The Queen (soundtrack) by Kyle Eastwood & Michael Stevens



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The Queen by Alexander Desplat









The Queen (Soundtrack) by Alexander Desplat

The Queen (2006)
Composed by Alexander Desplat
Milan Records

Rating: 7/10

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Listen to this soundclip of The QueenMain Titles (269 kb)

Listen to this soundclip of The QueenA New Prime Minister (372 kb)

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“For a film that delves into the heart of a queen, Alexander Desplat has written a score with much heart.”

King of Queens
Review by Cap Stewart

THE QUEEN details the events immediately following the death of Princess Diana. The story focuses specifically on the contrast of responses between Queen Elizabeth II and Prime Minister Tony Blair. The queen views the event—and her response—as a private affair, while Blair attempts to convince her otherwise. After all, he reasons, Diana was “the people’s princess,” a fact that necessitates a public response from Elizabeth, for the benefit of her subjects (and the world at large).

To score the film, director Stephen Frears brought in French composer Alexandre Desplat. Not having seen the film, I can’t comment on how well the music melds with the visuals. The tone of much of the score is much lighter than I would have expected, considering the subject matter. Then again, the point may be to mirror the queen’s avoidance of any display of public grief. Whatever the case, as a standalone album, THE QUEEN provides a pleasurable listening experience.

From the outset, the monarchy is well represented by a stately declaration of the thematic material, the orchestration expertly capturing a sense of royalty. In fact, a regal atmosphere permeates much of THE QUEEN’s music. Desplat uses electronics throughout the score as well, attempting to point to the modern nature of the story, but they don’t sound out of place. The organic and stately nature of the music is never compromised.

A large portion of the score consists of driving rhythms, pulsing strings and the ever-present timpani. This driving nature may incite the listener (at least, one who hasn’t seen the film) to conjure up images of a traveler exploring new lands and taking in the extraordinary surroundings. I’m particularly fond of Alexander Desplat’s instrumentation (the harpsichord and already-mentioned timpani are put to good use) and orchestration. Whether it’s the flute supported by jittery strings in “A New Prime Minister” (track 4) or the brief harp and harpsichord duet in “Mourning” (track 7), the London Symphony Orchestra is always doing something interesting.

Interestingly, some of the more serious music is laced with nonchalant undertones, maybe hinting once again at the Queen’s attempt to remain calm in the face of national heartbreak. Even the more suspenseful portions of the score lack any real tension. (It could be that I’ve just listened to too many action scores to consider THE QUEEN’s offering as tense.) That’s not to say that there are never any truly serious moments. The aforementioned “Mourning” ushers in a new dynamic to the score with a slow-beating timpani and sorrowful strings. Another serious segment is found in track 16, which closes out the album. This six-minute cue is the original recording of Giuseppe Verdi’s “Libera Me” performed by Lynne Dawson and the BBC Singers at Princess Diana’s funeral service.

For a film that delves into the heart of a queen, Alexander Desplat has written a score with much heart.

Rating: 7/10

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Track Title Track Time  Rating
1 The Queen 2:09  ****
2 Hills of Scottland 2:25  ****
3 People's Princess I 4:08  ****
4 A New Prime Minister 1:55  ***
5 H.R.H. 2:22  ***
6 The Stag 1:50  ***
7 Mourning 3:50  ****
8 Elizabeth & Tony 2:04  ***
9 River of Sorrow 1:59  ***
10 The Flowers of Buckingham 2:28  ***
11 The Queen Drives 1:48  ***
12 Night in Balmoral 1:09  ***
13 Tony & Elizabeth 2:04  ***
14 People's Princess II 4:08  ***
15 Queen of Hearts 3:33  ***
16 Libera Me (Verdi) 6:27  *****
  Total Running Time (approx) 37 minutes  




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