the great soundtrack

The Great arrives on Hulu today, which gives us an excuse to share with you an exclusive track from Nathan Barr‘s score. Barr has composed music for Carnival RowThe Americans, and Hollywood, and the music he’s created for The Great is full of lush orchestrations with a hint of comical playfulness, which is perfect for the show.

The Great Soundtrack

The Great is a satirical series about the rise of Catherine the Great, as played by Elle Fanning. The show hails from Tony McNamara, writer of The Favourite, and it certainly appears to be in a similar style as that film. Here’s the synopsis:

A fictionalized, fun and anachronistic story of an idealistic, romantic young girl, who arrives in Russia for an arranged marriage to the mercurial Emperor Peter. Hoping for love and sunshine, she finds instead a dangerous, depraved, backward world that she resolves to change. All she has to do is kill her husband, beat the church, baffle the military and get the court onside. A very modern story about the past which encompasses the many roles she played over her lifetime as lover, teacher, ruler, friend, and fighter. Incorporating historical facts occasionally, the series stars Elle Fanning as Catherine, Nicholas Hoult, Phoebe Fox, Adam Godley, Gwilym Lee, Charity Wakefield, Douglas Hodge, Sacha Dhawan, Sebastian de Souza, Bayo Gbadamosi and Belinda Bromilow.

Our own Hoai-Tran Bui reviewed the Hulu series, and said that “despite some of the tonal and pacing issues” the series is “still a thoroughly enjoyable historical comedy, if a bit lighter on the satire than expected. The editing is brisk, the grotesque scenes of debauchery are darkly funny, and the royal scheming is pretty compelling stuff — with McNamara dipping into his Favourite bag as inspiration for the catty rivalries that Catherine makes. It may not be unquestionably great, but it’s certainly a grand old time.”

The show’s soundtrack comes courtesy of Nathan Barr, whose credits include Carnival RowThe AmericansHemlock GroveTrue BloodThe House with a Clock in its WallsThe Turning, The Hunt, and Hollywood. “They were looking for something completely different,” Barr said of The Great soundtrack. “My first pass on the demo was entirely synth-sounds with solo violin. To approach a beautifully shot period-piece in 18th century Russia using just synthesizers was certainly new for me. Once we got into the actual scoring though, Hulu felt that doing the score all-synth drew too much attention to the music. We ended up settling on a happy medium where it was oftentimes orchestral with synth elements which seemed to work well.”

The Great is now streaming on Hulu. The soundtrack will be available on May 22 and you can purchase it here. Check out the album art and track list below.

Track List
01. Intro
02. You Must Trust Me
03. In The Court
04. Hats From Paris
05. The Party
06. He’ll Be On You
07. Raccoon
08. Bathtub
09. Escape
10. Chess Game
11. Tea Dance
12. Archie’s Blessing
13. You Told Him
14. She Has Never Seen My Face
15. The Way Things Were
16. Leo Vronsky
17. Fire Dance
18. Do What We Want
19. Journey To The Front
20. Knife In Pocket
21. Tainting The Borscht
22. Next In Line
23. Let Them Come
24. It Is Over
25. Huzzah
26. Bird On A Wire – Simone Istwa
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