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A mixed but essential bag for Who nerds everywhere...,
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This review is from: Doctor Who: The 50th Anniversary Collection (4CD) (Audio CD)
... of which I am happily one.
I feel it says something that my only disappointment with this as-comprehensive-as-it-could-be (with 50 years to cover!), multiple-disc set taken from 11 Doctors' eras is that some previously released tracks (I had Doctor Who: The Music I & II on vinyl in the 80s) have had to be cut. There's so much here, but how could it ever be enough?
From selection to editing, it's all been expertly done – as one would expect from maestro Mark Ayres, who has remastered everything to a modern standard of clarity that is frankly astonishing. But take, for example, one highlight: The Five Doctors Suite – it is still wonderful, being among the inclusions that transcends the programme for which it was composed (and it went down well in The Royal Albert Hall last year, remember), but here it is noticeably truncated if you're familiar with the earlier release (find that on YouTube).
In terms of style, the breadth of music presented across 4 CDs is, naturally after 5 decades, pretty staggering. It ranges from stock tracks much reused for the monochrome menace of the Cybermen and Yeti, and so-60s musique concrète, via 70s noodlings from the likes of The London Saxophone Quartet (gotta love the Death to the Daleks Suite!) to the 80s synth explosion, with all the pluses and minuses of that genre... and then on to the full orchestral treatment the show has enjoyed since its revival. There is also a smattering of 'special sounds' from the BBC Radiophonic Workshop's sound engineers, Brian Hodgson and Dick Mills; geniuses both. (And quite right too, since the RW's musical and FX work was so dovetailed throughout the programme's original run.)
When it comes to individual tracks, I think it unlikely some of the inclusions will enjoy multiple plays. But for sheer curiosity value and nostalgia, the presence of the likes of Capsule Oscillation (Dalek Destructor Fuse… ) and The Planet Karn is surely justified! And when it comes to pure music, it's obviously a matter of taste but I do wonder how the same era could produce the irredeemably awful Mawdryn Undead Suite just one year after the sublime March of the Cybermen (from Earthshock), which for my money is worthy of contemporary popular artists such as Jean Michel Jarre or even Brian Eno. For every, er, acquired taste (Warriors of the Deep is essentially a composition for fire alarm) there are irrefutable masterpieces, such as Nyssa's Theme (from The Keeper of Traken) and The Ambush (from The Daleks, the best part of 20 years before), and astonishingly evocative work such as the 70s Master's Theme and Hypnosis Music, and – how could I not mention? – The Sea Devils Suite (hear it to believe it!).
So in conclusion, you must have this set in your music collection if the Time Lord's adventures have ever meant anything to you beyond the spoken and the visual. I haven't touched on the final disc, which is devoted to Murray Gold's sterling work since 2005's relaunch, but then lots of CDs are otherwise available – nor have I mentioned that there are 6 tracks from 1996's TV Movie, proving how it set down a template for Doctor Who's revival musically, as in so many other ways...
But that's the thing about this collection – as with its source, Doctor Who itself – after 50 years, there's just so much to enjoy.