulating powers in the ’60s (this one).

The Krotons is also a canny choice because it’s a rare example of a ’60s Doctor Who serial whose musical material survives intact, and is the product of a single composer’s “voice”. Radiophonic Workshop co-founder Brian Hodgson had a new experimental analog synthesizer to play wiith for The Krotons, and play with it he did, creating the story’s sparse but utterly alien music and its unearthly sound effects with the new synth and the time-tested methods of the Workshop.

Even if you’re a fan of early electronic music – say, Raymond Scott or John Baker or White Noise – you haven’t heard anything quite like this. It has rhythm and a strange sort of not-of-this-world tonality, but human ears trained in western musical traditions may not really register it as “music”. The rhythm and structure are there, but rather than traditional melody or harmony, there are strange, stacatto dronings that are right “out there” with Velvet Underground’s Metal Machine Music – the otherworldly sounds of something so unmusical by any traditional standard that it’s a challenge to stay with it long enough to discern the structure behind it.

While fans expecting more traditional musical underscore may find little to like here, especially if they’ve only been weaned on the grandiose sound of Murray Gold, what can be found here is a cross-section of the glue that held early Doctor Who together: the BBC Radiophonic Workshop’s utterly strange and yet appropriate sounds, married to the sometimes less-than-special effects concocted by the BBC’s in-house effects artists (and 3 out of 4occasional outside contractors who, nevertheless, had only a BBC budget within which to work). Back then, there was no surround sound or CGI to hold the show together – only offbeat scripts, usually better-than-decent performances, and unusual worlds which were just as often sold by sound as by sight. That tradition continued well into the 1970s, even after the BBC realized that its sci-fi output was now competing with the likes of Star Wars and Battlestar Galactica (the original, mind you), and it’s a big part of the appeal to many an older fan. Whether it registers as “musical” or not, The Krotons soundtrack is a nice example of the artistry and technical wizardry behind that appeal.

Order this CD

  1. Doctor Who (New Opening Theme, 1967) (0:55)
  2. The Learning Hall (2:43)
  3. Door Opens (0:39)
  4. Entry Into the Machine (1:36)
  5. TARDIS (New Landing) (0:21)
  6. Wasteland Atmosphere (1:26)
  7. Machine and City Theme (1:52)
  8. Machine Exterior (1:46)
  9. Panels Open (0:20)
  10. Dispersal Unit (0:43)
  11. Sting (0:22)
  12. Selris’ House (0:44)
  13. Machine Interior (1:19)
  14. Snake Bleeps Low (1:04)
  15. Silver Hose (The Snake) (0:48)
  16. Snake Bleeps High (0:33)
  17. Teaching Machine Hums (0:46)
  18. Forcefield (0:50)
  19. Burning Light (1:08)
  20. Birth of a Kroton (1:14)
  21. Kroton Theme (2:16)
  22. Kroton Dies (0:37)
  23. Link – Rising Hum (2:07)
  24. Kroton Dies (Alternative) (0:19)

Released by: Silva Screen
Release date: 2013
Total running time: 26:28