Sherlock is a British crime television series based on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes detective stories. Created by Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss, it stars Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock Holmes and Martin Freeman as Doctor John Watson. 13 episodes have been produced, with four three-part series airing from 2010 to 2017, and a special episode that aired on 1 January 2016. The score for all episodes has been composed by David Arnold and Michael Price, and has won numerous awards, including an EMMY in 2014, 2 more EMMY nominations and a BAFTA nomination.
“If Michael Price & David Arnold did not exist, it would be necessary for Man to invent them. Their contribution to ‘Sherlock’ is immeasurable. Thrilling, cheeky, sinister, playful and simply world-class…The music’s not bad either.”
The soundtracks for Series 1-4 and The Abominable Bride are available from all streaming music sites, and on CD worldwide. There is also a special edition vinyl album with highlights from Series 1-3.
|Themes from Sherlock
|Addicted to a Certain Lifestyle
|The Woman Theme
|Solo violin & piano
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.
Fully cementing their place as the Holmes & Watson of collaborative composition with their third Sherlock album, David Arnold and Michael Price have once again produced a responsive mix of rousing, cheeky, and surprising tracks. While some have bridled at Series 3 pushing the boundaries of what a Sherlock story can be, it has at least challenged the music to accompany it. The result is an album of instrumental innovation and thematic diversity.
As the show has become more elaborate so too has the orchestration. There’s an increase in experimentation, such as in the bass-indulgent ‘Stag Night’, but also an engagement with the classic hallmarks of cinematic composition, creating a lush filmic sensation that accentuates the big-screen ambition of the show.
Most notable is the greater use of the string section, which stirs within you an elegance and dynamism usually associated with one of Arnold’s Bond soundtracks: the opening to ‘#SherlockLives’ is so sweepingly grand in that ‘agent abroad’ sort of way that you’d think it had been written for Benedict Cumberbatch’s sleuth to emerge from a crystal blue sea in his swimming trunks (there’s a free mental image for your brain to ‘right click and save’ on).
As Sherlock‘s third run pushed the great 21st trendsetter detective and his chums into new areas of emotion, so the soundtrack takes the orchestra and listener on a parallel audio journey. There’s excitement, there’s lugubriousnes – heck, there’s even a spot of dubstep – but this is the indisputable sound of Sherlock Holmes.