One reason why it is better to be a music critic than a film critic is illustrated by this album. The poor film critic may be left to ponder why filmmakers have chosen to do so many screen adaptations of Jane Austen's 1813 novel Pride and Prejudice for both theatrical release and television broadcast, especially in recent years, and to weigh the competing talents of, say, Laurence Olivier, Colin Firth, and, now, Matthew MacFadyen in portraying the character of Mr. Darcy. But the music critic isn't really called upon to compare Herbert Stothart's score for the 1940 film with Carl Davis' music for the 1995 TV mini-series, and, now, Dario Marianelli's. They are entirely different entities and can be treated separately. As stated in a producers' note, the intention of the creators of the 2005 theatrical film Pride & Prejudice was to have Marianelli compose music that conceivably could have been heard at the time the story is set, in the late 18th century. Thus, he has come up with a couple of dance cues ("Meryton Townhall," "Another Dance") that actually recall the dance music of the period, as well as a march ("The Militia Marches In") that a military band actually might have been expected to play at the time. But the main scoring, calling upon Beethoven's sonatas for its inspiration, finds Marianelli providing music for pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet, sometimes accompanied by the English Chamber Orchestra, that has a strong Romantic flavor to accompany the familiar romantic plot. No doubt Stothart and Davis (among others) also did their homework in preparing their scores, but they may not have been as concerned as Marianelli with essentially impersonating an 18th century composer.
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AllMusic Review by William Ruhlmann