October 17, 2011, 1:52 pm Brock Oliver Yahoo! New Zealand


There are many elements that make a great TV series timeless.

Music is a key ingredient – weaving through the drama like a seamstress - cutting the air like a knife when tension is brimming and transporting the viewer to a specific time and place with serene compositions.

While movie soundtracks often stand alone as great pieces of art – Ry Cooder with ‘Paris,Texas’, all the indie cool kids on Sofia Coppola’s ‘Lost In Translation’ – there aren’t as many TV series that establish iconic albums, despite everyone knowing the theme song.

Though David Lynch’s ‘Twin Peaks’ TV soundtrack by Angelo Badalamenti is exceptional, eerily aligned with the hypnotic weirdness of the series and director.

‘Downton Abbey’ is one of the most successful period dramas (ever) with a storyline as rich and elaborate as the manor it adorns. The soundtrack is composed by John Lunn - who also created the theme music for ‘Hotel Babylon’ - successfully creating a sophisticated mix of austere and ambient pieces to reflect ‘Downton Abbey’s’ Edwardian climate and a mighty Britain at the height of her empire.

The melodies are elegant, with strings swooping over the estate and piano parts composed like beautiful stairwells. The core of the main theme weaves through four of the tracks, the stirring symphony causing goose bumps to rise like Mrs. Patmore’s scones, with lashings of moody interludes and sepia-toned nostalgia throughout the 19 tracks.

For those in love with the regal days of yore, a medley of the wealthy and the working man, the ‘Downton Abbey’ soundtrack is a wonderful step back in time, with pockets of dark moments – like rich truffles – to reflect that there is much more to this period piece than mere dresses and drama, or cucumber sandwiches and cricket.

‘Downton Abbey’ – Series 2 - starts tomorrow – Tuesdays / 8:35pm / Prime

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