If there’s one film composer whose music can readily soothe our nerves, it is the talented Alexandre Desplat. Born in Paris, the Oscar nominated composer has been in the limelight recently for the high profile mainstream projects he is involved in. Amongst them is this score from the critically acclaimed film about the stammer afflicted King George VI.
The music direction is clear in this 45 minute soundtrack album. If one is familiar with the French composer’s works, the elegantly orchestrated music on this disc wouldn’t come as a surprise. It is, in fact, apt to regard it as a safe score that is easy on the ears.
“Lionel and Bertie” sets the stately mood with an undemanding presence of strings and woodwinds. The ever pleasant melody from the piano then takes centrestage and a solo tune from the classical instrument is heard. The piano is also featured in upcoming tracks, and plays the score’s main theme in “The King’s Speech”, “My Kingdom, My Rules” and “The Royal Household”.
Elsewhere, the cues performed by a relatively small ensemble are lightweight and almost contained, leaving minimum emotional brunt on the listener. Tracks like “King George VI” and “Queen Elizabeth” do not leave much impression, albeit being very agreeable cues. Otherwise, there are small spurts of playfulness in “The Rehearsal” and tinges of peril in “The Threat of War”, adding some variety to an otherwise customary score album. The last three tracks “Speaking Unto Nations”, “Epilogue” and “The Logue Method” engages listeners with classical music by Beethoven and Mozart.
With this lineup of music which is neither pompously striding nor ostentatiously deafening, some listeners may not see the point of listening past Track 3 of the album. However, this restrained but pleasurable style of music works perfectly for Tom Hooper’s successful film, which is a forerunner of the 83rd Academy Awards with 12 nominations. Having worked on another British historical drama The Queen, Desplat handles this approach of scoring with ease, and is clearly a master at creating a regal yet enjoyably accessible score.
Recommended Track: (7) The Royal Household
Review by John Li
Posted on 6 February 2011