A Royal Affair

Composed By: Gabriel Yared and Cyrille Aufort

Distributed by: MovieScore Media

Reviewed by Melissa Minners


            A Royal Affair is a historical drama set in the 18th Century starring Alicia Vikander as Caroline Mathilde, the Queen of Denmark.  Finding herself married to an insane king (Mikkel Boe Følsgaard), Caroline becomes attracted to Johann Friedrich Struensee (Mads Mikkelsen), a man hired to be the king's physician.  Their affair would bring about a revolution that would have a lasting effect on the nation of Denmark.

            The musical score of A Royal Affair was created by the team of Gabriel Yared and Cyrille Aufort.  Lebanese composer Gabriel Yared learned music on his own, teaching himself on a Jesuit boarding school organ and reading all about music in the school's library.  Music became his passion and eventually his chosen career path.  Since 1980, Gabriel Yared has composed over seventy musical scores for films including Clean and Sober, The Talented Mr. Ripley, City of Angels, Amelia, Cold Mountain and In the Land of Blood and Honey.

            French composer Cyrille Aufort began composing for short films and documentaries before working as a specialist in orchestration, working as an orchestrator for some extremely well-known and respected composers like Alexandre Desplat.  His breakthrough in musical scoring came in 2009 with the science fiction film Splice

            The musical score of A Royal Affair features classical music, a nod toward the era in which the movie takes place.  The orchestral music contains a dramatic and romantic flare, describing the relationship between Caroline and Struensee as intense and yet somewhat sad.  There is an expression of beauty with an underlying ominous sound as if the beautiful moments will all be rend asunder by some horrific force.

            Perfectly composed to accompany the visuals and emotions of the film, I only had one problem with the soundtrack of A Royal Affair.  I had to play it at an extreme volume just to get the full effect of the music.  Playing this album at a regular volume means missing out on some of the darker tones of the music...the expressions of the king's madness, the fears behind the affair between the queen and the royal physician and the dark moments that affair's revolution will bring about. 

            Otherwise, I found the soundtrack of A Royal Affair to be a rather beautiful and expressive experience whether listened to along side the visuals of the film or as a stand alone album.  Fans of classical music are going to love the compositions by Gabriel Yared and Cyrille Aufort, a pairing that has proven to be quite the composing team.  I can't wait to hear more from these composers in the future.


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