18 Songs, 42 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Director Saul Dibbs’ period piece/examination of the personal and political intrigues of aristocrat Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire, won an Academy Award for its 18th-century costume recreations. Yet while English composer Rachel Portman’s elegant, bittersweet score makes bowings to similar epoch conceits, its musical essence is actually a masterful sleight of hand that wraps expected period chamber orchestra trappings around a forcefully modern soul that’s evident from its stately title motif. Portman’s musical forte has long been portraying the interior landscape, and her cues here range from sunny interpolations of Beethoven and Haydn to her own more brooding, introspective cues. Yet the more conflicted and complex the personality, the subtler she uses her musical palette, with this score being another fine example of that masterful, instinctive artistic restraint.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Director Saul Dibbs’ period piece/examination of the personal and political intrigues of aristocrat Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire, won an Academy Award for its 18th-century costume recreations. Yet while English composer Rachel Portman’s elegant, bittersweet score makes bowings to similar epoch conceits, its musical essence is actually a masterful sleight of hand that wraps expected period chamber orchestra trappings around a forcefully modern soul that’s evident from its stately title motif. Portman’s musical forte has long been portraying the interior landscape, and her cues here range from sunny interpolations of Beethoven and Haydn to her own more brooding, introspective cues. Yet the more conflicted and complex the personality, the subtler she uses her musical palette, with this score being another fine example of that masterful, instinctive artistic restraint.

TITLE TIME
1:41
3:27
3:41
0:59
1:57
2:57
3:16
1:25
1:53
2:03
1:33
2:33
1:06
5:49
2:02
1:53
1:37
2:08

About Rachel Portman

A British-born composer, Rachel Portman's biggest claim to fame was being the first woman to win an Academy Award (an Oscar, that is) for Best Original Score. The award, which resulted from her work on the 1996 film Emma, wasn't her only chance at the coveted prize. She continued her streak of well-received scores by earning nominations in 1999 and 2000 for Cider House Rules and Chocolat, respectively.

Portman's first score, for the film War of the Buttons, appeared in 1994. She went on to write music for dozens more high-profile and award-winning films, including the aforementioned box office hits, 2003's Mona Lisa Smile, Jonathan Demme's remake of The Manchurian Candidate, and 2008's The Duchess starring Keira Knightley. The next decade brought settings as diverse as Wayne Wang's Snow Flower & the Secret Fan, the family drama Dolphin Tale 2, and her husband Uberto Pasolini's 2013 film Still Life. Portman won her first Emmy Award in 2015 for her work on the HBO biopic Bessie, about blues legend Bessie Smith. ~ Chris True & Marcy Donelson

  • ORIGIN
    Haslemere, England
  • BORN
    December 11, 1960

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