Doctor Who: A Christmas CarolIf the soundtrack from the fifth season of the revived Doctor Who was a marvelous change of pace for composer Murray Gold, the stand-alone soundtrack release for A Christmas Carol, the 2010 Christmas special, is a homecoming. A Christmas Carol returns to the big, unapologetically brassy sound that Gold used for much of the Russell T. Davies era of Doctor Who. About the only thing that’s missing is an orchestral action piece set to a rock drum beat.

That’s not to say that this special’s music wasn’t just as firmly entrenched in the more subdued musical sensibility of the Steven Moffat era, however. After “Come Along Pond,” the all-out action intro for the show’s Star-Trek-spoofing opening teaser, many of the early tracks take on the dark tone of the Doctor’s latest destination. Once the Doctor travels back in time to Kazran Sardick’s childhood, the story’s essentially dealing with a child who’s been neglected at best and abused at worst – not really the kind of material for jubilant tunes. Once we get into scenes such as the Doctor inadvertently feeding his sonic screwdriver to a flying shark, however, Gold is off to the races in his old style.

The sharks (flying or otherwise) would be circling if the album didn’t also include the mesmerizing “Abigail’s Song (Silence Is All You Know)”, whose title – as of the middle of the 2011 season – sticks out like a sore thumb trying to disguise itself as a subtle hint. Unlike some of the songs that have accompanied past Christmas specials, this one is indeed sung by Katherine Jenkins, who played Abigail on screen, and whose operatic pedigree means she certainly doesn’t need to be dubbed. The melody of the song, however, begins creeping into the score long before the song’s appearance late in the episode.

4 out of 4As always, Gold coaxes an awesome wall of sound out of the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, whose presence has occasionally become a bit sparse as the BBC becomes more budget-conscious across the board. Fully orchestral passages have become a kind of special flavoring during the regular season, and an ear-popping stocking stuffer at Christmas. I wasn’t crazy about the plot of A Christmas Carol, but the music is one of the better things about the show, and is well worth a listen.

Order this CD

  1. Come Along Pond (1:51)
  2. Halfway Out Of The Dark (1:38)
  3. Pray For A Miracle (0:37)
  4. Geoff (3:48)
  5. You Didn’t Hit The Boy (1:44)
  6. Fish (0:50)
  7. Kazran Sardick 12 1/2 (1:29)
  8. Ghost Of Christmas Past (1:33)
  9. Babysitter (0:47)
  10. Talk About Girls (1:41)
  11. Sonic Fishing (1:43)
  12. Just A Little One (1:16)
  13. Big Colour (1:50)
  14. I Can’t Save Her (3:34)
  15. The Other Half’s Inside The Shark (1:08)
  16. Abigail (1:47)
  17. He Comes Every Christmas (1:09)
  18. Shark Ride (1:24)
  19. New Memories (1:00)
  20. Holding Hands (1:45)
  21. Christmas Dinner (0:38)
  22. Goodlucknight (1:51)
  23. Goodnight Abigail (2:10)
  24. This Planet Is Ours (2:00)
  25. Ghost Of Christmas Present (0:48)
  26. The Course Of My Life (1:35)
  27. Ghost Of Christmas Future (1:50)
  28. Abigail’s Song (Silence Is All You Know) (4:41)
    performed by Katherine Jenkins
  29. Everything Has To End Some Time (1:14)

Released by: Silva Screen
Release date: 2011
Total running time: 49:21