Rupert Gregson-Williams has always been one of the most underrated working composers in the industry. His work has always been consistently thrilling and engaging, but it’s usually his older brother that gets the attention (and Harry is equally amazing). Good ole Uncle Hans though has been trying to rectify the problem, and we’ve seen a sudden surge of Rupert over the past few years and finally we get to see Rupert getting the projects his talents deserve. They haven’t all been winners such as Winter’s Tale and The Legend Of Tarzan, but we do get a great full-bodied musical take on the early reign of Queen Elizabeth II with the score to the first season of The Crown.
Peter Morgan and Hans Zimmer built a great relationship after Frost/Nixon and Rush, which undoubtedly lead to Hans being involved here and putting Rupert in place as the composer of the series, which was a great fit. Zimmer’s sound permeates through the score as his sample library is quite unmistakable and matches the theme he wrote for the main titles.
The main body of the score by Rupert is a score that truly fills the soundscape. The prominent strings create a warmth and a presence that almost creates this layer of bedding to support everything. The whole tone of the score comes across as almost an espionage story, intricate builds and impressive musical sequences are showcased here in the album. This isn’t a score peppered with 1 and 2min cues, but rather 4-7min cues mostly, which demonstrates that Rupert was really able to create a truly immersive score. And that is really where it succeeds, it pulls you in as a listener deep into the drama. While the sound and instrumentation of the music overall may not feel unique or special, it’s the structure of the music and how Rupert carries our interest and emotions that make The Crown so memorable. And while the score is ripe with drama and plot that hooks us, there still are moments of character scoring that peak through to make it emotionally engaging.
Rupert Gregson-Williams is having a great year with The Crown and Hacksaw Ridge recently, and with Wonder Woman coming up we’ll definitely get to hear Rupert really open up as a composer. The Crown is a supremely engaging drama that is all the more intriguing because of Rupert’s full-bodied score. The music pulls us in and wraps around us like a blanket, we feel immersed from the get go, and once Hans’ main title theme kicks things off Rupert takes us on a wonderfully developed musical journey.
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