Marianne understands music more deeply than you EVER will.
A lot of you have been BEGGING me to cover the soundtrack to this movie in one of our blog posts, and as I’m finally running out of things to post about, I’m gonna cave in.
I actually think it’s pretty cool, because several of the songs are brand-new (in 1995, that is) for the film — they all sound like they could have been period-correct.
The movie was scored by Scottish composer Patrick Doyle, who was friends with Kenneth Branagh and Emma Thompson. He’d worked with her before on Henry V (1989) and Much Ado About Nothing (1993), and would also go on to score the Harry Potter series. Ang Lee requested that he write a score that was “gentle, intimate, and a reflection of “the suppressed emotions of that society.”
Doyle later described the soundtrack as:
“more stifled; the music had to be suppressed to match what was happening onscreen. You had this middle-class English motif, and with the music you would have occasional outbursts of emotion”.
Marianne sings two songs int he movie that were composed by Doyle especially for the film, and take their lyrics from two poems of the era: The first song is from a 17th-century poem by John Dowland entitled “Weep You No More Sad Fountains.” Its lyrics are supposed to represent Marianne’s innocence, romantic outlook, and connection to nature.
The second song, which she is given near the end by Colonel Brandon along with her new pianoforte, is adapted from a poem by Ben Jonson, and refers to discovering love in a dream and being filled with feelings of desire and guilt. Ang Lee said he felt it portrayed Marianne’s “mature acceptance” of Colonel Brandon.
For the soundtrack, Doyle earned his first nominations for the Academy Award for Best Original Score and a nomination for a BAFTA Award for Best Film Music. (But he lost both to the Italian film, Il Postino.)
“You have to get into the heart of the film as quickly as possible,” said Doyle, in an interview shortly after the soundtrack was released in December 1995. “Each film has a specific flavor all its own. And it’s your job to make sure that subliminally the music follows. The audience shouldn’t be aware of what you’re doing.”
I have a confession to make though: So many of you have such deep, wonderful connections to this soundtrack… and I just… don’t. I’m sorry!
Don’t get me wrong though. It is LOVELY music and well done. But I think I prefer the music on the 2005 Pride & Prejudice soundtrack.
You see, the S&S movie came out when I was only 5, and the P&P movie came out when I was 15, so I think I just have a stronger connection to it because of the age I was. (Obviously, you’re more likely to have a deeper relationship to something when you’re 15 than when you’re 5, right?)
However, that being said, I want to hear ALL OF YOUR STORIES about how much you love this soundtrack. Please leave comments and share this on your own pages, and make sure you go read other people’s comments too — you are not alone!
And, because I could hardly get away with not doing something special for today’s blog, I put together a little treat for you.
I imagine Marianne’s playlists would include a lot of indie rock, and Elinor’s would be similar, but with quieter, more introspective songs. So I put together a Spotify mix that I think tells the story of Sense & Sensibility. Consider it a sort of 2018 mixtape for the movie.
I hope you enjoy it!
(Also: make sure you listen to it in order — it’s meant to tell a story! There’s also a few in-jokes in the song titles if you pay attention 😉)