The result is an album that not only showcases their skill and understanding for the show, but which stands as an adventurous listening experience on it own.
If you felt that the Series 1 soundtrack was a touch indistinct or repetitious for stretches, you’ll be pleased to know that a great improvement has been made for the Series 2 album. As you move across the 19 tracks there’s an increased sense of musical variation between the three episodes.
From the giddiness and mourning of A Scandal in Belgravia, through the threat and mystery of The Hounds of Baskerville, to the ominous brooding of The Reichenbach Fall, the landscape of Sherlock comes to life with greater scope than before and with a richer, more cinematic feel.
That filmic composition makes sense – at 90 minutes each episode of Sherlock is practically a movie in itself and so deserves a fitting score. Arnold and Price, with many a blockbuster under their batons (as well as 2 Fast 2 Furious), take the musical foundations they laid in the first series and layer on more emotive pieces to reflect Holmes becoming increasingly emotionally compromised.
An entire orchestra, including pan-pipes (yep, the musical instrument of choice for Peruvian bands and consulting detectives) and electro-synth, is carefully decanted into each episode. It’s a noticeable evolution from the last album and yet it’s still unmistakeably Sherlock.
Here we’ve picked out our five favourite tracks. Although be warned, it may just make the wait for Series 3 all the more interminable…
The tune Holmes plays on his violin during A Scandal in Belgravia. It’s only 43 seconds long, so cough and you’ll miss it, but it’s a beautiful, elegiac piece – simply an unaccompanied solo violin playing a mournful tune. It’s so Sherlockian you can imagine Jeremy Brett’s Holmes playing this as he watched the gas-lamps being lit outside of 221B.
Music from the ‘Ta-dah!’ moment in Scandal, ‘SHERlocked’ initially seems to recall part of Hans Zimmer’s Inception score, but quickly turns into a much more delicate and thoughtful piece, as a lone violin threads its way through the large orchestral moments and the quieter piano sections.
The track perfectly captures the bittersweet triumph of the moment, but also the mercurial nature of Sherlock and Irene’s relationship.
‘Pursued by a Hound’
Jagged is perhaps the best way to describe this. Or maybe ragged. Or both. Jagged notes that leave your nerves ragged. Yep, that’s it.
Jarring, aggressive tones that leap out at the listener and threaten even to catch even the most attentive off-guard. It’s skilled composition but it’s so terrifying it’s not music to have on your iPod while walking your dog on a dark evening.
Worth mentioning as it’s one of the few places we hear ‘The Game is On’ (Sherlock‘s action theme). It’s a track of swirling sounds that evoke the mystery of the moor, punctuated by the tense heartbeat of violins and cellos.
‘Prepared To Do Anything’
Charting the encounter between Moriarty and Sherlock and the fall that sent Twitter into a flurry of OMGs. At its most dramatic moments it becomes very reminiscent of Arnold’s work on Bond in the Brosnan years (no bad thing).
Rumbling strings, blaring horns, and thudding percussion lead to an inescapable feeling of doom. Then, just as your last nerve shreds there’s a 16 second crescendo of scratchy violins that ramps up the tension before collapsing to a slower, sadder, and altogether more pensive arrangement of piano and strings. Aaaaand breathe.
Released on CD and download on Monday 27th February 2012 by Silva Screen.
What’s your favourite track on the album? Let us know below…