Notes From The Past

Academic and Composer Steve Kilpatrick has re-opened the old score sheets of the Philip Hinchcliffe era of Doctor Who and traced their avant-garde, experimental leanings right to the Second Viennese School of Schoenberg, Berg and Webern.

Kilpatrick, an obsessive childhood fan, subconsciously absorbed the sterling work done by such composers as Delia Derbyshire, Tristram Cary, Humphrey Searle, Malcolm Clarke and Dudley Simpson and now, on the passing of the late Geoffrey Burgeon, has blogged the debt he owes to the BBC and Doctor Who.

Its Simpson’s work in particular that fired the young Kilpatrick’s desire for music:

“There is a saying that the best soundtracks are the ones you don’t notice. Personally, I think this is bollocks. Is there really anyone out there who didn’t notice the incidental music in The Magnificent Seven, The Good, The Bad and the Ugly, Forbidden Planet, Planet of the Apes or The Omen? Exactly. Something I really love about Dudley Simpson, and many other of the Radiophonic Workshop composers, is you always know they are there.”

He also praises Simpsons ablity to wrangle the terrifying from little or no resources:

“Simpson’s music flirted with atonality and created a wonderful sense of unease, which fitted the gothic horror of the golden era of Philip Hinchcliffe’s reign as producer. He often used a very small ensemble regularly consisting of clarinet, bass clarinet, percussion and organ, yet he was able to eek so much out of so few instruments.”

While praising the old guard, he still finds much to love in the work of nu-Who composer, Murray Gold:

“It’s certainly true that Nu-Who composer Murray Gold is giving modern audiences what they want and, perhaps more importantly, what they expect from a modern TV drama, but I must admit that I preferred the more unearthly sounds of the original series. Even though Doctor Who was always a mainstream show, its music was always far from mainstream and I miss that.”

Click here for the full, fascinating article.


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