Captain Scarlet and The Mysterons - Production - Music


Music for Captain Scarlet was composed by Barry Gray, an innovator in electronic music, who had scored all the Supermarionation series preceding it. The opening title sequence theme, "The Mysterons", was rendered electronically and accompanied by a staccato drum beat to introduce the lead character of Captain Scarlet. This seven-note beat was also used to link scenes within episodes, and to cut to advertisement breaks, for which it was accompanied by a zooming image of the Spectrum logo as designed by Tony Dunsterville of the art department. On the subject of the beat, Anderson recalls, "When I went to the recording session, I heard the drum beat he had come up with and I thought, 'Christ, is this all he could produce?' Looking back on it, however, I can see that what he came up with worked very well."

The closing credits theme, "Captain Scarlet", underwent significant change after the completion of the first 14 episodes. The first version had been mainly instrumental, with vocoded interruptions of the words "Captain Scarlet!" provided by Gray himself. This was then revised as a song performed by a London-based pop group The Spectrum, assembled by RCA Victor as an imitation of the American band The Monkees, who happened to share their name with the organisation that appears in Captain Scarlet.

In addition to the main theme, Gray scored incidental music for 18 episodes of Captain Scarlet between March and December 1967. Musical accompaniment for the remaining 14 episodes was achieved by re-using these completed tracks as well as music from previous Anderson productions such as Thunderbirds. In composing his incidental music, Gray made extensive use of two contrasting, yet similar, themes to illustrate Spectrum and the Mysterons. In their notes to the soundtrack release, Ralph Titterton and Tim Mallett suggest that the music is dominated by a "military feel", with an emphasis placed on percussion, brass and wind instruments, by contrast to the full orchestral sound of the Thunderbirds score. With the exception of the four-note Mysteron motif, Gray generally restricted his use of electronic synthesisers, including an Ondes Martenot, to space sequences, preferring traditional instruments for Earth-bound action. Captain Scarlet's motif, heard in both versions of the end credits theme and the incidental music, is a melodic variation on the Mysteron theme, emphasising Scarlet's history as an ex-Mysteron.

Awarding the soundtrack CD release a rating of four stars out of five, Bruce Eder of the website AllMusic describes the collection of theme and incidental music as "a strange mix of otherworldly 'music of the spheres', late-50s/early-60s 'space-age pop', 'British Invasion' beat, Scottish folk-inspired tunes, kids-style 'Mickey Mouse' scoring, marital music, light jazz, and light classical", and singles out both "Cocktail Music", from "Model Spy", and the piano track, performed by Gray, from "The Inquisition", for particular praise. In his BBC Online review, Peter Marsh opines that the darker tone of the music is reflective of Captain Scarlet as a programme featuring realistic puppets and death, frightening alien villains and "no laughs", stating that "dissonant vibraphone chords shimmer under hovering, tremulous strings contrasted with urgent, militaristic drums and pulsing brass—driving the action ever onto its climax (and, no doubt, a big explosion)."

Captain Scarlet
(Original Television Soundtrack)
Soundtrack album by Barry Gray
Released 17 November 2003 (UK)
9 December 2003 (US)
Length 78:57
Label Silva Screen Records
Track list
No. Title Length
1. "Century 21 Sting" 0:10
2. "Opening Titles (Pilot Narration)" 0:48
3. "End Titles (Semi-Vocal Version)" 1:23
4. "Winged Assassin: Suite" 4:38
5. "Staccato Beat" 0:04
6. "Big Ben Strikes Again" 1:33
7. "Big Ben Strikes Again: Until Midnight (Radio Music)" 2:22
8. "Avalanche: Mountain Pass" 1:12
9. "Avalanche: Deadly Mist and Mountain Chase" 4:24
10. "White as Snow" 3:26
11. "Manhunt: Suite" 4:07
12. "Model Spy: Models on a Train" 2:32
13. "Model Spy: Cocktail Music" 3:28
14. "Lunarville 7: Suite" 4:52
15. "Point 783: The SHEF March" 2:35
16. "Expo 2068: The Reactor" 2:33
17. "Commercial Stings and Commercial Break" 1:04
18. "Fire at Rig 15: Rig 15" 2:49
19. "The Inquisition: Piano Track" 3:23
20. "The Trap: Castle Glen Garry" 1:31
21. "The Trap: Fate of the XQR" 4:51
22. "Attack on Cloudbase: Desert Symphony" 5:14
23. "Attack on Cloudbase: The Mysterons Attack!" 3:13
24. "Spectrum Strikes Back: Suite" 8:30
25. "End Titles (Song Version)" 1:28
26. "Main Titles (with Series Opening Narration)" 0:48
27. "White as Snow (Commercial Version)" (Stereo) 3:12
28. "Captain Scarlet Theme (Commercial Version)" (Stereo) 2:47

Read more about this topic:  Captain Scarlet And The Mysterons, Production

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