In an attempt to escape the Murder Mystery Black Hole that seems to have sucked me in, I have chosen as today’s topic: the Gormenghast Original Soundtrack, as performed by the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra (I didn’t even know the BBC had a Philharmonic Orchestra) and something called The Academy of Ancient Music, which gives you some idea of what the music is like. No Tinie Tempah here.
For those of you who don’t know, Gormenghast was filmed as a TV series on the BBC a few years back, and this is the music from it. I never saw the TV series, but we had the CD at home, so, given my recent reading of the novels, I was understandably interested in it. (Actually, I think looking at the CD case was what inspired me to read the book.)
Anyway, something that immediately struck me was the order in which the music has been placed: it’s not chronological. At all. Funny thing, I said to myself, surely the Christening was before the Burning of the Library? And Keda is in completely the wrong place. Why they’ve chosen to order it in this way I don’t know. But really, it’s just a pedantic gripe. It doesn’t really affect my listening at all.
Onto the actual music. “Song of Titus” is the first track on there. I didn’t realise at first that the words to “Song of Titus” are actually the words of the Professors’ incantation in Gormenghast, part of which is quoted above. I always imagined that the poem would have a rather different rhythm and feel to what it is given in the music; it should, I feel, be more monotonous, more repetitive. But the middle section is good, capturing the essence of the great kingdom of stone that is Gormenghast.
Other stand-out tracks include “Burning the Library” – I knew what that was even before I looked at the title on the case, it just captures Steerpike’s deviousness so well – and “Cat Room”, which is lovely and sinister. “Irma’s Romance” is good, as well, with a romantic theme on the top countered by a humorous bass line (I’m sorry, I can’t think of any other way to describe it), which is perfect for the ridiculousness of Irma and Bellgrove’s courtship.
Phew. I think I have escaped the Black Hole. Wish me luck on my continued voyage through the perils of L-space. (See The Globe, by Terry Pratchett, Ian Stewart and Jack Cohen.)