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Jane Eyre
  • Composed by Dario Marianelli
  • Sony Classical / 2011 / 44:22

One of the great novels, Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre has received numerous filmed adaptations over the years.  This latest one, directed by Cary Joji Fukunaga, stars Mia Wasikowska as Jane and, inevitably, Judi Dench as someone else.  It has been particularly well-received.  Taking on the scoring duties is Dario Marienelli, whose music for another great period drama, Pride and Prejudice, was responsible for bringing his considerable talents to the attention of many.      

Jane Eyre is, in fact, probably his finest score since that one.  Marianelli follows in some mighty footsteps here – Bernard Herrmann and John Williams are amongst the composers who have written music for past adaptations – and he very much puts his own mark on the work here.  With an elegantly classical sound, enlivened by remarkable playing by violinist Jack Liebeck, the composer offers a sumptuous and surprisingly emotional musical experience.  I must admit – it took me a while to get it.  I was not instantly in love with this score – instead, upon repeated listens, I found myself becoming gradually more taken in by the depth of its feeling, by the passion on display in the composition and the performance.

Dario Marianelli

The emotional journey is as poignant as it is striking.  From the young woman laid bare in “The End of Childhood” through the starkly aloof “Mrs Reed is Not Quite Finished” to the refined beauty of the conclusive “Awaken” and “My Edward and I”, this music remains always beautiful but there are many different shades of beauty.  Marianelli writes in his liner notes that “gradually we see a vibrant and caring young woman emerging, increasingly aware of herself and capable of exerting her own free will.”  It is striking just how strongly this album echoes that journey.

A richly rewarding experience, Jane Eyre is bound to end up as one of the scores of 2011.  As I mentioned, it took me a while to become convinced of its charms, so if you don’t get instant gratification, it’s well worth having some patience.  Marianelli is such a fine composer and he displays a remarkable level of dramatic instinct, too – the perfect combination for a film composer.  This beautiful music is amongst his very finest and just as good as that by the composer’s most obvious contemporary, Alexandre Desplat.  **** 1/2

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  1. Michael (Reply) on Saturday 30 April, 2011 at 02:20

    I still haven’t quite got this one yet. Maybe after a few more listens I will.

    Have you been able to get The Tree of Life off itunes UK yet? I hear its been released early there.

  2. Michael (Reply) on Tuesday 10 May, 2011 at 12:18

    I get it now. Excellent score.