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Silva Screen Records: "THE INVASION" Music by Don Harper

Don Harper’s soundtrack to the 8-part Doctor Who story made and transmitted in 1968 starring Patrick Troughton as the second Doctor.

Featuring the Brigadier, UNIT, and the Cybermen, this “modern Earth invasion” Doctor Who story was made into a hugely influential series in 1968. Directed by Douglas Camfield, the music was composed by Don Harper, the third Australian émigré composer (after Ron Grainer and Dudley Simpson) to work on the programme.

Don Harper’s music for The Invasion may have been influenced by John Barry’s score for The Ipcress File (1965). Don used the cimbalom in the score, and the artist was most likely John Leach (who also worked under the name Janos Lehar), who played on The Ipcress File, King Rat and The Persuaders.

The instruments used included the organ, cimbalom, percussion, clarinet (doubling clarinets in A and Bb, bass clarinet and oboe), bass guitar, contra-bass clarinet and cor anglais. The percussion consisted of bim bams and temple blocks, timps including piccolo timp and hand timp, as well as cymbal and vibraphone. The organ was a Hammond M100 with Leslie speaker.

The score was augmented by the use of electronic sounds created by Brian Hodgson of the BBC Radiophonic Workshop. There was also “Muzak” by John Baker (referred to as such in the cue sheets for episodes 1 and 2), which had its first outing in an Out of the Unknown episode.

For this 2018 Silva Screen album, Doctor Who composer Mark Ayres have placed the used music together, followed by additional unused cues and the electronic score.

Don Harper (1921 - 1999) was an Australian film and TV composer, jazz violinist and big band conductor. He is best known for his work on Doctor Who, World of Sport, Sexton Blake, Out of the Unknown and Dawn of the Dead, as well as his work with Don Harper’s Sextet and Dave Brubeck’s Quartet. After many years between England and Australia, Harper returned to Australia in order to take up the position of Head of Jazz Studies at the Wollongong University's School of Creative Arts, which he held until 1990. He died in 1999, aged 78.

Don Harper’s music has achieved cult status and in 2005 MF DOOM and Danger Mouse, in their collaborative project DangerDoom, sampled Don Harper's "Chamber Pop" and "Thoughtful Popper". Elements of "Dark Earth" from the Dawn of the Dead soundtrack were used on Gorilazz "Intro" from Demon Days, which was also produced by Danger Mouse. (
Jeremy [Six Strings]

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