As announced last 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 Four which includes notes from composer Peter Howell and Mark Ayres (which are abridged and will continues through
this series). Also included are the front and back covers for The Fourth
Doctor disc included in the boxset (click on them for bigger versions.
Many thanks to Silva Screen, visit their site HERE.

COMPOSER NOTES – PETER HOWELL
Working on Doctor Who was always a mixture of excitement and an invariable sense of mounting anxiety. Making the deadline for the first episode was a doddle, but thereafter I received the video of subsequent episodes ever closer to their deadlines, so that when you got to the final episode, they were advertising it on the TV whilst you were still working on it: a really good way of forcing you out of the pub and back into the studio!

Changing the title music arrangement was always going to be tricky but I was able to play my attempts to other members of the Workshop and, gradually over a period of six weeks, the whole thing came together. I was keen that, as with Delia’s original, people would still question how it had been done, so I used many different sound sources including vocoding and tape manipulation to achieve the result. It was an exciting time and I’m really pleased that people still enjoy it.

Abridged album notes from Mark Ayres [Part 4]
Carey Blyton and Geoffrey Burgon were not the first composers from a concert background to write for Doctor Who. Burgon (who went on to write acclaimed scores for Brideshead Revisited and Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy) provided marvellously idiosyncratic music for two stories directed by Douglas Camfield, a man who liked to “do his own thing” rather than use Dudley Simpson. I first met Carey Blyton when I was a member of the West Kent Youth Orchestra in my teens – he turned up as resident composer at one of our Summer courses and we performed his work The Birds of the Air. I played the flute but I don’t recall playing one conventional note in the piece – I fluttered the keys like birds’ wings and blew down the wrong end to make the sound of the wind, while Carey played “prepared piano” – a concert grand with the lid removed, strings bridged with tin tacks and staples assaulted by ping-pong balls dropped from great height. I loved it.

Carey was essentially a miniaturist, ideally suited to writing short, amusing piece for television. For The Silurians (1970), a story of long-forgotten lizard creatures emerging from hibernation in caves deep beneath the Earth’s surface, he used archaic instruments such as Crumhorns (Baroque oboe-like contraptions noted for their eccentric, unstable tuning). Death to the Daleks (1974) was scored for saxophone quartet, the Radiophonic Workshop treating the tapes with the same ring-modulation effects used to create the Daleks’ voices.

In 1980, John Nathan-Turner (“JN-T”) took the programme over and was to go on to become its longest-serving producer. The first thing he did, musically, was to ask Peter Howell to remake the theme music. The second thing he did was to book the Radiophonic Workshop to provide all of the show’s scores, meaning that Dudley Simpson had written his last for the programme.

TO BE CONTINUED
Previous articleTennant & Smith discuss differences
Next articleThe Time of the Doctor – more pics
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Cameron K McEwan was the first owner and site editor of Blogtor Who since its creation in May 2008 until Dec 2015. A lifelong Doctor Who fan, Cameron has also written two books, The Who’s Who of Doctor Who and Doctor Who: The Big Book of Lists, and directed a film all about Doctor Who fans throughout the years, Who’s Changing - An Adventure In Time With Fans. Cameron also contributes TV and film news and reviews to BBC Radio London, Metro, Digital Spy, New York Observer and Den of Geek. He lives in London with his one trousers.

7 COMMENTS

  1. Yes City of Death was Dudley's Simpson's most amazing soundtrack and its absence is very disappointing – Silva Screen please please please recreate it and release it on it's own!!!

  2. glad it's not just me, I almost cried when I saw no city of death. No state of decay is a bummer as well, but Tom Baker's era was so extensive, one CD just isn't enough. I want a whole Logopolis soundtrack :S

  3. No City of Death!?
    Hopefully it'll be a separate release like the Caves of Androzani.
    That one got released on vinyl…wow that would be great.

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