Having worked with RKCR on the previous three M&S Xmas campaigns, we were very pleased to be asked again to supervise the 2016 spot. This year the film, directed by Tom Hooper (The King’s Speech, Les Miserables, The Danish Girl), took a more narrative based approach than M&S’s last festive offering, and so required an original score to help tell the story.
After receiving the first offline edit, we began discussions with Academy Award winning composer Rachel Portman, whose multiple credits include films such as Chocolat, Mona Lisa Smile and The Cider House Rules. Rachel is a fantastically talented, melodic writer who we knew would be the perfect person for the job, and the ideal candidate to provide the necessary warmth and emotion to what promised to be a very special film.
With Rachel on board, we worked closely with Tom, agency producer Danielle Sandler and creative team Alice Burton and Psembi Kinstan, from the initial brief through to the delivery of Rachel’s demo. It’s safe to say that she hit the nail on the head, and instantly captured the perfect combination of compassion and excitement to compliment the visuals.
After some work experimenting with arrangements and dynamics, and with full client approval of the demo, it was time to head to Abbey Road to record it all for real with the Chamber Orchestra of London. With five cues in total (the longest of which being six minutes) we had a fair deal to get through, but with Alastair King – one of the UK’s leading conductors for film score at the helm, and engineer Andrew Dudman working the buttons, the whole day went without a hitch.
The six minute version was eventually released via Universal Records as a digital download, and reached the number one spot in the iTunes classical chart.
This was fantastic project to be involved in, and to work with so many brilliantly talented people was a real privilege. The final product is an unquestionably beautiful film, and one that we are very proud to have provided the music for.
Check out the final film below: