Who composed the music for the BBC’s new Dracula series?
The BBC certainly gave us something to sink our teeth into at the start of the month, but who was responsible for giving Dracula its musical bite?
If you’re yet to delve into the new three-part adaptation of Bram Stoker’s Dracula, then you’re missing a gruesome, lavish and sometimes comic treat.
It comes from the pens of Sherlock writers Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat, who have crafted another impressive take on a Victorian literature classic.
For this latest small screen adventure they bring with them Sherlock’s composing team, David Arnold and Michael Price, who gave the eccentric detective some 21st-century swagger.
For this opulent, blood-drenched take on the Prince of Darkness, the pair take traditional orchestral musicians and spatter them with all manner of inventive effects.
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It’s a mix of murky orchestral dirges, some romantic sweep (thanks in part to cello and solo vocals) and a coffin-load of unusual sounds.
Soloists who appear in the score include London Sinfonietta cellists Tim Gill and Caroline Dale, electric cellist Peter Gregson and soprano Grace Davidson.
To say Arnold and Price brought everything but the kitchen sink is right, but if it’s ever too much it remains somehow just right.
Like the writing and on-screen performances, it’s well balanced between comedy, drama and horror.
Arnold (who is perhaps best known for his James Bond scores) revealed at the series launch that they experimented with all manner of unsavoury sounds, including glass rubbing with real blood, coffin lid percussion and an ‘organ’ of screaming baby sound effects.
Regardless of any sound design gimmickry, the result is memorable, dramatic and sometimes downright terrifying.
You can watch Dracula right now on BBC iPlayer in the UK, or on Netflix elsewhere in the world. David Arnold and Michael Price’s original music is available on Silva Screen Records from 10 January.
Michael is the Reviews Editor of BBC Music Magazine. He was previously a freelance film music journalist and spent 15 years at St George's Bristol. Michael specialises in film and television music and was the Editor of MusicfromtheMovies.com. He has written for the BBC Proms, BBC Concert Orchestra, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Royal Albert Hall, Hollywood in Vienna and Silva Screen Records.