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Soundtrack review: As you like it (Patrick Doyle, 2006)

Composer of the month Patrick Doyle month

Soundtrack review: As you like it (Patrick Doyle, 2006)

My 4th Patrick Doyle review of the month comes from “As you like it”, Kenneth Branagh’s brilliant re-imagining of a classical Shakespeare play. It was a bold and controversial move on his part to change the setting of the play to 19thcentury Japan, and the merits of the movie are still subject to debate.
Patrick Doyle makes a statement from the first cue of the score, and backs it up with the rest. “Kabuki attack” is an exhilarating piece, building up from soft Japanese strings into an orchestral whirlwind, before ending with the sweetest of violins which introduces us to the theme of the movie. This tender and piercing violin theme is developed in all its wonder in the final cue of the score, “Violin romance”. It’s as simple as it’s memorable. It is pure bliss to listen to these strings; just close your eyes and let this romance take you over, gentle like the Japanese spring. It is one of my favorite Patrick Doyle themes. It’s divine and I can’t get enough of it. This theme recurs a few times through the score, also without the Japanese influences. It also appears, played by flute, in “Roynish clown” and “Lion attack”.
The score has parts as sensitive as butterfly wings. The flute plays with the soft Japanese strings and they complete each other.  “The forest of Arden” is a brilliant example of the scores’ combined musical influences.  Then cues like “I love Aliena”, “Tomorrow” and “Weddings” just warm the heart and the identity of the score is forever settled with the inclusion of the blissful theme in all of them…The “Violin romance” dominates this score and makes my heart stop and then beat faster…And just before the end, we get “A lover & his lass”, a simply beautiful Broadway musical song theme, joyous and spectacular…How can you not love music or life after listening to it…?
This score passes like a breeze. Once it stops, I can’t imagine where the hour flew by. I am left with a peaceful and warm feeling inside, as if I had spent that time on a meadow in the middle of the forest on a beautiful spring day. I saw butterflies and birds, I ran after them in the forest, then I slept and I dreamed and I woke up and life was even more beautiful than the dream. This is how I like it…
My ratings:
Cue rating: 83 / 100
Total minutes of excellence: 49 / 59
Album excellence: 83%
Cues to listen to:
Kabuki Attack
Brothers Fight
The Forest Of Arden
Roynish Clown
Eat No More
Thy Brother
Lion Attack
Celia & Oliver
I Love Aliena
A Lover & His Lass
Violin Romance
Mihnea Manduteanu

I have been listening to film music for 25 years and writing about it since 2014. I've written over 1000 reviews and I can't imagine myself doing anything else. I am also a member of IFMCA (International Film Music Critics Association).

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