Music at Downton

Downton Abbey : Music Review

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Musica- Sebald Beham - The Seven Liberal Arts

Musica: Sebald Beham
The Seven Liberal Arts

g-clefWhen I first saw the popular TV series “Downton Abbey” on PBS’s “Masterpiece Classic” in winter 2010, I was drawn in by the opening theme song. As I continued to watch the series, I loved hearing the accompanying music. It had a supporting role in many scenes, reflecting the atmosphere and the time period of the series.  Whether you’ve been a regular viewer of the series or a newcomer, the soundtrack is available for your listening pleasure.

There are two soundtrack CDs. The first album, simply titled “Downton Abbey,” contains music for the first and second seasons and was released in 2011. It has 19 tracks which mostly are instrumental. Three songs are sung by Alfie Boe and Mary-Jess Leaverland. Boe sings two songs popular during the early 20th century; Mary-Jess sings “Did I Make the Most of Loving You” which is an original song.

The second album “Downton Abbey: The Essential Collection” was released last year. With 23 tracks, it includes music from the first two seasons (including a few tracks not on the first album) and from the new season. Rebecca Ferguson sings “I’ll Count the Days” which is an original song. Scala & Kolacny Brothers present their take of the popular songs “With or Without You” and “Every Breath You Take” originally by Sting and the Police respectively.

John Lunn composed the music for the series. Last year he won in the category of “Outstanding Music Composition for a Series” at the Primetime Emmy Awards.  The Chamber Orchestra of London performs under conductor Alastair King.

notes on a very old page

Notes on a very old page

As I’m listening, I can imagine some of the events in the show as the music plays. Depending on the track title, you can hear strong and upbeat themes while others are deep and somber. The orchestral music is beautiful and relaxing. On some tracks, the music is enhanced with synthesized material. My favorite track is “Downton Abbey–The Suite” which has the extended version of the show’s theme song.

I bought both albums as they were released.  Because I already had the first CD, I imported only the new tracks from “Essential Collection” on to iTunes on my Mac at home.

So while the series is over for the season, you can return to Downton Abbey through its music anytime.

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