There have been a number of television adaptation of Jane Austen's novel, but this British production is for the big screen with a number of big stars. The composer is London-based Dario Marianelli who is not quite such a household name, but has a rapidly growing CV of television and film credits. The film is set at the end of the 18th Century and it seems right to root the soundtrack in music's Classical Era. The story's main character is Liz Bennet and in the film she plays the piano (though not very well) as well as other characters, and the piano also becomes integral to the film score. At this point in history Mozart had firmly established the Piano Concerto in the concert repertoire, and the piano's interplay with the orchestra on the soundtrack suggests the slow movement of a classical piano concerto and the solo sections bring to mind a sonata of the time. The character of Liz is strong-willed and independent, and therefore tailor-made to appeal to modern audiences, and the music also suggests later stylistic innovations such as impressionism and minimalism. The soudtrack was recorded by the English Chamber Orchestra and the piano part is played by French pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet. The soundtrack album is available from Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com and a sheet music book for piano solo is also available from Music Room.
"Source Music" is the term used to mean music whose source is visible or implied on screen, and there are a number of examples of source music in Pride and Prejudice. All composed or arranged by the composer Marianelli for the dances and other events in the film, we have the folk music of "Meryton Townhall" and "Can't Slow Down", the baroque-style track "Another Dance" and marching fifes and drums in "The Militia Marches". In addition we have the previously mentioned scenes where characters play the piano. Although most film music is written long after filming has finished, source music is usually recorded before filming to allow the action to synchronise to it. The piano music played on screen is then magically taken up by an unseen orchestra and becomes "Background Music". This is the main theme of the film and appears in various guises in a number of tracks including "Dawn", "Leaving Netherfield" and "Mrs. Darcy". A clarinet also makes a solo appearance on the soundtrack in "Stars and Butterflies" and "The Living Sculptues of Pemberly". The music of the 17th Century English composer Henry Purcell also plays a role. The track "A Postcard to Purcell" is a dance arrangement for violin and orchestra of Purcell's Rondeau from "Abdelazar", and the clarinet hints back to this track in "Leaving Netherfield". Other tracks to look out for are "Arrival to Netherfield" which seems to adopt a more impressionistic style like opening a new chapter in a book, "The Secret Life of Daydreams" which is suitably dreamy for piano and strings only, and "Your Hands are Cold" which starts very sadly on the cello followed by a minimalist crescendo which is almost like a moment of decision before the impressionist style piano returns.