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Wednesday, December 16, 2009


Merlin - Series Two
Music by Rob Lane and Rohan Stevenson
MovieScore Media MMS-09027
20 Tracks 52:19 mins

The second series of BBC's Merlin concludes this weekend, and another entertaining, if far-fetched journey it has been, as long, of course, as you accept that it plays fast and loose with the Arthurian legends. But then, in these days of vampires who walk around in daylight and Robin Hood's love, Maid Marian, killed, it seems anything goes.
Composer for the first series, Rob Lane, returned, and Rohan Stevenson, who composed additional music on series one, is credited as co-composer in his own right on MovieScore Media's new release of music from series two, with their individual efforts duly noted in the track listings. The label of course released an album to accompany series one, but it sadly only featured music from the early episodes and, though I was hoping, no further album for that series was released. The series two album only clocks in at around 52 minutes, which still appears to leave many episodes not covered, which is a pity but, maybe one day more of the great unreleased music from both series may see the light of day - we can but hope!
Of course the album gets underway with a reprise of the splendid main theme, and immediately segues into the dark and menacing "Sigan's Revenge," with the Philharmonia Chorus joining in with the Slovak National Symphony Orchestra (conductor, Allan Wilson). There's some serious evil afoot in "The Attraction of Evil," which features yet more powerful choral work; so, after all this, it's a relief to hear the lovely, though too brief, harp and violin duet of "Gwen & Arthur." A soaring soprano voice introduces the mystical "Avalon," though things quickly take a dark and conspiratorial turn. Comic relief is provided by the jaunty "The Substitute Knight," which leads into more serious business with pounding drums introducing the driving choral action of "The Joust." The fateful choral opening of "Myror the Assassin" leads into more propulsive action, ending in a sinister climax.
A solo violin lament opens "Lancelot Leaves," with strings and horns duly tugging at the heartstrings. "The Machinations of Cedric" mixes comedy with stealth, and leads to more dark intrigue in "The Mark of the Raven. "Sigan's Tomb" features more intrigue and dark menace, but with a little light-heartedness thrown in and electronics, used sparingly up to this point, are more evident. "Settlement Attack" features much percussive action, with electronics again much in evidence.
A new name to me, James Gosling, contributes the heartbreaking choral "Gaius Arraigned," which is followed by more emotional fare, with a touch of Braveheart about it, in "Farewell to Gwen." Light-hearted sneakiness follows in "The Forged Seal," giving way to the action of "Lancelot's Heroism," which is somewhat spoilt by the electronic brass."Morgana's Nightmares" is mostly dark and mysterious stuff, whilst "Hiding Excalibur" features suitably uplifting music for the magical blade.
I'm not quite sure which episode the lengthy "Finale" comes from, but it opens with a reprise of the Braveheart-like theme, before developing into an extended and exciting choral action sequence, which ends very satisfyingly, with a soaring wordless choral of the main theme. With this track alone, Rob Lane proves that he really should be writing for the big screen. The man has long been one of the best British composers for the small screen but, his talent deserves much wider recognition, and his back catalogue is ripe for release on CD. Someone? Anyone?
You can hear samples of Merlin-Series Two at, where you will also receive guidance as to how to get hold of your copy of the album, either on CD, or as a download.


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