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Section Header
Much Ado About Nothing
Composed and Co-Produced by:
Patrick Doyle

Conducted by:
David Snell

Orchestrated by:
Lawrence Ashmore

Co-Produced by:
Maggie Rodford

Epic Soundtrax

Release Date:
May 4th, 1993

Also See:
Henry V
Sense and Sensibility
Great Expectations

Audio Clips:
2. Overture (0:31):
WMA (204K)  MP3 (254K)
Real Audio (179K)

6. The Prince Woos Hero (0:31):
WMA (204K)  MP3 (254K)
Real Audio (179K)

15. Hero's Wedding (0:30):
WMA (200K)  MP3 (254K)
Real Audio (179K)

24. Strike Up Pipers (0:30):
WMA (200K)  MP3 (254K)
Real Audio (179K)

Regular U.S. release.


Much Ado About Nothing
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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.

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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While the score offers these themes in various intriguing incarnations of rhythm and instrumentation, the hopelessly optimistic fanfare performances of the two together are the highlights. As the men of the story march back from war, they're led by snare and brass in "Overture" and "Contempt Farewell." Their theme mingles with the one for the waiting women, and as the women eventually win the hearts of their appropriate mates, this theme receives its own dramatic statements in "Hero's Wedding" and "Strike Up Pipers." There is always scheming going on in any good Shakespearian story, however, and Doyle treats these sequences (especially involving Reeves' treacherous Don John) with the few moments of minor-key rumblings that the score has to offer. Even in these slightly more ominous cues, however, a general lack of emphasis on the bass region helps the score retain its endlessly positive attitude. Several individual cues should be mentioned; the preview of the women's theme exists softly under Emma Thompson's recitation of a line from the play in "The Picnic." While her voice is always appropriate for the genre, her spoken words sound a bit forced into the rhythm of the score, especially compared to the other vocal performances, which are all sung. The only distracting period piece is "The Masked Ball," with an accentuated percussion section and more heathen rhythms. Doyle's own two performances (he also has an interlude in "Pardon Goddess of the Night") are as enticing as his short appearance in Henry V. The short "The Prince Woos Hero" is an outstandingly sophisticated rendering of the men's theme in an almost faux romantic setting, complete with clanging sword-like percussion. That percussion section would be heavily employed throughout Much Ado About Nothing, with the verbal swordfight complimented by an equivalent metallic presence in the rhythms. Likewise, the expected tolling of the chimes and rolling of the timpani grace the victorious cues at the end of the film (as well as early fanfare performances). The weakness of Much Ado About Nothing exists in its relative absence of depth. For a score with so much personality, it lacks the resonance in the bass section to really impress you in many of its middle portions. Overall, the score compensates for this lack of bass presence (which you can manually adjust to some degree) with undeniable charm, and it would be a welcome addition to any Patrick Doyle collection. **** Price Hunt: CD or Download

Bias Check:For Patrick Doyle reviews at Filmtracks, the average editorial rating is 3.81 (in 27 reviews)
and the average viewer rating is 3.38 (in 20,787 votes). The maximum rating is 5 stars.

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 Track Listings: 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)

 Notes and Quotes:  

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!"

  All artwork and sound clips from Much Ado About Nothing are Copyright © 1998, Epic Soundtrax. The reviews and other textual content contained on the site may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without the prior written authority of Filmtracks Publications. Audio clips can be heard using RealPlayer but cannot be redistributed without the label's expressed written consent. Page created 7/21/98 and last updated 9/2/06. Review Version 5.1 (PHP). Copyright © 1998-2015, Christian Clemmensen (Filmtracks Publications). All rights reserved.