Ten Tracks Today – 12th August 2011


I have spent some time teasing out all my TV themes and have been spending some time taking a listen to a few:

01 – “Main Title (Alternate)” – North and SouthBill Conti

One of my favourite TV themes, written for the mini-series from 1985, it’s a joy from start to finish. The grand statements of the theme are spine-tingling and – unusually for TV themes – the bridging passage linking the various statements of the main theme is just as good. This Varese Club release is a bit too long to listen to all at once but the wealth of music means that this theme comes up in several different guises.

02 – “Main Title” – DexterRolfe Kent

I’ve never seen an episode of this but I have caught this theme numerous times as I’ve gone somewhere else whilst the OH settles down to watch it. I like the quirkiness of the theme: the instrumentation as well as the off-kilter rhythm.

03 – “Main Title: 3rd Season” – Babylon 5Christopher Franke

Not as memorable as the original theme for earlier seasons, this theme (edited out from a suite from the “Severed Dreams” episode) does feature an exciting repeating synth strings motif.

04 – “The Call of Destiny / Titles” – MerlinRob Lane

A track that ends with the soaring theme for Merlin that’s memorable and to the point. Traits that make for a good TV theme.

05 – “Cranford Finale” – CranfordCarl Davis

A lovely string ensemble piece that’s calming and imbues the listener with a sense that everything’s okay with the world. Perhaps not much of a historical truth but it’s a lovely piece of music.

06 – “Main Title” – Star Trek: VoyagerJerry Goldsmith

A Star Trek theme from Goldsmith that’s always in the shadow of his music for Star Trek: The Motion Picture but this is, in some ways, just as good as the title theme for the movie. Grand and epic it soars on the small screen. I’ve always thought though that the edit in the middle of this (original) version could have been done better.

07 – “Left Bank Two” – Vision OnWayne Hill

This is a piece of library music written in 1963 and is likely to be instantly recognisable by anyone growing up in the 1970s. Best known as the music used in “The Gallery” sequence in the children’s art programme Vision On, where eager kids would watch to see if their own art they had sent in would be shown on TV, it also could be heard in a similar sequence in a later art-based show, Take Hart.

08 – “Fringe 85” – FringeJ.J. Abrams

A 1980s version of the theme for the episode “Peter” (Season 2), it features as part of a retro-styled title sequence for the episode that is set in 1985.

09 – “Aslan’s Theme” – The Chronicles of NarniaGeoffrey Burgon

A lovely and regal theme played by solo horn is the most memorable part of the music from this series, a series that is best remembered rather than watched again (down to the rather wobbly (by today’s standards) special effects). But the theme stands up much better and is my favourite from Burgon.

10 – “Theme (Blarney’s Stoned)” – Dave Allen At LargeAlan Hawkshaw

Hawkshaw worked for the KPM production music company in the 1960s and 1970s and this is one of his best-known pieces. “Blarney’s Stoned” was used as the theme tune for TV shows featuring seated stand-up Irish comedian Dave Allen. This version was recorded live at The Jazz Café, London 2006.

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