Rachel Portman: Belle Main Titles
Based on the 1779 painting of Dido Elizabeth Belle, Belle is a 2013 British period drama film that was directed by Amma Asante. Not much was known about Dido Belle’s life, but we do know that she was born in the West Indies and was an illegitimate mixed-race daughter of Sir John Lindsay. The film focuses on Dido Belle’s relationship with Lindsay. Rachel Portman was asked to compose the score for the film, with the Main Titles being the first listen to any part of that score.
The Main Titles starts off quietly with suspended strings. The piano plays tiny parts of the melody before the lower strings take a new approach. The quicker tempo ensues and the strings take over the fragmented melody and it soon develops into a flourishing score of music. The simplistic manner in which Portman has constructed this is what is needed for a film such as this. The music is dramatic, but not overly so, it is well-balanced and showcases rich harmonies and Portman’s melodic construction. As the dynamics begin to come back down, the Main Titles to Belle end quietly as the music fades away.
For Belle, Rachel Portman certainly hits the brief of a classic British period drama score. The simple melodies lined with magical orchestrations creates an effective score that sets the film up for what is to come.
Ⓒ Alex Burns