The Pride and Prejudice Soundtrack
By Dario Marianelli Before filming ever began on Joe Wright’s Pride and Prejudice, he knew the type of soundtrack he wanted—and he knew who he wanted to write it: Dario Marianelli, best known for his scores for The Brothers Grimm and I Capture the Castle. Wright wanted music that would sound appropriate for the period—something Jane Austen herself, might have listened to or played; music that would seem not to be written for the movie, but taken from life. Since the film is set in 1797, the same year that Jane Austen wrote the first draft of Pride and Prejudice, Marianelli found inspiration not only in the composers of the time, but also in dances, chamber pieces and Beethoven’s piano Sonatas.
At times haunting and lonely, at others lilting and flirtatious, his music is the perfect accompaniment to Jane’s own “two or three families in a country village.” In keeping with that feeling,Marianell never uses more than three or four instruments at a time, performed by French pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet and the English Chamber Orchestra. Often we are treated to piano solos, which become Elizabeth Bennet’s voice on her journey towards self discovery. As in Nick Dear’s 1995 version of Persuasion, Joe Wright has chosen to show us less of the “light, bright and sparkling” and more of the grime of life. Pigs do wander into gardens and people do forget to comb their hair. We are given a more accurate portrait of true Georgian life, rather than the shiny image we like to imagine.
And yet, perhaps this adds to the realism of the piece, as if, some how, these characters might be real people, their pain and triumphs as deeply felt as yours or mine. And the similarities do not end there. Composers for both films found ways to incorporate period pieces into their music, underscoring their historic feel. As Jeremy Sams did with Chopin’s piano sonatas, so Marianelli mixes in bits of Purcell and militia music into his score. However, he does it with such grace and dexterity, it’s difficult to discover where this music lets off and his music picks up. Although the main theme often reminds us of that of Mansfield Park or Mrs. Dalloway, in the end Pride and Prejudice has a sound all it’s own.
Through the 17 tracks provided, we are given a summary of the story from Elizabeth’s point of view. We can hear the excitement of the Militia Marching In to Meryton, the pain and pleasure of Another Dance, the kinship Elizabeth finds with Georgiana when she discovers her at the piano, the tension Darcy’s Letter brings, and at last, Elizabeth’s joy as she revels in being Mrs. Darcy. Tracks include:
- Stars And Butterflies
- The Living Sculptures Of Pemberly
- Meryton Townhall
- The Militia Marches In
- Arrival To Netherfield
- A Postcard To Henry Purcell
- Liz On Top Of The World
- Leaving Netherfield
- Another Dance
- The Secret Life Of Daydreams
- Darcy's Letter
- Can't Slow Down
- Your Hands Are Cold
- Mrs. Darcy
Laura Boyle is a fan of all things Austen and is happy to have the chance to review this CD. She also runs Austentation: Regency Accessories, creating custom made hats, bonnets, reticules and more for customers around the globe. Special thanks to Ron Aylor for his help in discovering the name of the militia march played on this CD (The Militia Marches In) Mr. Aylor hosts the British Regimental Drums and Colours site. The name of the tune is The British Grenadiers. The Grenadier Guards were the royal household regiment and partook in many historic battles. This is their regimental march. One of the most recognizable regimental marches, it first appeared in print in 1775, though it was based on “The New Bath” a piece found in one of Playford’s dance books of the 1600’s.