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The Blue Planet
Album Cover Art
2001 BBC
2002 Koch
Album 2 Cover Art
2018 Silva Screen
Album 3 Cover Art
Composed, Conducted, and Produced by:

Orchestrated by:
Geoffrey Alexander

Performed by:
BBC Concert Orchestra

The Choir of Magdalen College, Oxford
Labels Icon
BBC Music
(November 7th, 2001)

Koch Records
(January 27th, 2002)

Silva Screen Records
(March 23rd, 2018)
Availability Icon
The BBC album of 2001 was released in the United Kingdom and Australia, available as an import in America for $22 before the Koch Records re-issue of 2002 normalized the product globally. Both editions fell out of print within ten years. The 2018 album from Silva Screen is primarily a European release, again available in America as a higher priced import.
Winner of an Emmy Award and nominated for a BAFTA Award.
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Availability | Awards | Viewer Ratings | Comments | Audio & Track Listings | Notes
Buy it... if you seek the impressive symphonic score that inspired George Fenton's glorious music for the subsequent nature productions Deep Blue and Planet Earth.

Avoid it... if the lighter, acoustic side of The Blue Planet, far more prevalent here than in those subsequent works, fragments the listening experience too badly to justify the purchase of material that was improved upon for Deep Blue anyway.
Review Icon
WRITTEN 12/17/01, REVISED 5/14/18
The Blue Planet: (George Fenton) Wildly popular in the United Kingdom, this eight-hour long series of shows by the BBC Natural History Unit aired in 2001 after its crew spent years collecting breathtaking original footage to create one of the most comprehensive ocean wildlife films of all time. The ambitious project offered a look into nearly every element of marine life, and its spectacular cinematography earned it both respect and popular success on the BBC. It was among the first of a new generation of incredible wildlife productions for television that arguably culminated in Planet Earth later in the decade. Three years prior to the debut of The Blue Planet, as the film was being assembled by teams of photographers from around the globe, the producers approached one of the foremost British composers of television and film, George Fenton, to compose the lengthy mass of music required for the episodes. The event allowed Fenton the opportunity to write for a magnificent scope that would be expected for an IMAX project, leaving no instrument unused in his effort to adequately compliment the expansive and diverse elements of the sea. After the completion of the score, the BBC Concert Orchestra and the Choir of Magdalen College in Oxford were so impressed and enthusiastic about their own performances of the score that a live concert of music from the show was arranged by the composer. On October 13th, 2001, both performing groups assembled with Fenton in the Royal Festival Hall to present highlights from the score while the show's David Attenborough narrated passages from the program projected onto a giant screen in the hall. The spectacle was followed, naturally, by a highly anticipated CD album of the music. Nobody could have expected that Fenton's music for The Blue Planet would introduce a musical style that was destined to dominate his career in the 2000's. As impressive as this score seemed at the time, Fenton elaborated on the same ideas for the Deep Blue big screen adaptation of the show a few years later and, eventually, take the concept a step further for television's Planet Earth.

Ratings Icon
Average: 3.81 Stars
***** 231 5 Stars
**** 157 4 Stars
*** 95 3 Stars
** 60 2 Stars
* 42 1 Stars
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FVSR Reviews The Blue Planet
Brendan Cochran - September 9, 2014, at 12:26 p.m.
1 comment  (748 views)
Thoughtful and Potent
Giv - November 8, 2010, at 5:38 p.m.
1 comment  (1417 views)
Excellent score
Sheridan - January 30, 2007, at 5:02 a.m.
1 comment  (2049 views)

Track Listings Icon
Audio Samples   ▼
All Albums Tracks   ▼Total Time: 55:12
• 1. The Blue Planet (2:49)
• 2. Sardine Run (3:29)
• 3. Spinning Dolphins (2:38)
• 4. Bluewhale (4:45)
• 5. Thimble Jelly Fish (2:09)
• 6. Surfing Snails (1:49)
• 7. Emperors (4:19)
• 8. Turtles (2:15)
• 9. Sharks (3:43)
• 10. Stingray (2:02)
• 11. Baitball (4:26)
• 12. The Deep Ocean (6:27)
• 13. Elephant Seal March (2:36)
• 14. Frozen Oceans (1:23)
• 15. Coral Wonder (2:25)
• 16. Killer Whales (7:49)

Notes Icon
The packaging of the 2001 product is very unique. The entire jewel case is blue tinted and has the title of the program printed directly on the exterior. The insert contains a note from George Fenton along with performing and recording credits. Subsequent editions simplified the packaging considerably. The following excerpt is taken from the 2001 album's insert and a BBC interview with Fenton from the same year:

    "Three years ago when I was asked to write the music, I imagined footage which would be awesome, terrifying and magnificent. It is all of these things, but my lasting impression and for me the greatest achievement is that the remarkable films Alastair Fothergill, Martha Holmes and Andy Byatt have made, actually manage to make the oceans feel as natural a habitat as the land. They have achieved this by a spectacular mix of scientific knowledge and dramatic flair. They love what they do and it shows. The same is true of David Attenborough. His commentaries are distinguished in their understanding, love of the subject and luckily for me, their musicality.

    Because the visual image isn't rich, because there's nothing out there, on the screen you see one thing, there's nothing behind it, or in front of it, or around it. You can't write around the back of anything, as it were because there's nothing there. I kind of became unstuck with this peculiar world, it's a strange world the deep. From a musical point of view you tend to write music that is about what it would feel like to be in that submarine going down that deep. It would feel dangerous, it would feel dark, it would feel courageous. You need it and want it to feel specific to the film it's for.

    I never would have imagined using an orchestra to play in the deep. And I suppose its because the curious thing about the deep is it's a film made in the part of the ocean where no-one can get out with a camera. That precludes hearing any sound out there which to me felt like it should also preclude hearing anybody actually playing. If you heard anybody actually blowing a trumpet or sawing away at a cello it would almost seem like it was impinging on the atmosphere of the deep. There is no available way to explain to anybody what 300 times surface pressure sounds like because no-one has ever heard it. It needs to be explained and David Attenborough explains it very well, but I think that even he should feel like a visitor. Less people have been down there than have walked on the moon."
Copyright © 2001-2021, Filmtracks Publications. All rights reserved.
The reviews and other textual content contained on the site may not be published, broadcast, rewritten
or redistributed without the prior written authority of Christian Clemmensen at Filmtracks Publications. All artwork and sound clips from The Blue Planet are Copyright © 2001, 2002, 2018, BBC Music, Koch Records, Silva Screen Records and cannot be redistributed without the label's expressed written consent. Page created 12/17/01 and last updated 5/14/18.
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