How Beethoven helped The King’s Speech

Last year’s Academy Award for Best Picture, The King’s Speech, tells the story of how King George VI (who was never intended for the throne) overcomes a debilitating speech impediment in order to better rule England during the perilous years of the 2nd World War. The movie’s climatic scene, where King George successfully delivers a national radio address on the brink of World War 2 is set to the second movement of Beethoven’s Seventh Symphony. The piece starts softly and slowly and gradually builds to a dramatic, full orchestral finale. The entire movement is propelled by an unrelenting ostinato rhythm that gains in force taking on an almost frenzied tone by the movement’s end.


The story revolves around the English Royal Family. Classical music lends itself well to the regal atmosphere in the film. This is something classical music underscore does well. It can add a refined, even divine, beauty to a scene. Classical music is quite versatile as soundtrack but I hear it mostly used to underscore serious positive emotions like glory, bravery, eloquence, refinement.

There are exceptions, however. Clockwork Orange is one, where extreme violence occurs against a soundtrack of (mostly) Beethoven’s orchestral music. Here the music creates a type of absurd burlesque, making a sarcastic societal comment on the violence.

Terrence Malik’s new film The Tree of Life relies only on a classical music soundtrack as well. It makes sense, Malik’s storytelling is poetic and non-linear and attempts to bring a special type of beauty to filmmaking. The film zones in from theological and cosmological musings to capture the smallest human gestures.

French Canadian filmmaker André Forcier makes great use of Grieg’s In the Hall of the Mountain King in his film Je Me Souviens. This track was licensed from the UniqueTracks Production Music Library. You can also hear it used in the film’s trailer (below).

Example: Classical stock music licensed from the UniqueTracks Production Music Library

Because the classical music recordings in the UniqueTracks library use authentic symphony orchestras, the tracks have a genuine, unsynthesized sound.  We have Bach’s Brandenburg’s as well as several full Tchaikovsky ballets.


Premium Stock Music for Film, TV, Advertising and Interactive. Editor-selected, Easy Search, Fast Results UniqueTracks has a vast library of music loops and grooves plus a large selection of classical production music available for licensing into your production.

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