Wednesday, July 28, 2010

7A3 - The Trial of a Time Lord 3

The relaunch of Doctor Who after the hiatus was not only evident in the visual presentation, but it was also enhanced in the audio department, as well. Dominic Glynn made his debut on Doctor Who by providing the incidental music for the first four parts of The Trial of a Time Lord. Being the first composer not a member of the Radiophonic Workshop, be it directly or indirectly, since the end of Season 17, Glynn's music is a breath of fresh air.

Not that the work of Peter Howell, Roger Limb, Paddy Kingsland, et al were of an inferior nature, but Glynn's output has an entirely different feel compared to the music of the first five years of the John Nathan-Turner era. For instance, Glynn uses basic drum beats to underscore his music in some scenes. It seems like a minor point to make, but only Paddy Kingsland's rock and roll score for Mawdryn Undead seemed current, for lack of a better word, in relation to what was being listened to at the time. Glynn's score uses a lot of sounds heard in pop music, if not the melodies and rhythms, for the first time, really, in the show's long history. For Doctor Who, a pulsating hi-hat rhythm was the programme's first tentative olive branch to the hear and now.

In addition to the incidental score, of course, Glynn provided the series with only its third markedly different version of the iconic theme tune. Glynn's new version is as shocking a change from its predecessor as Peter Howell's rendition was to Delia Derbyshire's original work. Glynn's version sparkles with a brightness that characterizes all of his work during this story, but there's a certain darkness to it that rises the theme above the rushed nature of its production. At the time, it was my favourite version; now, it's probably dropped a couple notches but still remains a memorable take on the best theme tune ever written.


Erik said...

Should we take it as an indication of something that the review of this episode doesn't talk about, you know, the episode? :-)

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