Succession Original Series Soundtrack
You might point to anything else first – the direction, the script, the casting, the acting, particular shots – but I think one of the crucial elements of Succession (one of the greatest TV shows of all time, despite debuting just a year ago) is the score by Nicholas Britell.
It’s there bubbling away, beneath, always.
There’s the prominent opening theme – the main theme – which as the series progresses, returns in variations; a reminder to watch for something sinister, something Shakespearean but there’s also charming pieces of modern classical (Andantino for Brass and Orchestra in B Minor) and icy moods (Power – Instrumental) among the cues.
Britell, both player and composer, has impressed across the last 3-4 years with scores for movies including Vice, Moonlight, The Big Short and If Beale Street Could Talk, though I feel like it’s his work here that shines brightest; that plays to his strengths as young arranger and player – as well as writer/composer.
There’s a Nyman-esque surety to this score and though the prominence (and vitality) of the main theme might be a little off-putting to listen to without its matching set of pictures, almost a trigger, the rest of the album plays through with alacrity (Succession – End Title Theme – Brass Quintet Version), ominous and eerie tones (Mysterium – Strings) and, at times, a gentile approach (A Piacere – Orchestra Variation).
Every one of the short cues here (nothing above the two-minute mark, most around just one minute) is a study in deft composition. There are standalone favourites (Bell and Pizzicato Fantasia) that work outside and away from the TV show and then there are pieces that take you right back to the sinister edge of the series’ finest moments (Dark Minuet).
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