COMPOSERS: Patrick Doyle
PERFORMER: Plácido Domingo; Ensemble/Robert Ziegler
CATALOGUE NO: SK 62857
Kenneth Branagh’s Hamlet, meanwhile, has been set to music by Patrick Doyle, who composed the superbly apt soundtrack to Emma Thompson’s adaptation of Sense and Sensibility.
Like Fenton, Doyle is a master craftsman, and he too has a penchant for lush mellifluousness; the mutually admiring plaudits in the booklet to this CD ring as hollow as those for The Crucible. The ‘simple childlike Ophelia melody’ came to him after watching Kate Winslet on set; Hamlet’s theme was a painfully long time coming; but the whole assignment was ‘such a happy experience’.
Branagh avers that the music ‘directs the audience’s mood through the difficult passages’. For me, Branagh’s hyperactive camera turned the whole film into a difficult passage: the score’s elegant melodiousness seems not so much ironic as plain inept. And since we have a superstar cast, we must of course have a superstar for the soundtrack, hence Plácido Domingo’s opening aria.