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Much Ado About Nothing
Album Cover Art
Composed and Co-Produced by:

Conducted by:
David Snell

Orchestrated by:
Lawrence Ashmore

Co-Produced by:
Maggie Rodford
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Epic Soundtrax
(May 4th, 1993)
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Regular U.S. release.
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Decorative Nonsense
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   Availability | Viewer Ratings | Comments | Audio & Track Listings | Notes
Buy it... if you're a fan of Kenneth Branagh's Shakespearian adaptations and want the Patrick Doyle score that most heavily influenced a Branagh film of the era.

Avoid it... if Doyle's hopelessly optimistic orchestral and vocal themes are nothing more to you than useless, whimsical fluff.
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WRITTEN 7/21/98, REVISED 9/2/06
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iTunes (9.99)

Much Ado About Nothing: (Patrick Doyle) Four years after their successful cinematic debut in Henry V, director/actor Kenneth Branagh and composer Patrick Doyle would return for a second Shakespearian adaptation, Much Ado About Nothing. Met with enthusiasm by audiences, and affirming the renaissance of Shakespearian stories on the big screen in the 1990's, Much Ado About Nothing is one of the author's most jubilant comedies, typical in its hilarious battles between the sexes, mistaken identities, and storybook ending, but benefiting from an especially sharp wit above and beyond many of Shakespeare's stereotypically light-hearted, fluffy circuses. Among the film's strengths were a phenomenal acting ensemble (including non-Shakespearian actors Denzel Washington, Michael Keaton, and Kate Beckinsale, though most would agree that Keanu Reeves was out of place), as well as its ability to learn Pat Doyle's songs quickly enough to sing them on the fly during production. Once again significantly involved with the project during its shooting, Doyle would not only appear as a solo vocalist in the film, but also worked with Branagh in altering his themes to better fit scenes while located on the set. The resulting score has been highly acclaimed through the years, with some Doyle collectors considering it to be among the composer's very best efforts. It's a score that floats above the film with a whimsy, orchestrally buoyant and exuberant in such a flighty fashion that its fairy tale ending is never in doubt. Doyle's approach to taking us on this sunny journey involves his identification of the two sexes as the inspiration for the score's two primary themes. As with any Shakespearian comedy, several duos run in circles of flirtation, lies, and misunderstandings, with several predictable marriages resulting at the end. Fluttering about these proceedings is the interaction between Doyle's two themes for Much Ado About Nothing. Both themes receive fanfare and song performances, with the martial male theme performed in chorus in "Pardon Goddess of the Night" and Doyle himself more prominently performing the female theme in a courtyard in "Sigh No More Ladies."

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Average: 3.92 Stars
***** 658 5 Stars
**** 399 4 Stars
*** 214 3 Stars
** 106 2 Stars
* 114 1 Stars
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Track Listings Icon
Audio Samples   ▼
Total Time: 59:02
• 1. The Picnic (2:57)
• 2. Overture (4:20)
• 3. The Sweetest Lady (2:05)
• 4. The Conspirators (2:39)
• 5. The Masked Ball (1:55)
• 6. The Prince Woos Hero (1:18)
• 7. A Star Danced (2:43)
• 8. Rich She Shall Be (1:42)
• 9. Sigh No More Ladies (1:58)
• 10. The Gulling of Benedick (3:12)
• 11. It Must Be Requited (1:58)
• 12. The Gulling of Beatrice (1:41)
• 13. Contempt Farewell (1:32)
• 14. The Lady is Disloyal (2:14)
• 15. Hero's Wedding (0:47)
• 16. Take Her Back Again (3:10)
• 17. Die to Live (4:43)
• 18. You Have Killed a Sweet Lady (3:03)
• 19. Choose Your Revenge (1:48)
• 20. Pardon, Goddess of the Night (4:32)
• 21. Did I Not Tell You (1:40)
• 22. Hero Revealed (1:26)
• 23. Benedick the Married Man (2:06)
• 24. Strike Up Pipers (2:41)

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The packaging includes the following (March 18th, 1993) note from Patrick Doyle:

    "During our earlier discussions on Much Ado About Nothing, Ken suggested adapting 'Sigh No More Ladies' for the song that Balthazar sings in the garden. When I arrived in Tuscany for the rehearsal week, we immediately sat down and bashed our heads together and eventually made it work.

    Ken and I discussed preparing in advance many of the music cues required for play-back purposes on the set. We both agreed consequently that the atmosphere of being on a location in such a gorgeous setting would be a crucial element in achieving the appropriate moods. By the end of the rehearsal week, all the actors had learnt the melody and harmonies for 'Sigh No More Ladies', and the small strolling band of players had learnt their dance tunes for 'The Masked Ball'. The melody for 'Pardon Goddess Of The Night' proved to be the most elusive as each time I presented Ken with what I thought he was searching for, I was sent back to the 'Drawing Board'. After much hair pulling, I was fifth time lucky.

    Although we had very limited resources and time on location, I managed to grab the actors and teach them a very rough version of the funeral hymn, which we recorded on the 'Villa Vignamaggio Tennis Court' during lunch! Also I shall never forget the assembly line of actors in the central courtyard, literally learning and recording a capella all the harmonies and countermelodies for 'Sigh No More Ladies'. They were magnificent!

    Much later back in London, with the help of Gavin Greenaway and a barmoniser, we managed to save almost all of the frenetic work, which proved to be invaluable for the previews as Ken predicted. There were many difficult moments to address in the underscore. The most obvious one was the opening montage sequence which needed to he big, romantic, melodic and dramatic, but at the same time the music needed to have lots of drive. Along with all these other requirements the music had to underline the obvious masculine and feminine aspect. The end result culminated in what turned out to be a traditional 'Overture', containing virtually every theme.

    The other difficult moment was where Claudio rejects Hero at the wedding ceremony ('Take her back again'). Here, there were so many changes of mood to capture and on top of that virtually non-stop dialogue. It was one of the last cues I addressed for (apart from terror) every element from either side of this scene had to be drawn upon to give me ideas. In my view it became the most operatic use of underscore.

    I am immensely proud and privileged to have been part of Much Ado About Nothing and I don't know why I am surprised, but yet again I am amazed at the talent, strength and inventiveness of its creator. He has done a magnificent job. My many thanks to Ken yet again!"
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The reviews and other textual content contained on the site may not be published, broadcast, rewritten
or redistributed without the prior written authority of Christian Clemmensen at Filmtracks Publications. All artwork and sound clips from Much Ado About Nothing are Copyright © 1998, Epic Soundtrax and cannot be redistributed without the label's expressed written consent. Page created 7/21/98 and last updated 9/2/06.
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