Kris Bowers Prepares Music for “Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story”


queen charlotte: A Bridgerton Story” has one of the most complex yet formally consolidated scores of any series this year – Kris Bowers‘ original score, 18th century period music and a surprising number of string quartet covers of 21st century hits.

The Netflix series, which tells the prequel to the 2021 production “Bridgerton”, was made in 1761 by the King of England III. Flash-forwards to 1817 feature an older and wiser queen.

Bowers, who earned two Emmy nominations for his work, returned for the prequel but took a different approach. “This show needed a level of intimacy that ‘Bridgerton’ music didn’t have,” she says. “My first instinct was to write for a smaller ensemble and to microphone and mix the music in a more intimate and tactile way, with a sense of intimacy with the instruments.”

Bowers was playing the 18th century fortepiano for young Charlotte – “a very bright sound, a very different feeling,” says Bowers – as part of the chamber ensemble: string quintet (two violins, viola, cello, bass), sometimes adding a second cello . “Old Charlotte has a more ‘Bridgerton’ voice,” he adds, “a bigger orchestra, a grand piano, a more refined voice against the rougher voice of young Charlotte.”

In surprising connection with another Bowers project, just weeks before he got into the business of composing the music for “Chevalier” (the movie released earlier this year), French-Caribbean musician Joseph Bologne was inspired by the music of Chevalier de Saint-Georges. For the royal wedding, she penned a song with Tayla Parks called “A Feeling I Never Was” and other moments where “my reference point tried to emulate the Chevalier in different ways”.

According to “Queen Charlotte” music supervisor Alexandra Patsavas, executive producers Shonda Rhimes, Betsy Beers and Tom Verica “had the wrong idea about music and how it could improve storytelling, and we started the conversation long before production.”

Similar to the much-talked about covers of contemporary songs on “Bridgerton,” “Queen Charlotte” featured versions of the songs “written, performed, or transformed into cultural overpowers by women of color.” I Ain’t Got You,” “Deja Vu,” “Run the World,” “No One Understands Me,” and “I Will Always Love You.”

“Shonda Rhimes thought these iconic female artists of color – Beyonce, SZA, Whitney Houston, Alicia Keys – were perfect for telling Charlotte’s story through music,” Patsavas added.

The Vitamin String Quartet performed Keys’ “If I Ain’t Got You” for Lady Danbury’s ball in the third episode. Then, after the series ended, a music video for that song was shot, featuring 70 black women in period costumes while performing the orchestral version on Abbey Road in London. Bowers produced.

Patsavas also found about 30 classical pieces of the period – “Georgian icons such as Handel, Mozart, Purcell to ensure that the songs and sounds of the period are promoted and heard.”

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