- Composed by Alexandre Desplat
- Decca B0015064-02 / 2010 / 41:05
That great, undefinable quantity “Oscar buzz” surrounds The King’s Speech, which sees Colin Firth playing Great Britain’s monarch during the Second World War, George VI. The King had a terrible speech impediment, which is the subject of this film; particularly his relationship with the Australian speech therapist he engaged to help with his problem. Firth is hotly-tipped to win an Oscar for his role in the film; it would be unsurprising if Alexandre Desplat won one too, for his excellent music, which has already attracted the attention of most of the earlier award-giving bodies. The composer’s career so far has not been short of quality music for quality films; this score is another delight. Surprisingly light and airy, it’s actually one of the composer’s warmest efforts to date – those who accuse him of sometimes being too clinical and cold will have no grounds for such complaint here.
The graceful main theme, usually heard for solo piano, is classically beautiful and supremely elegant. Beyond that, it’s simply so deft – there’s even a hint of playfulness. It’s vintage Desplat, sure to become a large favourite amongst his fans. There are several other ideas too – a clever, swirling, almost hypnotic style used for the darker moments, the composer successfully conveying the monarch’s sense of frustration. Another, very warm theme accompanies the relationship between the two main characters. A pair of magnificent Beethoven excerpts round out the album, which – in yet another particularly strong year for the composer – is probably Desplat’s most satisfying of the year. Few, if any, modern film composers are able to bring such a light touch to such a serious film and make it work so well; fewer still are able to write music of such genuine warmth without succumbing to even the tiniest whiff of schmaltz. Simply wonderful. **** 1/2