VARÈSE SARABANDE TO RELEASE ‘JONATHAN STRANGE & MR. NORRELL’ – ORIGINAL SOUNDTRACK


Featuring the Original Score Composed By Benoit Charest and Benoit Groulx

(July 14, 2015– Los Angeles, CA) –Varèse Sarabande will release JONATHAN STRANGE & MR. NORRELL – Original Soundtrack digitally on July 17 and on CD on July 24, 2015. The album features the original music composed by Benoit Charest (TRIPLETS OF BELLEVILLE) and Benoit Groulx (STEEL TOES).

JONATHAN STRANGE & MR. NORRELL is a seven-part miniseries adapted from Susanna Clarke’s bestselling novel. 1806. England is beleaguered by the long war with Napoleon and centuries have passed since practical magicians faded into the nation’s past. However, scholars of this glorious history discover that one remains — the reclusive and skillful Mr Norrell (Marsan). His displays of magic soon thrill the nation. In London, he raises the beautiful Lady Pole (Englert) from the dead and summons an army of ghostly ships to terrify the French.

Soon the cautious and fussy Norrell is challenged by the emergence of another magician: the brilliant novice Jonathan Strange (Carvel). While trying to secure his beloved Arabella’s (Riley) hand in marriage, he meets a vagabond, the magician of Threadneedle Street, Vinculus (Paul Kaye, Game of Thrones, Stella), who tells him he is destined to be a great magician. Young, handsome and daring, Strange is the very antithesis of Norrell. A dangerous battle ensues between the two great men. Their obsessions and secret dabbling’s with the dark arts will cause more trouble than they can imagine.

“Episodes 1 and 2 were scored first to draw the principal thematic ideas and musical soundscape,” said the composers Charest and Groulx. “The process was fluid and open and as themes and sound flavours came to life, Ben Charest found affinity with the Gent and Lady Pole while Ben Groulx took care of Strange and Arabella. The two sides of Norrell’s character, dark and funny, was put in music by both of us. Later in the process, we used each another’s musical ideas to blend the score as one and discussed harmonic colors and orchestration to give the overall score a unique sound.”

The two Ben’s (Benoit Charest and Benoit Groulx) first met at the University Of Montreal Faculty Of Music where they became friends. They have collaborated on films scores as well as undertaking individual projects. Mutual artistic respect and empathy has led to their desire to work together on scoring projects from beginning to end. Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell is their first full score as a team. The plot, set in 19th century England around the times of the Napoleonic wars, called for a late romanticism influenced score…a composer’s treat!

Ben Charest is an Oscar-nominated composer from Montreal. He has written over 20 film scores, including the 2004 film TRIPLETS OF BELLEVILLE, which earned him many accolades. In addition to being a versatile composer, Charest is an accomplished jazz guitarist, performing regularly with some of Montreal’s finest musicians. Like many teenagers of his time, Charest picked up the guitar at age 13 to learn Beatles and Led Zeppelin tunes. After taking lessons, he went on to further his musical studies at McGill and Montreal Universities. He toured as a sideman for various bands in Quebec and abroad.

Benoit Groulx obtained a degree in composition, orchestration and counterpoint from Montreal University. He has been working as an orchestrator for the film industry in Hollywood for more than ten years for composers including Hans Zimmer, Nick Glennie-Smith, Justin Burnett, and others. In addition to composing the score for documentary films, fictions and cartoons and videogames, Groulx arranges and produces music for Cirque du Soleil.

“Except for a few cues where a synthetic drone is used, the score is entirely acoustic, full orchestra and chamber set ups,” the composers described. “Ben Charest even had a go at playing accordion while Ben Groulx was preparing a piano with sound engineer Mathieu Dulong for wild sound effects.”

JONATHAN STRANGE & MR. NORRELL is currently airing on BBC America. JONATHAN STRANGE & MR. NORRELL – Original Score on Varèse Sarabande, will be available digitally on July 17 and on CD on July 24, 2015.

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