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Doctor Who: Series 4

Doctor Who: Series 4 Soundtrack (Murray Gold) - CD cover
Composer: Murray Gold
Released: 2008
Label: Silva Screen Records (0738572127527)
Type: Movie
Format: CD
Reviewers (9.00/10)
Members (8.18/10) (11 votes)
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1. Doctor Who Opening Credits (Murray Gold/Ron Grainer) (0:45)
2. A Noble Girl About Town (2:12)
3. Life Among the Distant Stars (2:28)
4. Corridors and Fire Escape (1:13)
5. The Sibilline 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 Series 4 (2:46)
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 (3:40)
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 Closing Credits (Murray Gold/Ron Grainer) (1:07)

Total duration: 76 minutes
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Review of Tom Daish, submitted at , score: 9/10
It's funny how sometimes you don't hear how good something is when clearly it's excellent. For the first time in its revived history, the music for the 4th season of 'new' Doctor Who didn't (generally) leave much of an impression on me. Sure, there were some typically outstanding moments but somehow it didn't dazzle. However, on the basis of the new album, I'm clearly a deaf moron. Either that, or I've become so accustomed to the quality of Murray Gold's music that it has to be truly astounding to have an impact. I suspect it's the same with John Williams fans who bemoan his latest score not being the best thing he's ever written. High benchmarks are hard to maintain. However, in fairness to Gold, his writing here is as good as ever. I realised that I may have been unduly mean in only giving the previous album 4 stars as it's easily the match of the original and, in many ways, more coherent. The same goes for this one. Sure, there are changes of direction but, despite coming from 14 episodes and being distilled from 7 hours of original material, it effortlessly bounds from one thing to another without pausing for breath; for example, on of the most gorgeous tracks of the entire album - Songs of Captivity and Freedom - jumps straight into the militaristic UNIT Rocks. The eerie music for Davros gives way to Gold's trademark epic choral writing for Davros' creation, the Daleks. However, none of that seems to matter, the genius of the show is the way comedy and tragedy, epic and intimate are juxtaposed in often quite startling ways and the same is true of the music.
The aforementioned Songs of Captivity and Freedom was one of the most memorable moments of the series and one that really did stand out for its truly haunting beauty. One particularly pleasurable feature of the album track is the Freedom part which introduces the Song of Freedom theme, later expanded upon in the penultimate cue. However, in this first appearance, its more lyrical version presents one of the most memorable film or TV themes of the year. Dare I say it, but Ennio Morricone fans would probably be fairly impressed. Easily as gorgeous as anything by the maestro and arranged around a female vocal, it's a gorgeous, soaring theme which really deserves more airplay (and greater exposition and variation). The more epic finale version might have said Morricone fans change their minds when Gold adds some rather more contemporary percussion and it gets a bit world anthem-ish. Although, given that it features the Earth being towed by a flying police box, not entirely inappropriate. As the first album demonstrated, Doctor Who scoring can involve a lot of epic finales and so there's also The Greatest Story Never Told as well as A Dazzling End to add to the collection, a whirlwind of strings and brass, plus the closing moments of the lengthy suite from Voyage of the Damned as Kylie becomes stardust (or something like that). Said suite zips along with gusto, with some impressive use of the Stowaway song melody (featured on the previous disc) and lots of the usual slightly OTT, but thoroughly enjoyable action music.

A number of existing themes get dusted down and given a new lease of life, not least of all an even more ballsy version of Ron Grainer's original theme. I must admit that this version is starting to get to overkill with the extra percussion and edgier orchestral part (albeit fairly similar to the prior version), but it still works. The Doctor's Theme also gets an extended treatment and appears with rather more frequency than previously too, notably in The Greatest Story Never Told. UNIT Rocks slightly elaborates on the music for Brigadier Sir Alistair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart's outfit, one of the Doctor's only military allies on Earth As noted, the truly epic finale (the existence of reality being at stake... I rather if it's going to be difficult to maintain this level of peril at this rate) features the Daleks and it's a welcome return for their choral music in The Dark and Endless Dalek Night. Donna's theme from The Runaway Bride is given a more substantial arrangement in the first score cue and makes a nice change to the more wistful themes for the prior two companions (Rose and Martha). Further highlights abound, the snarling Goldsmithian brass of Midnight (you don't get TV music like that any anywhere else these days), the creepy, some Howard Shore-esque music for Davros and impressively eerie, yet occasionally sweet writing for the Library.

Yet again, Gold and arranger Ben Foster (whose contributions to the orchestration should not be underestimated) have come up with a Who album that is stupendously exciting, sad, eerie, hopeful, epic, intimate and plenty more besides. Any film music fan not thrilled by Songs of Captivity and Freedom or A Dazzling End needs some serious head examination. I know I seem to hit new levels of apparent hyperbole with every new Doctor Who album (and I do love the show, easily surpassing current American sci-fi, although I've not seen the new Battlestar Galactica, but compared to so much lame film music that's about these days, this is dazzling stuff. Tuneful, imaginative, passionate and, above all, memorable. I wonder if Gold would even get a job in Hollywood, so slack has its standards for film music become. By rights, Gold should be doing something top rate films such as Iron Man or The Dark Knight and their respective composers should be slumming it on some third rate sci-fi show, but fortunately for us, Gold is as first rate as the show he writes for. Add to that the rousing performance by the BBC Orchestra of Wales and the Crouch End Festival Chorus and it's another winner. Buy without delay.

