Schumann’s Piano Quintet in “The Favourite”

Impressed by Eileen Jones’ review – even after making adjustments for her bias/angle – I probably expected too much of Yorgos Lanthimos’s latest work. What grated in particular was his use of Schumann’s Piano Quintet as musical background for more than one scene. Granted, the film is a no holds barred, anything-goes tragicomedy, but somehow, some things just don’t belong there.

I understand how Lanthimos would have hated having to use nothing but period English music. While he did include a bit of Purcell, his soundtrack covers more than three centuries – even Messiaen gets a hearing. Remarkably, the Schumann piece is not on the soundtrack album. It probably has to do with copyright but I’d like to think the director felt uneasy about the music’s association with his film.

Why? The Favourite is impossible in Schumann’s world. Or, perhaps, Schumann’s music exists in a dimension absent from the film.

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