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Soundtrack Review

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The Living Planet
Music from the BBC TV Series


Composer: Elizabeth Parker
Performed by: BBC Radiophonic Workshop
Label: Silva Screen Records
RRP: £13.99
7 38572 15103 4
Release Date: 12 August 2016

Silva Screen Records release Elizabeth Parker's electronic score to The Living Planet. This David Attenborough 12 part series was the sequel to the pioneering Life On Earth, taking natural history television to a new level...

The Living Planet was originally broadcast over 12 hour-long episodes in 1984. I fondly remember this being one of David Attenborough's most ambitious documentary series. And while the program still stands up well, the music has not stood the test of time. In a lot of places it sounds twee, and the overall feeling is that it sounds like one of those appallingly bad educational schools programs of the '80s.

This is very much a product of its time. In fact, the music was originally Emmy-nominated. It was performed on synthesisers, blending evocative themes, sounds and effects into a accompaniment to television’s stunning images of the Earth’s environments. While it may have been cutting edge at the time, it sounds a little flat today. It's not the themes, some of which are incredibly beautiful, it's the rather limiting sound of the synthesisers.

The album contains 13 tracks (41 min, 53 sec). While I didn't really enjoy this, and certainly won't be digging it out again in the future, it's an interesting product of its time.


Darren Rea

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