Music Break: Pride & Prejudice + fave scores from Dario Marianelli

I don’t normally do a Music Break post on the weekends but I’ve been listening to the 2005 Pride & Prejudice score lately so I figure it’s as good a time as any.

A little bit about the composer…

Dario Marianelli was born on June 21, 1963 in Pisa, Tuscany, Italy. He studied piano from the age of six and also sang in a boy’s choir from that age. In his mid-twenties he moved to London, where he enrolled at the National Film and Television School.

He’s worked with director Joe Wright on four films, some of which have become my favorites. Apparently, he’s introduced by one of the producers of Pride & Prejudice where he and Wright hit it off straight away. One of the producers, Paul Webster, remembered the work I had done for him on The Warrior, a few years earlier. He introduced me to Joe Wright, the director of Pride & Prejudice, and we hit it off straight away. Per M Online interview, in their very first conversation they ended up talking about Beethoven’s early piano sonatas which became a point of reference and starting point for the score.

Pride & Prejudice (2005)


The score for Joe Wright’s feature film debut has become one of my favorites ever, and so it’s about time I feature it here on Music Break. It’s as lush as the landscape in Derbyshire, England, as swoony-romantic as the classic love story of Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy. I’d think if Jane Austen were to listen to this score, a smile would form on her face.

I had to include the score used in the helicopter-shot scene when Lizzie standing on the precipice of a large cliff, the wind blowing her hair and the sun shining down… it’s an iconic scene made even more perfect by this score.


And of course, the dawn scene… it’s the kind of scene that just never gets old for me. I’ve seen it countless times and I don’t think I’ve ever seen Lizzy and Darcy more ravishing than in this very scene. I LOVE how Wright filmed Darcy walking in his long, cape-like robe towards Lizzy… you could practically breathe the crisp morning air in this scene… the scenery & the music… it’s just absolutely luscious.


Pride & Prejudice remains my favorite of Marianelli’s work so far, followed by Atonement which he deservedly won an Oscar for, two years after his first nomination for Pride & Prejudice. In 2013 he’s nominated again for Anna Karenina. I remember seeing one comment somewhere, might’ve been on youtube, that says how an Italian guy could make the perfect Russian music. Well, according to that article above, Marianelli regarded it as his best work as he said he learned a lot from that experience.

So here are four more scores I love from Marianelli… so definitely made beautiful music in all of his collaboration with Wright. I thought they’d be working together in Wright’s next film PAN, but my other favorite John Powell is scoring that. Marianelli is working on a film where Keira Knightley appears once again, EVEREST.

V For Vendetta (2005)

Atonement (2007)

The Soloist (2009)

Anna Karenina (2012)


Hope you enjoyed today’s music break. What’s YOUR favorite score(s) from Dario Marianelli?

25 thoughts on “Music Break: Pride & Prejudice + fave scores from Dario Marianelli

  1. Dario Marianelli may be my favorite composer working in film right now. He’s brilliant, so classically beautiful and yet so modern and clever in his compositions, and he understands the films he’s working in and how to comprise a moment. LOVE that you’re highlighting him here.

    1. Oooh really? That’s cool! I can’t believe I haven’t featured him sooner as I LOVE his style of music. You’re right he’s got that modern sensibilities in composing such classic score. Beautiful work all around but I think P&P reigns supreme as my fave of his work so far.

  2. It’s always interesting to me when composers and directors team up like Marianelli and Wright. I remember loving the music from Anna Karenina, and a lot of other things about it too, even though it ends up being an ultimately flawed film. If I remember correctly, there’s a scene early on in the film which is like a montage of people getting dressed/ready for something and their movements are timed perfectly to the score so it’s nearly dancing. I haven’t seen it since it came out on DVD but that still sticks in my mind to this day! Not only is it good music but it’s integrated into the film so well.

    1. Unfortunately I saw Anna Karenina on the plane which didn’t have the best music, but I listened to it later and loved it. I think the adaptation style is brave but ultimately didn’t quite work for such a rich, layered tragic story. I think Dario’s brilliance (as do many great composers) is in making their music so integral to the film that you can’t even imagine the film without it.

    1. Thanks Keith. You haven’t seen any of these films? I actually like a lot of Joe Wright’s work, including the 2011 Jane Eyre w/ Michael Fassbender that I didn’t include here.

      1. Oh yes, I’ve seen a couple of them but I feel as though I didn’t do the music justice. Definitely going to watch for his name more closely in the future.

        1. Yeah, he’s not as big a name as other composers. I was surprised too to see how many great film scores he’s done. He has a pretty distinct style that is just so gorgeous!

  3. Someone just asked me yesterday what my favorite film score was. I answered there were too many to pick only one and too illustrate my point I named six off the top of my head, October Sky, Howards End, Last of the Mohicans, Legends of the Fall, Somewhere in Time and Brokeback Mountain. Now I’m kicking myself that I didn’t include this one because it is truly beautiful and wonderfully evocative.

    That’s a perfect description of Darcy walking towards Lizzie through the field, you can almost feel the brisk snap of the air and howcha magoucha could Matthew MacFayden have been any sexier in that coat and linen shirt?

    1. Hello Joel! Oh we have similar taste man, I LOVE most of the scores you mention, esp Legends of the Fall and Somewhere in Time which are hauntingly beautiful. I tell ya, James Horner & John Barry must be kindred spirits!

      I just think that Dawn scene is so perfectly filmed and you’re right MacFadyen looks ravishing in that scene. I actually prefer him as Darcy now compared to Firth.

  4. classicblanca

    Brilliant post! His score for Atonement is one of my all-time faves, and his work in Pride and Prejudice is just lovely. I forgot he scored V for Vendetta, though. Great stuff Ruth! 🙂

    1. Thanks Josh! Glad we both appreciate Dario’s work, he’s a spectacular composer! Yeah I was surprised too to see him behind the score for V for Vendetta, it sounds a bit different from his period drama stuff.

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