The Lady in the Van

Musical Score By: George Fenton

Distributed by: Sony Classical

Reviewed by Melissa Minners


                The British comedy, The Lady in the Van, is based upon the true story of Mary Shepherd (Maggie Smith), an elderly woman who lived in a dilapidated van in playwright Alan Bennett’s (Alex Jennings) London driveway for fifteen years.  As the film moves forward, we learn that Miss Sheppard is much more than some old homeless woman living out of a van.

                The musical score of The Lady in the Van was created by George Fenton, a British composer with no actual formal music training.  Beginning his career in film as an actor, he appeared in a couple of projects before trying his hand at being a recording artist.  He began composing music for film, television and theatre in the early 1970s.  Some of his best known works include the musical scores of Ghandi, Cry Freedom, Dangerous Liaisons, The Fisher King, Memphis Belle and Anna and the King.

                The Lady in the Van Soundtrack contains orchestral music in a fun, lighthearted style.  Often sounding like a circus act, the score has what I often call that comedy waltz feel, expressed by brass, guitars and woodwinds, that can be heard in Miss Shepherd's Waltz, Special Paint, Alive and Well and more.  But there are tracks in which Miss Shepherd’s past is revealed that are much more serious and classical in tone, represented in tracks like Piano Concerto No 1 in E Minor, Impromptu No 3 in G-Flat Major, A Sepulchre and Remembering Miss Shepherd.

                The score of The Lady in the Van is quite fun and I enjoyed the lighthearted comedy waltzes as much as the more serious classical moments.  Definitely a soundtrack worth taking a listen to.


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