The acclaimed 2010 Christmas special, A Christmas Carol, was not only Matt Smith's first yuletide outing as the Eleventh Doctor, but it is also the first festive episode to have a whole soundtrack release dedicated solely to its score. As soon as the first track begins, you can understand why.
Now that a Doctor Who Christmas Day special is as iconic as the Queen's Speech, the cast and crew have even more pressure than usual to deliver a stonking story for the biggest television day of the year. Not only did they exceed expectations in A Christmas Carol (easily the Doctor's most Christmassy adventure to date!), but the true spirit and magic of the season was conveyed effortlessly by Murray Gold's breathtaking music, and it is that music that is presented across the 29 tracks included on this new disc.
Although, admittedly, the majority of the tracks contained on this CD aren't as loud and dramatic as Gold's most popular Doctor Who arrangements, they are definitely just as inspiring - if not more so. The slow and gentle music perfectly captures the tone and bittersweet message behind the story, and it helped to captivate over 12 million people who sat down on Christmas Day to watch the heartbreaking tale of Kazran Sardick unfold before their eyes.
The first track, 'Come Along Pond', immediately sets us up for an action-packed sleigh ride, as Amy and Rory's fancy dress antics (we won't ask!) are cut short when the spaceship on which they are honeymooning begins to plummet to the planet below. It's Christmas! Next up, we're taken to the hustle and bustle of Sardicktown in 'Halfway Out of the Dark', which plays over Kazran's monologue at the beginning of the episode. Of course, it wouldn't be Christmas without a choir, and over the proceeding tracks, the vocalists are on top form, particularly in 'Fish', 'He Comes Every Christmas' and 'New Memories'.
Meanwhile, variations of the ever-popular 'I Am The Doctor' pop up on several of the tracks, each with their own special tweak bringing new depth to one of the Eleventh Doctor's signature themes. If you listen carefully
across the tracks, you'll also pick up on several sweet and subtle homages to 'Abigail's Song', which help to build up to the song we've all been humming in our sleep since the episode aired. At 04:42 in length, the complete version of 'Abigail's Song' is included in all its majesty on the soundtrack, allowing us to fully appreciate Katherine Jenkins' stunning peformance. Written especially for the episode by Gold, the carol manages to perfectly sum up the spirit of Christmas as well as the feelings and emotions of both Kazran and Abigail. Some eagle-eyed fans have also noticed that the lyrics of the song ("...silence is all you see...") could also contain a few suggestive nods relating to adventures to come. Well, what would life be without a sense of foreboding, eh?
Overall, the A Christmas Carol soundtrack is a brilliant collection of music as heard in a brilliant episode,
and for any Whovian it is sure to be a welcome addition to the stereos, iPods and other such musical playback enabled devices. In fact, you'll be listening to it so much, that silence is all you WON'T be, as you relive the magic and festive cheer all year round!
Recommended tracks: 'Come Along Pond', 'Just A Little One', 'Big Colour', 'The Other Half's Inside the Shark', 'Abigail', 'He Comes Every Christmas', 'Shark Ride', 'Christmas Dinner', 'Abigail's Song', 'Everything Has to End Some Time'
Thanks to Silva Screen for the opportunity to preview the soundtrack. The soundtrack will be available to buy and download from 21st March 2011 - pre-order your copy on Amazon here.
Review posted 14th February 2011