Unforgotten is a British crime drama television series, which initially aired on ITV on 8 October 2015. Written by creator Chris Lang and directed by Andy Wilson. The programme follows two London detectives, DCI Cassie Stuart (Nicola Walker) and DI Sunny Khan (Sanjeev Bhaskar), as they solve cold cases of disappearance and murder. The score features the solo cello of Peter Gregson and Michael Price’s haunting piano.
There are two soundtracks available from Unforgotten, with selections from the 1st and 2nd seasons. Season 1 introduced the End Title theme which has remained throughout the run of the show, and the piano and cello textures which characterised the score. Track 11, Lies and Evasions, contains the danger and anger motifs which have become embedded into the fabric of all three seasons.
Live performance is at the heart of the soundtrack to Unforgotten, with each episode being recorded by the musicians of the London Metropolitan Orchestra, and cello soloist Peter Gregson. The organic sounds of vintage synthesisers and piano recordings treated with tape echo are mixed together back in the studio.
Season 2 saw the score take on a richer and darker sound, layering the original string and cello melodies with an unsettling experimental analog layer. By now, the core group of 12 string players along with Peter Gregson’s solo cello had solidified, and the range of expression within that orchestration began to expand. Track 34, Permission, shows how the theme of redemption, heard in Season 1, had broadened out in scale and instrumentation, and has become one of the signature themes of the show.
Michael Price wrote a score that’s all about the atmosphere and the soundscape works very well outside the context of the TV show; This is the perfect score for a rainy afternoon, for that sensation of enjoying the persistent rain with the melancholy it brings while also cherishing the thought that the rain will be over and the sun will come out again. I can imagine days when I will return to this beautiful and elegant score and take shelter in its comfortable reflective ambient padded with the sounds of a piano and a violin. If there is a season 3 I will surely remember how much I enjoyed “Unforgotten series 2”.
Most thriller scores goes dark too soon, and too much, but this one varies quite a bit with brighter spots in between. Don’t get me wrong, it’s dark and it’s supposed to be, but I don’t feel all hopeless here. Price is great at using the instruments well and to put it to great use. It feels like every time I hear the violin for example, it’s with a great purpose and the score really needed it at that exact moment. It keeps the score fresh and interesting, and also quite beautiful. Interestingly my biggest complaint for the series 1 score was the construction of the album and the cues. This one doesn’t seem to have similar issues which is great. Maybe I’ll have to go back listening to the series 1 score again as I might find it more appealing now after having listened to the series 2 score. In any case, this is a really great score and shouldn’t be forgotten.
Abbey Road Studios
The London Metropolitan Orchestra