Vanity Fair [Original Soundtrack]

Vanity Fair [Original Soundtrack]

by Mychael Danna



William Makepeace Thackeray's satire Vanity Fair (first published in magazine installments, 1874-78) is a "Novel Without a Hero," as its subtitle proclaims, but it is not without a villain who has her reasons: Becky Sharp is a young woman lacking a fortune or a position in British society in the first half of the 19th century and is forced to make her way on her wits while happily unencumbered by scruples or morals. She is, in Thackeray's view, the ideal person in a world full of hypocrisy and materialism. In a contemporary world she is scarcely less so. Director Mira Nair might have attempted a modern version for her film adaptation, but she chose instead to go back to the original setting and cast Reese Witherspoon as Sharp. That compels composer Mychael Danna to write music in the style of the day, which means orchestral scores with classical and romantic antecedents, as well as chamber music. She sets poems by Lord Byron and Alfred, Lord Tennyson to tunes and has them sung by Sissel and Custer LaRue, respectively. She references Beethoven and Haydn, and even flirts anachronistically with Tchaikovsky when she gets to the battle of Waterloo. There isn't much suggestion of Thackeray's social criticism, at least in the music; the composer seems to have concentrated on matching the scenery and the costumes. Toward the end, there are a couple of Indian songs, "El Salaam," by Hakim, and "Gori Re," sung by Shankar Mahadevan and Richa Sharma, that come as a surprise and seem out of place.

Product Details

Release Date: 08/31/2004
Label: Decca
UPC: 0602498631256
catalogNumber: 000307602


  1. She Walks in Beauty
  2. Exchange
  3. Becky and Amelia Leave School
  4. The Great Adventurer
  5. Becky Arrives at Queen's Crawley
  6. Andante
  7. No Lights After 11
  8. Adagio
  9. I've Made Up My Mind
  10. Ride to London
  11. Becky and Rawdon Kiss
  12. Sir Pitt's Marriage Proposal
  13. I Owe You Nothing
  14. Piano for Amelia / Announcement of Battle
  15. Time to Quit Brussels
  16. Waterloo Battlefield
  17. Amelia Refuses Dobbin / The Move to Mayfair
  18. Now Sleeps the Crimson Petal
  19. Steyne the Pasha
  20. El Salam
  21. The Virtue Betrayed
  22. Rawdon's End
  23. Dobbin Leaves Amelia
  24. Vanity's Conquerer
  25. Gori Re

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Mychael Danna   Primary Artist,Piano
Nicholas Dodd   Conductor
Tony Hinnigan   Bass Flute
David McGuinness   Piano,Fortepiano
Sissel Kyrkjebø   Soprano,Soprano (Vocal)
Shankar Mahadevan   Vocals
V. Selvaganesh   Percussion
Custer LaRue   Soprano,Soprano (Vocal)
Joe Ayoub   Bass Guitar
Richa Sharma   Vocals
Anthony Hinnigan   Irish Flute
Hakim   Vocals
Philharmonia Orchestra   Performing Ensemble

Technical Credits

Nicholas Dodd   Orchestration
Mychael Danna   Composer,Producer,Orchestration
David McGuinness   Arranger
Brad Haehnel   Engineer,Engineering
Kathy Nelson   Soundtrack Executive Producer
Isabelle Wong   Art Direction
Alfred Lord Tennyson   Composer,Lyricist
Traditional   Composer
Byron   Composer,Lyricist
Javed Akhtar   Composer,Lyricist
Jennifer Dunnington   Producer

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