Space: 1999
Original Television Soundtrack - Year 1

Composer: Barry Gray
Silva Screen
RRP £7.95
Available 13 September 2004

Following the successful Gerry Anderson TV series releases,
I & II and Captain Scarlet Silva Screen, in co-operation with Carlton TV, have released music sourced from the first series of Space 1999. The first recording session took place on 11 December 1973 with a 52-piece orchestra performing the opening and closing titles music. For the series' incidental music, between 32 and 38 instruments were used at any one session, all conducted by Barry Gray...

Barry Gray's score for Space 1999 is probably the grandest ever awarded to a TV show. It's lush orchestration and sweeping richness helped give the programme much of its atmosphere and unlike the previous Silva Screen collections for Thunderbirds and Captain Scarlet, this aggregation of music isn't a selection of short snippets. Rather, what this CD contains are longer pieces, each developing a mood or feel over minutes rather than seconds. This is all a long way from Supercar, good though that work is.

There are, however, two problems with this collection. First, it's soon apparent that Barry didn't actually write as much for Space 1999 as he had done for other shows (for contractual reasons) and as a result library tracks were used on the series to fill the gaps. And although these were often well chosen - and nice to hear again - they seem slightly out of place on the CD as they sometimes partition its feel.

The second, and more pressing problem, is that Barry's work, although wonderfully scored and arranged, uses a limited number of themes and motifs which therefore robs this disc of the variety of say the Thunderbrids collections. I'm sure that allowed more time we would have seen Barry expand his musical pallet for Space 1999 and it's therefore a little petty to quibble with what is essentially an excellent CD but for sheer enjoyment this isn't quite as good as Silva Screen's previous collections of the great man's work.

It is, nonetheless, indispensable. Here's hoping for a Stingray disc next...

Anthony Clark

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