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part of a small rebellion | by maryann johanson

‘Doctor Who: Music of the Spheres’

This really only works if you were in the audience at the BBC Proms, the annual orchestral classical concert series at the Royal Albert Hall, but still: it’s a bit of new Doctor Who, and we’ll take what we can get right now:

(via Proper Dave in comments, and several folks by email)

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  • Jan Willem

    With a little imagination, it’s not too difficult to imagine how this plays out if the audience is game. You feel a bit silly shouting back at your computer screen at home, though. Better not try it in the workplace, I guess.
    I went to a Proms concert sometime in the eighties. After a performance of “The Unanswered Question” by Charles Ives, the traditionally irreverent speech choir down in the arena chanted: “Arena to Charles Ives: 42!”

  • A review in today’s Times sums up the atmosphere of the concert pretty well.


    To really appreciate this scene, I’m afraid you had to be there. (Sorry if that sounds smug.) With the Doctor’s sheet music exploding on to the orchestra and the Graske running about on stage, it was almost like BEING in a Doctor Who story. The kids there will cherish the memory for the rest of their lives… as will I. It was that exciting.

  • Karen R

    I don’t know how David Tennant does what he does with his voice. His voice is a musical instrument all unto itself … the high falsettos of “Oi, get out of my TARDIS,” to the absolutely melting deep tones of “That, is the music of the spheres.” (It’s the same way he said “Foon” in VoTD and it still hits me, well, you know where. It’s so sensual and grounded and earthy.)

    Anywho, he’s got the most tremendous instrument [insert as much innuendo as you like] and he plays it like a true musician. He must be something to see/hear on live stage.

    Also, did y’all catch that little endearing wink he gave when he said “children”?

    And thanks to the writers for the message at the end. I am a musician and lately have been doing more sound healing work with the ill and dying. Everybody *does* have a song inside. I’ve seen it. We’re all energy; we’re all sound waves. All of it. We’re all the music of the spheres. When you close your eyes and think about it and hum, it’s the most connecting, reassuring concept in the universe. Because, how could you ever really be alone?

  • Weimlady

    Proper Dave, thanks for the link. Can’t believe they actually said this out loud:

    It’s kind of . . . how kids would be on Christmas Eve; if Christmas was in some way holy.

    Would like to shake the hand that wrote than sentence!

    Karen R., I am also totally enthralled with David’s voice. If I had to give up one or t’other–seeing him or hearing him ever again–I would have to go without his image, rather than give up the sound of him. Karen, could I ask you to e-mail me privately? Would love to talk to you about sound healing. k9lovers at bright.net Thanks!

  • Karen R

    Weimlady, sure.

  • To really appreciate this scene, I’m afraid you had to be there. (Sorry if that sounds smug.) With the Doctor’s sheet music exploding on to the orchestra and the Graske running about on stage, it was almost like BEING in a Doctor Who story.

    No doubt true, but playing the video of the story in sync with the audio from the Proms itself gave more life to it, since you could hear the audience reaction at least. :)

  • Barb Gorczyca

    I listened to the concert online and DT’s skit worked great using the live audience. Watching the skit on YouTube without the audience is a bit different. If they do add this as a DVD-extra, I hope they include the bit as it was shown live at the concert – the best way.

    I also adore David’s voice and usually get whatever I can that’s available on CD that he’s done.

  • In case anyone wants to try the ‘play Who video with Prom audio’ routine, the audio of the Proms is here until August 3:


    Mute your video and let that be your audio. :)

    This is part 1 of the concert. The Doctor Who short is at the end of the segment.

  • Does the BBC iPlayer work outside the UK?

  • Jan Willem

    That was an excellent idea! Many thanks, Bill. Nice Christmas panto vibe in the Albert Hall.
    Funny to see and hear all this just after finishing Musicophilia, the latest book by neurologist and master storyteller Oliver Sacks, in which music is shown to create some order in lives that have been ravaged by dementia in ways that you wouldn’t believe. Another bewitching conjunction of science and music. Not science fiction, though.

  • Jan Willem

    And yes, Proper Dave, the BBC iPlayer does work outside the UK. That is to say, in Holland it does. However, I cannot vouch for the experience of consumers in other territories, let alone on other continents.

  • Poly in London

    BBC radio live online and listen again worked outside the UK before the iplayer. Obviously they kept the same status.

  • Mo

    Dave: yeah, the radio/audio only part of the iplayer works worldwide (thank goodness)and has since before it was even the iplayer. It’s the videos that have been blocked. I know there would be a lot of disgruntled international 6 Music fans if audio had been cut off too.

    Even without video, just being able to hear it all in the broadcast version gives a pretty vivid picture of how mental it all was. I could imagine being there, anyway. :D

    As far as waiting for Christmas goes, I guess something is better than nothing, eh?

    Speaking of the concert as a whole, oh my word how underrated is Murray Gold and his soundtrack for this show? I’ve always loved his themes, but getting the full force of them on their own like that…it’s awe inspiring. The piece called “The Doctor Forever”, for instance- how many heroes even in movies get themes that cool and moving and powerful to back them up? The Doctor has several. ^.^

  • Lisa
  • I wondered when someone would take the video and mash it together with the concert audio like that. :)

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