When “Downton Abbey” followers hear that acquainted strings-and-piano theme, a Pavlovian response ensues: Get to the tv instantly, since you don’t wish to miss a minute of the addictive Crawley household melodrama to observe.
This week, with the “Downton Abbey” film reaching theaters on Friday, followers can’t wait for his or her repair of Woman Mary and Woman Edith, Mr. Carson and Mrs. Hughes, Daisy and Mrs. Patmore. However what can they anticipate from the music?
“Greater, higher, grander,” says Glasgow-born composer John Lunn, who scored all 52 episodes over six seasons and received two Emmys within the course of. Followers will agree, significantly after they first glimpse England’s Highclere Fort on the massive display screen with Lunn’s new, richly scored recording of the theme.
“It’s not like a film remake of a TV sequence,” says Lunn by cellphone from New York, the place he attended Monday’s premiere. “It’s really a direct continuation of the story, so a whole lot of the themes that have been vital on the finish of the ultimate season inevitably keep it up into the film’s storyline. I believe it was the identical for all us — director, producers, author, actors: as soon as we began getting again into it once more, it was like we’d by no means left it behind.”
Whereas there’s additionally appreciable new materials, Lunn wanted to revisit lots of the character and relationship themes that turned an integral a part of the present. “The primary 20 minutes is a steady reintroduction of all of the characters and their locations,” he experiences. “You’re assembly these folks that you just’ve identified earlier than and being offered with their scenario in life, and music reminds you of all that.”
Earlier than he began on the film, Lunn — who has been away from the “Downton” scene for practically 4 years, engaged on sequence like “Grantchester” and “The Final Kingdom” — watched all six seasons once more. “We had a much bigger finances, extra time to experiment a bit and extra time to document it,” by comparability with the standard rush of a TV sequence, he says.
So as a substitute of 35 gamers, which performed the weekly episodes, Lunn had the relative luxurious of greater than 70 musicians on the legendary Abbey Highway studios. And, as he did all through the sequence, Lunn performed the piano himself. “I play somewhat like Elton John,” he notes. “Though there’s a veneer of classicism, you actually need to dig in, and there’s an angle to it that comes from pop music.”
Though the storyline revolves across the go to of King George and Queen Mary to Downton in 1927, many of the new music doesn’t contain the royals. “It’s extra to do with all the opposite characters round them, and the best way that they must cope with the go to,” Lunn explains. Tom Branson (Allen Leech) will get a lot of the brand new materials due to the mysterious character who follows him round, and a brand new romantic curiosity that seems halfway by means of the story.
There may be additionally some full of life ’20s-style jazz heard in a secret speakeasy the place Barrow (Robert James-Collier) finds himself one evening; sharp-eyed followers will spot Lunn because the pianist within the scene.
Most difficult for the composer have been the scenes involving the miffed Downton workers who uncover that their dinner-making and -serving expertise are undesirable by the snooty workers of the royals, and the rivalry that develops. “A lot of the comedian music is in a minor key,” Lunn factors out, “nearly Kurt Weill-ish, so you may take it severely. However due to the best way the instrumentation is completed, you may’t actually take it that severely.”
Lunn, who carried out his “Downton Abbey” music in a dwell live performance June 22 at Highclere Fort, is already again to work on one other Julian Fellowes-scripted tv undertaking, titled “Belgravia,” set in 1820s-era London.
Requested how his life has modified on account of the worldwide success of “Downton,” Lunn says that “in a technique, my life has utterly modified, however in lots of different methods, it hasn’t, actually. Clearly, it’s made me extra well-known. However I haven’t actually modified my day-to-day work. I’m nonetheless primarily working in tv.
“It’s nice if any person who doesn’t know you asks what you do and also you say, ‘Properly, I’m doing music for “Downton Abbey.” they go ‘Oh my God!’ No one ever says ‘What’s that?’”