Oliver Postgate and Peter Firmin were giants of British animation, creating Bagpuss, Noggin the Nog, Ivor the Engine and, of course, The Clangers. With their stop motion animation studio, Smallfilms, they have delighted legions of fans young and old over the last 50 or so years. Part of the charm of Smallfilms was the craftsy handmade products they made, and that could also be reflected in the magical music. I've already discussed that the Bagpuss Soundtrack had recently been released on vinyl but far more exciting for me is the recent re-release of the out of print Clangers Original Television Music by Vernon Elliot.
The music is from the original 26 episode run of the series from 1969, which was recorded in a local Kentish village hall. 50 years after their initial recording, these pieces of music have lost none of their wonder and charm. The Clangers soundtrack remains a seminal work piece of work, not just of children’s television, but of music as a whole. Composer Elliot's contribution to The Clangers was great as he created a warm and recognisable soundscape in an alien world. Listening to the music away from the show you can appreciate the craftsmanship that went onto the compositions; it is all beautifully minimalist performed mostly on a bassoon (in which Elliot was an expert) and a clarinet, harp, glockenspiel and flute. Highlights for me include Music, Cloud and Music of the Spheres as they are all very unique soundscape pieces that stand on their own.
The Clangers Soundtrack is a wonderful album that can be appreciated for its music in isolation from the show and is highly recommended.