Read other recent reviews by Tom Daish: The Snow Files: The Film Music of Mark Snow, The 7th Voyage of Sinbad, Andromeda

Review of John Mansell, submitted at , score: 9/10
Composer Murray Gold just gets better and better each time I hear his compositions, the first two Dr Who CD soundtracks were excellent and this the latest addition to the Silva screen catalogue is no exception, in fact I would go as far as to say it is a more polished and accomplished sound that the composer has realised overall. The Compact disc begins with Gold,s arrangement of Ron Grainers iconic theme for Dr Who, Gold infusing an almost urgent, expectant and fearful energy into Grainer,s original composition that is the opening for each episode of the series, this familiar sounding theme paths the way for a rollercoaster ride of excitement, danger and high emotions and in this case some original and haunting musical cues. I donít know what it is about this composers work on this series, but it just seems right, correct and quite perfect in almost every way! Now I sound like Mary Poppins ! Track 2 is for the character portrayed by actress/comic Catherine Tate who just like Goldís music fitted into the series like a glove, A NOBLE GIRL ABOUT TOWN has a cheeky sound to it, which is as hair brained in its style as the Donna Noble character is. Track 3, LIFE AMONG THE DISTANT STARS is a poignant and quite tender piece which was used to underline the character of Donnas Grandfather, who was an amateur stargazer. It is a heartrending cue, that begins with touching slow adagio like strings which accompany light use of piano until after a gradual build it eventually reaches an emotional climax where the composer utilises swelling strings bolstered by shimmering percussion enhanced by brass. Track 4 CORRIDORS AND FIRE ESCAPES, it is here we get our first real taste of Murray Gold in full swing and in action mode, this is a powerful and driving composition that accompanied the Dr and companion in various chases and escapes. Murray Goldís notes in the CD refer to the music as breathless, I would add to that breathtaking, unrelenting and high octane. There is so much music on this CD it is a real fest for lovers of quality film and TV music, and we have to remember this is a TV score and not from a motion picture, not that nowadays this makes a difference, years ago I remember there was a certain amount of snobbery amongst collectors of film music regarding TV scores, I always thought that if the music was good did it really matter if it came from a movie a TV series or a stage play, if the score was good then hang it all buy it.
I would have to say that this is probably the strongest out of the three CDS that are so far available in the Dr Who series, all the selections on this disc are taken from series 4, which again is probably the most interesting in the series of four. The composers ability to produce mesmerising and enthralling compositions that match the action on screen and also stand alone as entertaining and captivating works is at times unbelievable, Gold jumps from hard hitting action cues to full blown lush compositions complete with heavenly choir and pulsating strings embellished with dazzling brass and also solo voice in places with consummate ease. There is no doubt that Murray Gold is a force to be reckoned with, and I am waiting with baited breath for his first large scale score for a major motion picture, surely this has to come very soon, to be honest listening to some of his upbeat action cues within the Dr Who scores he would not be out of place working on a Bond movie, his music has a sound and style to it which at times evokes John Barryís more bombastic work for the 007 films, hard hitting exhilarating full on power scoring. Two particular stand out tracks on this CD are the mournful but melodic SONGS OF CAPTIVITY AND FREEDOM (track 6) which possesses a style akin more to Morricone, where the composer creates an attractive yet sad sounding tone poem utilising solo violin and male soprano Mark Chambers. Then there is the impressive and accomplished suite from THE VOYAGE OF THE DAMNED, which I know will be listened to over and over again, as it is an infectious and powerful collection of that episodes many themes condensed into an entertaining 11 minute suite. I cannot recommend this CD highly enough, if you do not purchase this you will be sorely disappointed.

Read other recent reviews by John Mansell: Erika, Il Plenilunio delle Vergini, Le Altre

Find more reviews on FilmMusicSearch.com
The Best Science Fiction Soundtracks

A.I.: Artificial Intelligence (2001) Alien (2007) Battlestar Galactica (2005) Children of Dune (2003) Children of Men (2006) Doctor Who: Series 4 (2008) Matrix, The (2008) Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith (2005) Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back (1997) Stargate (1994)

The Best Television Series Soundtracks

Battlestar Galactica (2005) Battlestar Galactica: Season 2 (2006) Battlestar Galactica: Season 3 (2007) Battlestar Galactica: Season 4 (2009) Doctor Who: Series 1 & 2 (2006) Doctor Who: Series 4 (2008) Katarakt (2007)

Soundtracks from the collection: Doctor Who

Doctor Who: Ghostlight (2013) Doctor Who: Series 1 & 2 (2006) Doctor Who: Series 7 (2013) Doctor Who: Series 5 (2010) Doctor Who: Series 4 (2008) Doctor Who: A Christmas Carol (2011) Doctor Who: Series 4 - The Specials (2010) Doctor Who Volume 2: New Beginnings 1970-1980 (2005) Doctor Who: Series 6 (2011)

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