As announced earlier this month, 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 in early 2014,
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.
In this EXCLUSIVE series for Blogtor Who, Silva Screen
are releasing these fascinating notes ahead of the boxset’s release
next year. Today sees Part Two which includes notes from composer Dick Mills and Mark Ayres (which are abridged and will continues through
this series). Also included are the front and back covers for The First
Doctor disc included in the boxset (click on them for bigger versions.
Many thanks to Silva Screen, visit their site HERE.
By 1963, the Radiophonic Workshop had about five years experience of producing all manner of sounds and music under its collective belt, so it looked like just another commission when we met with Verity Lambert to discuss a new sci-fi programme.
Little did we know what we were letting ourselves – and the world – in for. Of course, we could produce the special sounds but the icing on the cake was the suggestion that Ron Grainer should do the signature tune with us.
Delia and I set to and after about two weeks had something to play to Ron… and the rest is history.
Brian Hodgson and I worked on several Doctor Who stories together before the Workshop’s traditional practice of ‘working in pairs’ changed to ‘solo composers’, so it was not until 1973 that Desmond Briscoe asked me how I’d feel about taking on Doctor Who full time, once Brian had left the Workshop. “Do I have a choice?” I asked. “No,” said Desmond, “and Dudley’s coming at 4 o’clock to do the next lot of music!” In at the deep end, or what?
Again, the rest is history, with all its challenges, technical developments and, of course, the excitement of working for the ever-changing demands of the programme. If I had my own TARDIS, would I take my tin of Swarfega and go back to do it all again? You betcha!
Abridged album notes from Mark Ayres [Part 2]
Tristram Cary had been experimenting with electronic sounds since his time in the Forces and had a home studio from the 1950s where he experimented with and invented electronic music techniques, completely independently and without initially realising that similar experiments were taking place on the Continent. His first (purely orchestral) film score was for the 1955 Ealing classic The Ladykillers, and he later provided a mixture of orchestral score and electronics for the cinematic remake of Quatermass and the Pit (1967). His first (purely electronic) contribution to Doctor Who was its second story, The Daleks, which he expanded upon (with orchestral and treated sections) for 1965’s The Daleks’ Master Plan. This music also went into “stock” and was reused for The Rescue (1965) and The Ark (1966). His “ballad” music for The Gunfighters (1966) is also featured on this collection but, sadly, his score for Marco Polo (1964) is lost. Tristram was also responsible, with Peter Zinovieff and David Cockerell, for the design of the EMS synthesisers that became central to the BBC Radiophonic Workshop and to his own studio at home in Fressingfield, where The Mutants (1972) was recorded.
Australian composer Dudley Simpson’s first score for Doctor Who was Planet of Giants in 1964, and within a couple of years he had established his position as the show’s “house” composer: he was to become its most prolific musical contributor to date. From the use of electronic organs, synthesisers solo or enhanced with percussion, small chamber groups with or without synth overdubs, Dudley constantly came up with inventive new approaches to television scoring (generally in response to changes in the – always small – budget) that inspired many – myself included. All of these ensembles are represented here, along with the little themes he composed for Tom Baker’s Doctor and robot dog K9.
Don Harper was another Australian, though he contributed John Barry-style spy music to just one story, The Invasion (1968). This adventure also featured some of those Hodgson sounds that blurred the music / effects boundary.