The King’s Speech/Desplat

January 4, 2011

Lionel and Bertie

King’s Speech

Nominated for seven Golden Globe nominations including director, picture, supporting actress and actor, best actor, screenplay, and original score, this  UK film starring Colin Firth, Geoffrey Rush, and Helena Bonham Carter, directed by Tom Hooper has already generated Oscar buzz. It tells the story of King George VI and how he overcame his stuttering.

Desplat has been nominated for an Oscar for The Queen, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, and The Fantastic Mr. Fox with The King’s Speech probably his fourth nomination in five years. He has also been nominated for 5 Golden Globes with The Painted Veil winning the award. He is one of Hollywood’s busiest composers having done material for 26 films in the last five years with several more in the works as I type. He seems to be on a pace to surpass Victor Young in his work load!

The overall mood of the music is serious and dark with piano and strings providing the majority of the underscore. The exception is the whimsical main title. Beethoven’s second movement from his Seventh Symphony, the “allegretto” as well as the second movement of his Emperor Piano Concerto were also used. The actual microphones used by George VI were located and used to record the orchestra making it sound like what it would be back in the 30’s but still much higher quality than what they were capable of with acetates being the way they recorded at the time. “The King’s Speech” has the Desplat sound with the piano playing in a happy tune very Mozart like. Desplat said “light, bittersweet, Mozart-esque mood. It is a theme which struggles to find a completion.” The theme is also repeated in “My Kingdom, My Rules,” “The Royal Household,” and “Fear and Suspicion.” “The Threat of War” is a serious track describing the situation of the impending war. Not melodic in anyway, it is a dark and foreboding track. On “Lionel and Bertie” you can hear the lower dynamic range of the material due to the use of the microphones and it is somewhat distant, a disadvantage to your listening. It is quite a majestic and proud theme with a simple piano solo ending the track. The solemn funeral tempo material is also repeated in “Memories of Childhood.” I’ve included a sound clip so that you may hear what I’m talking about as well as a preview of the wonderful Mozart theme.

This is a must have for your collection if you enjoy the style of Desplat or like to collect award winning soundtracks. I like Desplat’s arranging, orchestration and melodies so I enjoyed the listen to this soundtrack while I did my review with the exception of the beginning of the first track which I found quite annoying. Recommended

Track listing

1.       Lionel And Bertie (02:10)

2.       The King’s Speech (03:54)

3.       My Kingdom, My Rules (02:51)

4.       The King Is Dead (02:06)

5.       Memories Of Childhood (03:36)

6.       King George VI (03:05)

7.       The Royal Household (01:43)

8.       Queen Elizabeth (03:35)

9.       Fear And Suspicion (03:24)

10.     The Rehearsal (01:42)

11.     The Threat Of War (03:56)

12.     Speaking Unto Nations (Beethoven Symphony No.7 – II) (05:02)

13.     Epilogue (Beethoven Piano Concerto No.5 “Emperor” – II) (03:56)

Total Duration: 00:41:00

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2 Responses to “The King’s Speech/Desplat”

  1. Billy Sweden Says:

    Is “Mary” Bonham Carter related to Helena?

  2. Joe Says:

    Thanks for the review. I loved the movie and the music.


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