Soundtrack Review: Howards End

Soundtrack Review: Howards End

Howards End Soundtrack Review: This is a review of the television score Howards End by Nico Muhly.

At a glance:

Geek Score: 95.4
Total Minutes Of Excellence: 45.5
Album Excellence: 72.3%

How are the scores calculated and what does it mean?

Howards End is a 2017 British four-part television drama miniseries directed by Hettie MacDonald and starring Hayley Atwell, Joe Bannister & Donna Banya. It is based on the 1910 novel of the same bame by E.M. Forster. In Edwardian England, three families – representing three classes – have an impact on one another. The central characters are middle class sisters Margaret and Helen Schlegel. Margaret befriends the seriously ill Ruth Wilcox, matriarch of the Wilcox family who have a country estate known as Howard’s End. The younger Helen takes an interest in Leonard Bast, a working class clerk. As Margaret gravitates towards the Wilcoxes, eventually marrying Henry Wilcox after Ruth’s death, Helen identifies more and more with Leonard and his wife, particularly after advice they’ve given him – originally from Henry Wilcox – turns out to be incorrect and for which Leonard pays a heavy price. The clash among them leads to tragedy. The score is composed by Nico Muhly.

There has been a couple of adaptations of this book for television and film, the most known is perhaps the 1992 film version starring Emma Thompson, Vanessa Redgrave, Helena Bonham Carter, Anthony Hopkins, and Samuel West where Emma Thompson won an academy award. The miniseries have gathered many favorable reviews despite not having the star power of it’s 1992 sibling. I’m curious about the score though. Richard Robbins composed the movie score and Nico Muhly is doing this one. It’s a posh British costume drama isn’t it? That’s my initial thoughts anyway so I suspect the score is orchestral and probably playing on that fact. The opening cue ‘Funeral’ is a minimalistic piano and string piece. As a funeral tend to be, there’s sadness and there are emotions, all of which can be found in the music. I particularly like the violins or rather the sound of them.

This is a very nice listening experience. I was expecting the score to be highly dramatic from the start, but it’s rather poignant and subtle for the most part with a very simple but lovely focus on melody and sound. I can’t imagine the 1992 version was like this but I’m just guessing. This however doesn’t really sound like any costume drama I’ve heard and I think that’s a good thing. I wouldn’t mind that either, but the way it turned out, I think it’s pretty great as it is. The only parts I didn’t love was the more darker cues, they didn’t have the same spring in their steps as the lighter ones. Still, I enjoyed all of them regardless.

1. Funeral
2. Opening
3. Sea Side
4. They’re Starving
5. Appalling Umbrella
9. Innsbruck
10. Empty House
11. Miscommunication
12. Bast Appears
13. Abyss
14. Christmas Shopping
15. I Know
16. That’s Decided
18. In A Mist
19. It’s Delightful
21. Scruples
22. Books

GD Star Rating
Soundtrack Review: Howards End, 10.0 out of 10 based on 3 ratings


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