Composer behind BAFTA Award-winning score to Broadchurch comes to Manchester

Olafur Arnalds, the BAFTA Award-winning composer behind the stunning soundtrack to Broadchurch is set for the Royal Northern College of Music on 26th February.  The Mercury Classics Artist enjoyed massive international success with his third album For Now I Am Winter, which topped the US Classical Charts and was hailed by critics worldwide, expanding on his original exploration of minimal sound and electronic style, being the first of his works to feature a full orchestra and vocals.

But it was Broadchurch which thrust Arnalds into the spotlight, with the Icelandic composer penning the soundtrack to the record-breaking 2013 British drama.  The first series of Broadchurch, about the hunt for the killer of a young boy in a small coastal community, was a success story of British television, picking up an audience of 10 million viewers, as it became the highest-rated drama on the UK’s main commercial channel and broke viewing records in France.

Critics lauded the score to the show and fans were taken in with the emotionally powerful and austere soundscapes.  The composer already had a fan in Chris Chibnall, author of Broadchurch, who had listened to Arnalds’ music whilst writing the script.  Drawn in by the classical, electronic crossover sounds, Chibnall approached Arnalds to compose the score.  ‘Ólafur’s music just broke my heart.  I instinctively felt if we could get him, it would be amazing,’ said Chibnall.  It was a move which paid dividends.

In a remarkably short space of time, Arnalds created an atmospheric and hypnotic score which captured both the mood and direction of the plot and the imaginations of millions of viewers.  He assigned evocative themes to the most important characters and elements of the story, including the bleak and dominating Broadchurch cliffs (which are in reality part of the UK’s spectacular Jurassic Coast, a World Heritage Site in Dorset.) ‘The music is a narrative all of its own,’ commented Chibnall.  The sensational music, which built the atmosphere throughout the series, becoming as integral as plot developments, assisted in helping the show achieve international success in 135 countries.  Chibnall even included lyrics, written by himself, teasing the identity of the killer.

Composed for string quartet, piano and synthesizer, the soundtrack was recorded in an empty church in Reykjavik and was finally made available as a full length album, featuring the best of the music to series 1 and 2 of the hit show, through Mercury Records in January 2015.

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Image of Olafur Arnalds Copyright Marino Thorlacius/Mercury Classics.