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As You Like It by Patrick Doyle

As You Like It

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As You Like It (Soundtrack) by Patrick Doyle

As You Like It
Composed by Patrick Doyle
Varese Saranbande Records (2007)

Rating: 8/10

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Listen to this soundclip of As You Like ItKabuki Attack (part 1) (426 kb)

Listen to this soundclip of As You Like ItKabuki Attack (part 2) (341 kb)

Listen to this soundclip of As You Like It

Weddings (353 kb)

Listen to this soundclip of As You Like ItLover and His Lass (385 kb)

More clips from As You Like It at


“If you are a sucker for a pretty melody and enjoy the sort of theme that used to flow effortlessly from the pens of composers like Max Steiner, David Raskin, or Alfred Newman, then I say AS YOU LIKE IT has something special to offer you.”

Wax On, Doyle-San!
Review by Christopher Coleman

Director Kenneth Branagh's most recent attempt to bring Shakespeare to the big screen is AS YOU LIKE IT - one of the Bard's most popular comedies. Unfortunately, Branagh was only partially successful. While the film made it to theaters in the United Kingdom, AS YOU LIKE IT only made it the DVD racks in the United States. And, especially in light of the amount of shrot that does actually make it to screens here, it is doubly shameful that this release was so confined. As Kenneth Branagh does with his film-adaptations of Shakespeare's plays, he puts an interesting spin on the telling. Instead of being set in France, the setting is 19th century Japan. Among other things, this choice had a significant effect on the film's score, which was, once again, written by Branagh's composer of choice, PATRICK DOYLE. AS YOU LIKE IT makes it the seventh collaboration between the director and composer and Patrick Doyle waxes on with his own musical eloquence to match that of The Bard's words, and Branagh's offbeat vision.

Director Branagh's choice to set the film in Japan remains as much as mystery as it is compelling. It was certainly eye-catching to see actor Brian Blessed dawning full samurai armor as well as many other characters in quasi-Japanese garb.  The question as to why this setting was preferrable to France was never apparent to me in the context of the film. Whatever Branagh's reasons, that choice of setting did give PATRICK DOYLE opportunity to do something special for the film's score - the inclusion of Japanese instrumentation.

Early in the soundtrack we hear a stronger Japanese influence than we do at its conclusion. Track 1 "Kabuki Attack" is clearly the most "Japanese" of all the music - depicting a Kabuki performance before the royal Duke's court, we here the flute accompanied by harp, finger cymbals, koto and cello. Doyle builds in increasing tension as the coup is preparing to be initiated during the performance. The track concludes with a few moments of action music - which is a rarity through the balance of the score. The aforementioned flute and koto in track 1 are also heard in "Under the Greenwood Tree" (7), and in "Blow Blow" (9). Additionally, taiko drums and a gong are found in track 4, "Too Late a Week," which add a distinct tension to the concluding moments of the piece. But as the score carries on, these elements fade into the background with only an occasional highlight placed upon them.

The hinge of this entire score is the love theme. As the central theme of the play, itself, is that of "love" (and all varying manners of it), it's only natural that the film's main musical-theme be a love theme. We are first given a glimpse of it in track 5, "The Forest of Arden." This rather eclectic track gives a few notes of the title theme on the flute, but merely flirts with us. Doyle teases us further in the very next track "Roynish Clown" (6), again "Eat No More" (8) and yet again in "Thy Brother" (10). It isn't until the closing moments of track 11, "Trip Aubrey" that we get our first taste of the love theme performed more fully on violin. But that final tease if followed by the sumptuously innocent "Fake Wedding" (12) and from here on out the theme, performed on the violin, is the mainstay of the score. All the remaining tracks, save two, prominently feature Doyle's sweet creation.

If you're looking for other, more "active" musical moments, you'll be hard-pressed to find them, but there are a few.  The conclusion of track 1 "Kabuki Attack,"  "Brothers Fight" (2) and a few beats in "Lion Attack" (13) is all you are going to get. Sorry, fellows, but this isn't HENRY V. What this is, is a Shakespearean-romantic comedy with a solid romantic score and Doyle-San waxes musically eloquent and appropriate for this project. AS YOU LIKE IT features one of the composer's most beautiful and memorable themes of his stellar career.  Just have a listen to "Fake Wedding" (17), "Weddings" (19) and "Violin Romance" (19). (Guys, give any one these three tracks a play while apologizing to your girl for burping too loud, forgetting her birthday, or whatever faux pas you have committed, and you'll be forgiven by the track's mid-way point. I promise.)

It truly was a shame that AS YOU LIKE IT did not make it to the US box office as it featured some wonderful acting by Bryce Dallas Howard, Alfred Molina, and David Oyelowo. Additionally, PATRICK DOYLE has a surprisingly significant role as Amiens (an attendant to the banished Duke) and sings two of his own compositions: "Under the Greenwood Tree" (7) "Blow Blow" (9). There is a third vocal piece serving as the finale of the film "A Lover and His Lass" (18) which, albeit fairly brief, can sit well alongside many Broadway finales. If you are a sucker for a pretty melody and enjoy the sort of theme that used to flow effortlessly from the pens of composers like Max Steiner, David Raskin, or Alfred Newman, then AS YOU LIKE IT has something special to offer you.

Rating: 8/10

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Track Title Track Time  Rating
1 Kabuki Attack 6:48  ****
2 Brothers Fight 2:19  ****
3 Niece! 3:14  ****
4 Too Late A Week 1:08  ****
5 The Forest of Arden 4:13  ****
6 Roynish Clown 2:38  ***
7 Under the Greenwood Tree 2:36  ****
8 Eat No More 2:05  ***
9 Blow Blow 2:25  ***
10 Thy Brother 3:57  ****
11 Trip Audrey 1:26  ****
12 Fake Wedding 2:35  *****
13 Lion Attack 3:36  ***
14 Celia & Oliver 1:46  ****
15 I Love Aliena 2:05  ***
15 Tomorrow 3:16  ****
15 Weddings 5:16  *****
15 A Lover & His Lass 2:51  ****
15 Violin Romance 5:04  *****
  Total Running Time (approx) 59 minutes  




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