Latest reviews of new albums:
A Royal Affair
  • Composed by Gabriel Yared and Cyrille Aufort
  • MovieScore Media / 2012 / 36:41

A Danish costume drama about the extraordinary turn of events of that country in the 18th century when the mentally ill King Christian VII’s physician became the real power behind the throne, Nikolaj Arkel’s A Royal Affair was well-received earlier in the year at the Berlin Film Festival and has now been released around the world.  The elegant, classical score is by Gabriel Yared and Cyrille Aufort.  I’m not sure what led to this collaboration but the usual problem of multi-composer scores (that they end up either lacking a single musical direction, or that both composers tone their own style down so much that it becomes generic) is avoided; there is a graceful beauty to the music throughout which is very distinctive and very appealing.  Everything sounds appropriately regal; and pleasingly it also treads a careful line between restraint and melodrama, the former being used admirably meaning the effect of the latter is enhanced when it needs to be.

The thematic material is first-rate.  The opening “Caroline’s Theme” is tragic, a surprising darkness of tone hidden behind the attractive melody.  “Love Scene” is wonderfully intense, bursting with drama at first before heading towards its ravishing finale.  Most wonderful of all is the score’s lightest, prettiest music, “Hope Theme”, with a gorgeous piano solo highlighting a wonderful theme.  “Revolution” is a frenzied, exciting piece of high drama, the music making a rare excursion into bold, brassy territory.  “Execution” is strained, brimming with tragedy (as might be expected) and another stand-out.  The stunning, stirring “Adagio” is the best possible conclusion to the album.  It’s a relatively short one but much is packed in and it’s one of those which is so good to hear, it’s always tempting to just play it over again once it’s finished.  It is musically strong and dramatically potent and most definitely worth seeking out.  **** |

Tags: , , ,

  1. André-Cape Town. (Reply) on Sunday 19 August, 2012 at 18:46

    The director’s brief to composers Yared & Aufort was for “romantic music… beautiful themes”…with ‘The Talented Mr Ripley’ as a “principal musical reference”(??). And Yared, with a Lebanese background steeped in French&European cultural traditions, had a palette of Romantic{classical} music and film compositions to inspire him. Regretably DELERUE, ROZSA,MORRICONE, JARRE, PORTMAN, CHOPIN & TCHAIKOVSKY [and their very beautiful music] didn’t resonate with the Yared/Aufort team. Their music is regal, austere & classically constructed but fails to evoke the 18th Century period nor “the passionate romance” of Denmark’s Queen Caroline & Struensee. It’s also a film score I have no intention of listening to again. Pity!

  2. Edmund Meinerts (Reply) on Sunday 26 August, 2012 at 09:04

    Normally I don’t find myself connecting emotionally with scores to period dramas (and I haven’t loved much of Yared’s work up until now) but this one was a nice, pleasant surprise. “Adagio” in particular is a lovely cue. Not sure I’d rate it quite as highly as you, James, but it’s a nice change of pace compared to the blockbuster stuff I tend to gravitate towards.

  3. […] Digital: iTUNES | AMAZON | eMUSIC | SPOTIFY CD: CDBABY | SAE | AMAZON | HMV “The thematic material is first-rate…It’s one of those which is so good to hear, it’s always tempting to just play it over again once it’s finished.” (Movie Wave) […]