The final season of the Tenth Doctor comes full circle musically for season 4, where Murray Gold skillfully combines the elements of mystery from seasons 1 & 2 and action adventure from season 3 to create some of the best music ever composed for Doctor Who.
Season 4 of Doctor Who was arguably the Tenth Doctor’s best, and a large part of that (for myself anyway) was due to Murray Gold’s fantastic scoring. Being the last season before the Eleventh Doctor debuted, it seems that the composer decided to up the ante considerably to provide Ten the best sendoff. Throughout the season the music almost seems to conclude somewhat, as Gold takes musical elements from previous seasons and combines them into some truly amazing compositions. Given how much the score for the show changes for season 5 with the new Doctor, it is easy to see why Gold has done this for season 4.
First up is the Opening Theme for the new season. Here the composer has remixed the fantastic theme from Series 1 & 2 by upping the tempo, adding a few more drums and in general making the piece far more rock-like in nature. While I do like the new theme I feel it is a bit oversaturated instrument-wise. There is a little too much going on in this track and it is detrimental to the music overall. The original theme was a little less complex and because of that you could enjoy the individual elements more, whereas with this one it is a little all over the place. Also, given that the Doctor is regenerating in just over a season it seems like a fairly pointless remix as the new theme is only going to be used for a short time. Overall, the track is good but I definitely prefer the original.
A Noble Girl About Town is the new companion theme for the season, this particular one belonging to Donna. It is very upbeat and relies heavily on percussion as well as strings. While being an enjoyable two minutes, Donna’s Theme doesn’t quite have the depth or emotional range that previous companion pieces had. Rose’s Theme and Martha’s Theme had upbeat elements but also were used extensively for emotional ones, and also featured prominently throughout their respective seasons. Donna’s is not as complex and as a result is used far less in season 4. It is definitely the weakest companion theme so far, which is a shame as the character herself deserved a more interesting one.
UNIT Rocks has undergone a similar treatment to the Opening Theme, being a rock remix of the original UNIT theme from Series 1 & 2. Unlike the Opening Theme though this particular remix improves significantly upon the original, by upping the tempo and adding several electric guitars that overall make for a far more exciting and dramatic piece to represent UNIT.
Up next is The Doctor’s Theme, the main theme for season 4. Like much of the music on this album this piece takes elements from previous seasons, incorporating parts of the Doctor’s various themes and motifs that Gold has composed. It uses vocals heavily with strings as backing, and slowly builds from quiet to a loud and dramatic finale where brass features prominently. Overall this theme is far more powerful and dramatic than any previous pieces for the Doctor, as well as being very heroic and very alien. As a character theme is fits the Tenth Doctor incredibly well, and is one of the best compositions for the show that Gold has ever created.
The standout cue award however goes to Voyage Of The Damned Suite. Being the score to one of the best episodes of the show, it is simply sublime. Everything you could want is in this suite; action, emotion and the best rendition of the Doctor’s new theme from season 4. Gold really pulls out all the stops for this ten minute suite, using heavy brass as well as quiet strings, and overall it easily makes for the most enjoyable ten minutes so far in his compositions for Doctor Who.
The Greatest Story Never Told is a secondary theme for The Doctor, heavily resembling the primarily vocal nature of The Doctor’s Theme as well as having another rendition of the key notes from the track. However this piece goes one step further, being even more dramatic and wondrous than the first theme. One thing Gold has really nailed in this album is music for the Doctor, as The Greatest Story Never Told paints a very alien but also heroic picture of him, which absolutely nails his character. This and The Doctor’s Theme should have just been put together as a ten minute suite, as they are incredibly similar in nature and are much more enjoyable this way.
The Dark And Endless Dalek Night is a brand new composition for the Daleks, and it does a fantastic job of bringing out the one emotion you should feel when facing the creatures; dread. It really does feel like the world is going to end when you listen to this track. Once again Gold brings his brass and vocals game to create this very dark and evil sounding piece. One thing I will say however is that despite being very scary, it doesn’t hold a candle to the original theme from Series 1 & 2. Luckily, Gold seems to realise this and uses the original frequently throughout the rest of his time on the show.
The main action setpiece of this album is A Pressing Need To Save The World, a track that is used a fair amount throughout the season. It is fast paced, brass heavy and simply a joy to listen to. As shown in previous seasons one of Gold’s strengths with this show is his action music, and this track is no different. You are on the edge of your seat for the entirety of its just under five minute runtime.
Song Of Freedom is a very interesting piece, simply because it’s unlike most of the music Gold has composed so far. This track is very upbeat and victory-sounding, and once again very vocal heavy (I’m getting the impression that Murray Gold likes vocals a lot, given how frequently he uses them). Here they sound fantastic however, making Song Of Freedom a brilliant conclusion to a highly enjoyable album.
Overall, Murray Gold’s score to season 4 is simply amazing. The new theme for the Doctor is a joy and the way it incorporates elements of previous ones makes it a great farewell track for the Tenth Doctor. The way Gold uses the strings and vocals make for the best theme for the character yet. This combined with some fantastic action music (Voyage Of The Damned, A Pressing Need To Save The World) and emotional moments (The Greatest Story Never Told, Voyage again) makes the soundtrack for season 4 Murray Gold’s best yet.
Standout Cue: 11. Voyage Of The Damned Suite