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  • Composed by Isobel Waller-Bridge and David Schweitzer
  • Backlot / 63m

According to Wikipedia, this film is actually called Emma. with a period at the end to signify that it’s a period piece. While this will disappoint those who thought Jane Austen’s novel was set in a dystopian future where (say) a pandemic is just starting to sweep across the world and people are panic-buying toilet paper, it will probably be very reassuring to everyone else and is sure to draw the teenagers to the cinema. The score is provided by Isobel Waller-Bridge and David Schweitzer – both have a number of credits in their own right but have worked together before – and is a bit of a treat.

Back when the previous version of Emma came out, you knew what to expect of the music – composers like Rachel Portman (who did that one) and Patrick Doyle wrote gorgeous, sumptuous romantic scores for films of this ilk – these days you can never quite be sure what you’re going to get now everything has to be so edgy and temp-tracked with The Dark Knight. Well, it’s gorgeous, sumptuous romantic music, starting with a piece of opera and never really letting up. It’s extremely pretty, accomplished music with a surprising amount of period flair; tuneful, classically orchestrated, almost perennially happy. Operatic voices are heard frequently as part of the underscore in a way I haven’t really heard since Ennio Morricone’s Vatel (a score with which this shares some superficial similarities); but it’s not all like that, there’s some very elegant instrumental music as well, both the somewhat inevitable cheery pizzicato strings and some more tender material (“The Proposal” is drop-dead gorgeous). The score makes up just under 40 minutes of the album (the balance being songs and source music) and the only real negative is that a number of cues are very short (on the other hand, there is a delightful six-minute “Suite from Emma” at the end which summarises the surprisingly deep set of thematic material from which the score is built). There’s real quality here so it’s an easy recommendation to make.

Rating: **** | |

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