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Soundtrack Review

Cover Image

Original Television Soundtrack


Composer: Paul Saunderson
Label: Silva Screen Records
RRP: £13.99
SILED1736 (download)
Release Date: 22 August 2023

Silva Screen Records digitally release Earth, Paul Saunderson's expansive and complex score for BBC Studio's landmark TV series, presented by Chris Packham. Using the latest science and technology, the 5-part series tells the astonishing 4.5-billion-year story of our Earth. The series takes us back in time to reveal the Earth’s most significant events and draws parallels with climate change today...

Silva Screen Records seems to have cornered the market on documentary scores focusing on our home world. Paul Saunderson's epic score for the BBC's Earth contains 41 tracks (2 hr, 05 min, 28 sec). It opens with the incredibly emotive song 'Never Close Enough', written in collaboration with emerging artist SIPHO. While the song is one that you'll instantly warm to, it is unusual for a documentary of this nature.

The theme at the centre of the opening song is referenced, quite extensively throughout the score. However, rather than being repetitive and over used, Saunderson constantly finds new and ingenious ways to reintroduce it.

Talking about the music, Saunderson states: "I wanted the music to constantly give this sense of awe and wonder, combining very modal classical harmonies and progressions using a large live orchestra accompanied with a combination of modern synths, vocals, guitars, a range of instrumental soloists and percussion bedded with a plethora of uniquely manipulated found sounds and instruments, bespoke sound beds and other worldly textures to help further transport the viewer back in time to these alien like, unrecognisable images of our planet. Each episode looks at a different time period of our Earth, Inferno, Snowball, Green, Atmosphere and finally Human. Sonically each episode has its own pallet and instrumentation, with recurring thematic melodies and harmonies that give cohesion to the score."

There's an eerie, choral element introduced on tracks like 'Triassic Earth' which adds another side to the epic feel of the album. It was interesting to note that this didn't just try to mimic the feel of similar documentaries and that the composer really strove to deliver something original.

I loved this score. It's fresh, memorable and impressively emotive.


Darren Rea

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