Sherlock: Series 1 & 2

Composed By: David Arnold & Michael Price

Distributed by: Silva Screen Records

Reviewed by Melissa Minners


            The BBC television series Sherlock is a modern-day update of the Sherlock Holmes character created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in the late 1800s.  The series stars Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock Holmes and Martin Freeman as Dr. John Watson.  Although their adventures take place in 21st Century London, the spirit behind those adventures and the relationship between Holmes and Watson remains the same.  The show has already completed two series of three 30-minute episodes each and production on a third series is slated to begin in 2013.  In 2012, Silva Screen Records released the soundtracks of Series 1 and 2 of Sherlock.

            The music of the Sherlock series was created through the collaboration of David Arnold and Michael Price.  David Arnold is a British composer whose career began in his youth, performing clarinet, guitar and keyboards in school bands, orchestras, concert halls, nightclubs and pubs.  His enthusiasm for film led him to a partnership with Danny Cannon.  Together they created the film Strangers, for which he created, orchestrated and conducted the musical score.  From there, David Arnold went on to compose musical scores for The Young Americans, Stargate, Independence Day, Shaft, Enough, Changing Lanes, Tomorrow Never Dies and more.

            Michael Price is British composer, producer, arranger and editor whose musical career began at Surrey University where he won a PRS composition prize in 1990.  His first work in film began in 1996 when he was invited by Michael Kamen to work on electronic sounds for the movie Event Horizon.  Since then he has composed musical scores for television and film, including Brotherly Love, Hot Fuzz and The Inbetweeners Movie.

            The musical score created for Sherlock: Series 1 features a definitive theme that appears in various shapes and forms throughout the rest of the soundtrack.  The main theme features what sounds to me to be a harpsichord, which would serve as a nod to the timeframe of the original series by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.  The rest of the score has a definite exotic feel featuring exotic strings and horns, adding to the mystery surrounding Holmes' cases.  Electronic sound makes its way into the mix, modernizing the soundtrack and adding some depth and excitement to tracks like Pursuit, Elegy and Sandbag.  Heavy percussion is used to accentuate scenes and punctuate important moments.  The soundtrack ends with Final Act, a track in which the music rises in crescendo and volume until it reaches its peak.

            The musical score created for Sherlock: Series 2 begins quite differently from the Series 1 Soundtrack.  Rather than starting with the Sherlock Theme, this album begins with Irene's Theme, a beautiful violin solo.  The musical score following this opening track is more orchestral than that of Series 1 and a bit more edgy and intense.  There are still moments in which the exotic and electronic music makes its way back into the score, but, for the most part, the Series 2 Soundtrack is drastically different from the first and thus, unique. 

            When one thinks of television series, they think of at least 13 episode seasons, but Sherlock features only 3 thirty-minute episodes in each season, yet David Arnold and Michael Price have come up with two lengthy and quite enjoyable soundtracks to enhance the viewing experience.  Although from the same series, the Sherlock: Series 1 and the Sherlock: Season 2 Soundtracks are different enough that you are not in danger of being bored by monotonous themes being replayed over and over.  Each soundtrack is unique and well-worth the listen.


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