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 Posted:   Dec 26, 2011 - 2:26 PM   
 By:   Jim Phelps   (Member)

The late composer first got my attention with his minimalist but memorable score for the 1998 HBO WWII movie, WHEN TRUMPETS FADE. It sounded as though Burgon had a small orchestra to work with--if even an orchestra at all--but he created a fine effort for an all-but-forgotten TV movie that I found to be excellent.

As it turned out, Burgon had composed scores for two of director Douglas Camfield's Doctor Who stories, Terror of the Zygons and most notably, The Seeds of Doom. The score is the aural equivalent of slinking, creeping vines and is as good a horror score I've heard, especially for a Doctor Who story. The recent Seeds of Doom DVD had a bonus feature profile of Burgon and it served as a fitting tribute to this underappreciated composer.

The documentary mentioned his score for the 1974 BBC Christmas special, The Treasure of Abbot Thomas, which looked to be the kind of creepy production 1970s television was known for, at least in my memory. It's a crying shame that there's no DVD for this interesting-looking and sounding movie, but I'd love to see it if just to hear Burgon's score.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0072312/

Here's Burgon's Irene's Theme, from The Forsyte Saga:

 
 Posted:   Dec 26, 2011 - 4:15 PM   
 By:   ToneRow   (Member)

Before there was the DVD on "The Seeds Of Doom" - there was ... a BBC CD soundtrack!



...plus this is not the first time I posted this ...

http://www.filmscoremonthly.com/board/posts.cfm?threadID=76018&forumID=1&archive=0

I guess Jim Phelps has no seedy soundtracks? roll eyes

In all honesty, though, I have difficulty getting into Geoffrey Burgon's stylisms.
Burgon's music wafts around, in my view, without having any 'feet on the ground' foundations.

 
 Posted:   Dec 26, 2011 - 4:34 PM   
 By:   Jim Phelps   (Member)

I guess Jim Phelps has no seedy soundtracks? roll eyes

In all honesty, though, I have difficulty getting into Geoffrey Burgon's stylisms.
Burgon's music wafts around, in my view, without having any 'feet on the ground' foundations.


Feel free to send me your copy of the Doctor Who CD, Toney! big grin

I've yet to be disappointed or even less than enchanted by a Burgon score...maybe his "serious" music may not be to my liking or interest, but what I've heard of his film and TV work has been impressive. However, based on the paucity of responses to this thread, I'm once again a "minority of one" in my taste.

"Go back and listen to your Zimmer clones!" wink

 
 Posted:   Dec 26, 2011 - 4:50 PM   
 By:   Basil Wrathbone   (Member)

My favorite Burgon CDs are Robin Hood and Martin Chuzzlewit.
I haven't heard the Doctor Who CD. Should I assume there's much electronic content?

 
 
 Posted:   Dec 26, 2011 - 4:50 PM   
 By:   dan the man   (Member)

I really enjoyed MR Burgon, Dogs of war, a good score for a very depressing movie.

 
 
 Posted:   Dec 26, 2011 - 5:23 PM   
 By:   Paul MacLean   (Member)

I was always impressed by Burgon's score for Life of Brian, which was very good music and surprisingly "serious" given the outlandishness of the film. Would make for a nice score-only release (the original soundtrack album contained dialog).

 
 Posted:   Dec 26, 2011 - 7:22 PM   
 By:   ToneRow   (Member)

Feel free to send me your copy of the Doctor Who CD, Toney! big grin

I've yet to be disappointed or even less than enchanted by a Burgon score...maybe his "serious" music may not be to my liking or interest, but what I've heard of his film and TV work has been impressive. However, based on the paucity of responses to this thread, I'm once again a "minority of one" in my taste.


Nah.
I'm keeping this CD for sentimental reasons.
I first saw "Doctor Who" serials on my local PBS station in 1980 when I was 13.
Tom Baker's initial 4 seasons (1975-1978) have been in my head for over 30 years now.

Since none of the original sound recordings from the Dudley Simpson sessions appear to have survived, it's all the more reason to cherish the 2 by Burgon which we're fortunate to have on disc. I even like Carey Blyton's scores for Pertwee's "Silurians" & "Daleks".

The reason why I'm not overly charmed by Burgon's music here is because it's all ethereal and dreamy. There's not enough contrast, IMO, such as musical "sting" here or rhythmic chase music over there to create diversity. Burgon's hallucinatory music accompanying Mr. Chase (Tony Beckley) is suberb. But when a 20-foot Krynoid is stomping around in the garden chasing after you, I think Burgon should've put aside the flute and clarinet and harp and bring on the horns and trombone with the percussion.

 
 Posted:   Dec 26, 2011 - 7:31 PM   
 By:   ToneRow   (Member)

My favorite Burgon CDs are Robin Hood and Martin Chuzzlewit.
I haven't heard the Doctor Who CD. Should I assume there's much electronic content?


While Burgon used the BBC Radiophonic Workshop for his 2 "Who" serials, he didn't use synthesizers for incidental music.
There were 5 musicians playing a combination of flute, clarinet, harp, violin, cello, clavichord, & percussion. These acoustic instruments were then filtered through a Ring Modulator within the Workshop to yield ghostly effects in the end result.

Once heard, it's hard to forget.

 
 Posted:   Dec 26, 2011 - 11:12 PM   
 By:   Julian K   (Member)

The documentary mentioned his score for the 1974 BBC Christmas special, The Treasure of Abbot Thomas, which looked to be the kind of creepy production 1970s television was known for, at least in my memory. It's a crying shame that there's no DVD for this interesting-looking and sounding movie, but I'd love to see it if just to hear Burgon's score.

It's available on DVD in Australia:

http://www.dvdwarehouse.com.au/complete-ghost-stories-of-m.r.-james-the-5021456181506.html

 
 Posted:   Dec 27, 2011 - 1:34 AM   
 By:   wayoutwest   (Member)

Can't say I have ever heard of him but the style of music in the clip for the Forsyte Saga certainly sounds familiar I quite like it.

 
 
 Posted:   Dec 27, 2011 - 2:34 AM   
 By:   Erik Donovan   (Member)

I was always impressed by Burgon's score for Life of Brian, which was very good music and surprisingly "serious" given the outlandishness of the film. Would make for a nice score-only release (the original soundtrack album contained dialog).

I would buy LIFE OF BRIAN. Have always liked his ROBIN HOOD.

 
 Posted:   Dec 27, 2011 - 3:21 AM   
 By:   Heath   (Member)

Those Burgon Doctor Who scores were unique in the show's history and quite brilliant. They were a marked departure of musical style for the show, and yet were perfect for those stories - imparting a real sense of metaphysical "otherness", and an atmosphere of the truly mysterious. They proved that Dr Who could successfully accommodate radically different musical approaches, provided the composers had a strong sense of drama. Burgon certainly had that.

Burgon's Who music bothered me as a child. The slightly cosy world of Doctor Who was being transformed into something quite different and strange by this unfamiliar music. It was unnerving because I knew the music had beauty, but it was tempered with a kind of dream-like menace. Actually, the best concert composers have that quality - Stravinsky, Berg etc, and far too few film composers.

Those Burgon scores remain a part of my own musical DNA. I'm still very upset by his recent death.

 
 Posted:   Dec 27, 2011 - 4:42 AM   
 By:   Jim Phelps   (Member)

Well stated, Heath. BTW, your own work for the bonus feature on The Pyramids of Mars was quite good, too. smile You wouldn't happen to know who did the scores for the "Meglos Men" and "Entropy" featurettes on the Meglos DVD, do you?

For music that's supposed to be light and airy, Burgon manages to make the Krynoid truly frightening. The music got inside my head and it embodies the sound of the Krynoid. I strenuously disagree with Tonerow's assessment of Burgon's music...I was all the more impressed that the Krynoid was scored without some kind of "stomping elephant" motif just because the big piece of lettuce was a fifty foot monster. wink

 
 
 Posted:   Dec 27, 2011 - 6:16 AM   
 By:   Thor   (Member)

I love Burgon's work, especially the drop-dead gorgeous themes for BRIDESHEAD REVISITED and Aslan's theme from the NARNIA series.

Some of his minimalist suspense music can be a bit grating, but the classy melancholy of his period scores is great.

 
 
 Posted:   Dec 27, 2011 - 7:15 AM   
 By:   John McMasters   (Member)

I've always admired Mr. Burgon's beautiful work -- he died far too young. Like Herrmann, he seemed able to capture psychological moments using sparse orchestrations that perfectly matched the project at hand. And he could also be grand when required.

I also love his concert works -- he was a master of music for chorus and voice -- one of my favorite CDs is a program of works that he wrote especially for counter tenor. Gorgeous, ethereal music.

 
 
 Posted:   Dec 27, 2011 - 4:14 PM   
 By:   paulhickling   (Member)

At the risk of revealing myself to be a fan of this wonderful tv series, I can honestly say that Burgon's work is indeed a hilight of Doctor Who's history.

I think I'm right in saying that he was the choice of Douglas Camfield. A director who wasn't too keen on resident composer of the time, Dudley Simpson, on personal grounds. Which of course, a shame.

But without this we might have been deprived of some excellent tv music.

 
 Posted:   Dec 28, 2011 - 2:39 AM   
 By:   Stephen Woolston   (Member)

His music for the classic (and much superior to the film, even though the film is also very good) BBC TV dramatization of TINKER, TAILOR, SOLDIER, SPY is sparse but brilliantly effective.

Cheers

 
 Posted:   Dec 28, 2011 - 3:49 AM   
 By:   Jim Phelps   (Member)

Some of his minimalist suspense music can be a bit grating, but the classy melancholy of his period scores is great.

The minimalist stuff is what drew me into his work, but the melodic hummy material is what's keeping me in.

 
 Posted:   Dec 28, 2011 - 5:55 AM   
 By:   Jehannum   (Member)

His music for the classic (and much superior to the film, even though the film is also very good) BBC TV dramatization of TINKER, TAILOR, SOLDIER, SPY is sparse but brilliantly effective.

Cheers


Yes. I especially love the opening and closing title themes.

 
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