TV

Soundtrack review: The paradise (season 2) (Maurizio Malagnini – 2013)

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“The Paradise” is a British television costume drama series co-produced by BBC Worldwide America and Masterpiece. The series is an adaptation of Émile Zola’s novel Au Bonheur des Dames that relocates the story to North East England. British period pieces have provided interesting scores lately. The music of the season 2 (and last one) of the series was written by Maurizio Malagnini. I haven’t seen the show or listened to the music of the first season, so I am new to this universe.

You really can’t go wrong with such a score if you as a composer take the normal and simple path of an orchestral score that provides and insight into those times and instantly and effortlessly transports the listener to the period where the story takes place. The music of “The paradise season 2” is beautiful and unintrusive. It doesn’t need more than a couple of cues to make all the skyscrapers and cars disappear from my line of sight and replace the images with lush meadows and pretentious clothes and paintings of still nature.

The instrumentation is sweeping and elegant. The music is gentle to the ears and soul and just invites to daydreaming or remembering. There’s nothing sharp or abrasive in Maurizio Malagnini’s composition; everything flows well and has the smooth texture of silk. The emotions in the music are contained as they usually were in that period. There are the amusing playful musical inserts like “A scorpion in the Paradise”. I can only smile at the sound of the flute and the way it joyfully dances with the strings. I feel as if I’m in a chamber or concert hall being fascinated by the members of the orchestra and the pleasure they take in dialoguing with each other.

The music of “The paradise season 2” is pleasant and refreshing like an ice tea on a hot summer’s day in a beautiful garden. It’s the kind of score that puts me in a very good mood even if I probably won’t return to it. It will just remain a nice memory of a visit to the countryside. It’s not my most treasured memory and it certainly didn’t leave a lot of marks but I won’t forget the feeling of peace and beauty I had. For fans of quiet and gentle orchestral compositions this score will be a feast. The composer didn’t try to extort emotions from the listener; he just tore down some walls and gave the impression of an endless territory where the listener’s mind and dreams can roam freely.

Cue rating: 86 / 100

Total minutes of excellence: 13 / 54

Album excellence: 24%

Highlights:

A Scorpion In The Paradise

Clemence And Dudley

The Fireworks

Jonas And The Conspiracy

Impossible Love

The House On The Hill

About the author

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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