Doctor Who: Series 4 – music by Murray Gold

It just goes to follow that, as I liked season 4 of the new Doctor Who better than season 3, I hold its soundtrack album in a similar regard. In terms of both story and soundtrack, the new Who’s fourth season is everything I wanted – but didn’t get – from the third season, and composer-in-residence Murray Gold delivered music to match the more effective storytelling.

Most of the season’s highlights are represented here, with a wealth of music from Voyage Of The Damned, Silence In The Library / Forest Of The Dead, Turn Left, The Stolen Earth / Journey’s End, and even slightly less obvious gems like Midnight. Voyage is represented by a ten-minute suite of highlights from that expanded, nearly-movie-length Christmas special, while there’s no shortage of music from the season’s two-parters – with one disappointing exception. The Sontaran Stratagem and The Poison Sky sported some suspenseful, brassy music to accompany the attempted invasion by the warlike spuds, only one piece of which – a rehash of the first soundtrack volume’s UNIT theme – shows up here. As fearsome as this two-parter made the Sontarans out to be, their music is notable by its absence here.

Fan favorites such as the Ood songs from Planet Of The Ood (reprised in the climactic moments of Journey’s End), the reverse-echoed rendition of the Doctor’s theme from Turn Left, and even the rapid-fire techno-action piece “Hanging On The Tablaphone” (which, aside from being a play on a Blondie song title, underscored frantic preparations in Torchwood during the finale) can be found here. My favorite surprise is the brutal music from Midnight, truly scary in its intensity (and apparently the composer’s homage to Jerry Goldsmith’s music from Planet Of The Apes). It’s an exhausting listen, even with its just-over-three-minute running time, and really makes you feel like you’ve been beaten up by the end of it. It’s interesting to note that some of the Midnight music – whose howling, descending trombones call to mind Michael Giacchino’s music from Lost – also shows up in the “Davros” track.

4 out of 4The real question now is: will Murray Gold stay? Several major behind-the-scenes figures are following departing showrunner Russell T. Davies out the door after what has almost certainly been an exhausting four years, and even David Tennant is going to bow out in the last of the 2009 special episodes (airing in place of a full season). Having collaborated on such projects as Second Coming, Torchwood and Queer As Folk with Davies, Murray Gold is definitely a Davies loyalist. It remains to be seen if he’ll follow his boss out the door, though – if I’d been asked a season ago, I would’ve said that it was perhaps time for a chance in the show’s creative and musical directions. But season four was so engrossing that I’d like to see Gold stick around long enough to score some Steven Moffat episodes with the 11th Doctor – and yet at the same time, I’ll admit that I could do with fewer appearances of the “orchestra plus a rock drummer” sound. Time, as always, will tell.

Order this CD

  1. Doctor Who Season Four Opening Credits (0:46)
  2. A Noble Girl About Town (2:14)
  3. Life Among the Distant Stars (2:30)
  4. Corridors And Fire Escapes (1:12)
  5. The Sybilline Sisterhood (1:53)
  6. Songs Of Captivity And Freedom (4:03)
  7. UNIT Rocks (1:11)
  8. The Doctor’s Daughter (1:38)
  9. The Source (3:21)
  10. The Unicorn And The Wasp (3:11)
  11. The Doctor’s Theme Season Four (2:47)
  12. Voyage Of The Damned Suite (10:21)
  13. The Girl With No Name (2:45)
  14. The Song Of Song (2:14)
  15. All In The Mind (1:18)
  16. Silence In The Library (2:57)
  17. The Greatest Story Never Told (6:17)
  18. Midnight (3:07)
  19. Turn Left (2:20)
  20. A Dazzling End (2:22)
  21. The Rueful Fate Of Donna Noble (2:44)
  22. Davros (2:07)
  23. The Dark And Endless Dalek Night (3:44)
  24. A Pressing Need To Save The World (4:55)
  25. Hanging On The Tablaphone (1:07)
  26. Song Of Freedom (2:51)
  27. Doctor Who Season Four Closing Credits (1:07)

Released by: Silva Screen
Release date: 2008
Total running time: 76:27