In All Things English, Friday Favorites on
10 November, 2017

My Favorite Period Drama TV & Film Scores



Image via IMDB

Happy Friday! I know I usually do a “Friday Favorites” when I post on a Friday, but since I haven’t posted anything in a few weeks I’m doing a regular blog post. But it is a list of favorites, so it totally counts!

If you ask me, the most important component of a great period drama is the film score. Music can make or break a movie and/or television show – I even would go as far as to say it matters as much as the acting. Something just isn’t worth watching if the music is horrible.

Perhaps I feel this way because music is something that has always been an important part of my life, and it’s something that moves me emotionally. A song doesn’t even have to have words to make me feel something. In fact, some of the most incredible and moving music I’ve ever heard has had absolutely no words at all!

Today I am sharing some of my favorite TV and film scores with you. I’m including the links to the albums on Spotify so you can enjoy them today as we get ready to head into the weekend.

Downton Abbey (2011-2016)

Who. Does. Not. Love. Downton. Abbey?! If you don’t love this show, I’m not sure we can be friends! (Ok, just kidding. Maybe.) One of the best parts of Downton Abbey is the music, which was written by John Lunn. Every now and then I’ll be driving down the road listening to my favorite classical radio station and they’ll play a piece from Downton Abbey. And every time – without fail – it gives me ALL THE FEELS. I don’t know how they do it.

Noteworthy Tracks: Duneagle, I’ll Count The Days, The Suite

Pride & Prejudice (2005)

I know a lot of ladies who do not prefer this version of Pride & Prejudice because it’s not as faithful to the novel as the 1995 miniseries starring Colin Firth. As someone who has read the novel several times, I would agree that it’s not as true to the book; HOWEVER, it is an amazing work of art. There are so many components that make this adaptation one of my favorites, and perhaps the most important is the music. The film score was written by Dario Marianelli and it gives me chills every time I hear it. It’s such happy music!

Noteworthy Tracks: Dawn, Georgiana, Darcy’s Letter

Poldark (2015-Present)

I will do my best not to write a novel about my thoughts on Poldark (there are LOTS). For now, I’ll just tell you that I adore the score for this show. What’s even better than the instrumental pieces are the folk songs sung by Demelza (Eleanor Tomlinson). Absolutely enchanting. If you haven’t seen Poldark, watch it. And listen the soundtrack, written by Anne Dudley. It’s the best.

Noteworthy Tracks: I’d Pluck a Fair Rose, Poldark Prelude, Medhel an Gwyns

Jane Eyre (2011)

Dario Marianelli strikes AGAIN with Jane Eyre. He uses the violin a lot in this score, and it’s so hauntingly beautiful. Warning: If beautiful music makes you cry, you will cry.

Noteworthy Tracks: Wandering Jane, Jane’s Escape

The Mission (1986)

Okay, so I’ve never even seen this movie (LOL). However, I stumbled upon the soundtrack several years ago on Pandora and it quickly became one of my favorites! The music was written by Ennio Moriconne and it’s addicting. Side note: I actually don’t listen to the original soundtrack. There’s a version performed by Yo-Yo Ma that I prefer because, well… it’s Yo-Yo Ma! The album includes other works by Ennio Moriconne.

Noteworthy Tracks: Gabriel’s Oboe, The Falls

Sherlock (2010-2017)

I’ve never been one for mystery shows. And then Sherlock happened. (Although it’s not a period drama, it’s a modern twist on one.) While some episodes of this show are disturbing (never watch late at night without hubby nearby), there are two things I really love about this show: the humor and the music. The score was written by David Arnold and Michael Price, and it’s very catchy.

Noteworthy Tracks: Opening Titles, The Game Is On

Grantchester (2015-?)

After I finished Sherlock, I was left with a new “murder mystery” void. So I tried Grantchester. And the minute I started the first episode, I was struck by the music. It was written by John Lunn, who also composed the music for Downton Abbey, and it is very reminiscent of Downton Abbey. It’s not *exactly* like Downton Abbey… it’s close enough to make you miss Downton, but not so much that you feel like it’s a complete repeat.

Sidenote: Beware of the spoken word tracks on this one. The soundtrack includes some of the main character’s sermons, and while some of them are inspiring, some of them are a little… theologically interesting. Take it with a grain of salt. Oh, and don’t be alarmed by the random jazz. If you know Sidney Chambers, you know he has a thing for jazz.

Lastly, does anybody really know if this show was cancelled or if it’s continuing?! So confused.

Noteworthy Tracks: Mr. Chambers, Dickens

Pirates of the Caribbean (2003, 2006, 2007, 2011, 2017)

I know what you’re thinking… “How is that a period drama?” Well, okay, so maybe it’s fantasy fiction, but the costumes tell us that it clearly takes place in the Georgian Era… so it counts! I love that the scores for these movies are similar to one another but also distinct from one another if you listen closely. There are actually a number of composers who have contributed to these soundtracks throughout the years: Klaus Badelt, ‎Hans Zimmer and, most recently, Geoff Zanelli. I’ve linked the soundtrack to “At World’s End” above because that one’s my favorite.

Noteworthy Tracks: All of them 😉

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