Princess Ka'iulani

Musical Score By: Stephen Warbeck

Distributed by: MovieScore Media

Reviewed by Melissa Minners


            Princess Ka’iulani is a biographical film that tells the tale of one of the last heirs to the thrown of the Kingdom of Hawaii Q'orianka Kilcher stars as the princess as the movie spans through her happy life in Honolulu to the imposition of the Bayonet Constitution, through her education in England, the overthrow of the Kingdom of Hawaii and her subsequent campaign to reverse the overthrow, culminating in her return to Hawaii.

            The musical score of Princess Ka’iulani was created by British composer Stephen Warbeck whose interests in music began with piano and music composition studies at the age of four.  By his mid-teens, encouraged by his amateur musician parents, Warbeck developed interests in rock and roll and acting.  After graduating from Bristol University, Warbeck pursued a career in acting, but he eventually turned his passions toward writing music, creating musical scores for the British television series, Prime Suspect, as well as such notable films as Shakespeare in Love, Billy Elliott, Charlotte Gray and more.

            The music of Princess Ka’iulani is performed by the Honolulu Symphony Orchestra and was designed to reflect the emotions and struggles of the princess herself rather than the setting of the film.  According to Stephen Warbeck, “It does not seek to create the sense of place. Elements of source music do this and belong in that part of history where the film takes place. In the score, we sought to serve the emotional journey of Kaiulani.”

            Thus, we note the various emotional ups and downs in the music as the score begins with a sense of joy, beauty and an indication of hopefulness, gradually getting darker until we reach the end.  The music contains classical connotations and I loved the insertion of Tchaikovsky’s Barcarolle in the soundtrack.  The song is sad, but contains such beauty and a sense of peaceful tranquility.  I also enjoyed the beautiful intricate piano and violin solos scattered throughout the score.

            The Princess Kai’ulani Soundtrack is a beautiful example of classical orchestral music that works perfectly as background music for a film as well as a stand alone album to be enjoyed by any music aficionado. 


For feedback, visit our message board or e-mail the author at