The Music of Netflix's 'The Crown'

Jan 25, 2017

Netflix's "The Crown"
Credit Vimeo

New Netflix original series The Crown is earning critical hosannas and wicked-high TV ratings internationally.

The series traces the reign of Queen Elizabeth II, from her early dewy days as a bride, to a monarch thrust into the position by her father's premature death, which was blamed in part on the selfishness of Edward, Duke of Windsor, who preferred marriage to a American divorcee than life as King of England.

The cast includes Clarie Foy as the young queen, Matt Smith as Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, and unforgettably, John Lithgow as the aged and imperious Winston Churchill. 

The series' wonderful performance and production values are evident in season one, episode one, as Churchill arrives at Westminster Abbey for the marriage of Princess Elizabeth to Lt. Philip Mountbatten, RN.

The aged warrior is not about to hobble down the aisle of a half-empty church. Churchill means to nearly upstage the bride by arriving late. He then proceeds down the aisle while the choir triumphantly sings I Vow to Thee, My Country, borrowed from Gustav Holst.

The theme music for The Crown is by Hans Zimmer. It effectively combines drama with the elegance that is the "look" of the show.

Zimmer's main title is complemented by the musical continuity written by Rupert Gregson-Williams. 

The playlist goes on to embrace Mozart, Offenbach, Tchaikovsky and, of course, Handel's coronation anthem, Zadok the Priest.

Some of you youngsters will have to look up the name Johnnie Ray, whose song "Cry" is featured in episode nine. He was topping the charts at the time when Princess Margaret was canoodling with a commoner, Group Capt. Peter Townsend, in 1954: 

Even before Handel, there was Henry Purcell. The Crown ​​uses music from his opera King Arthur.

Let's go back to the wedding. Churchill has grandly made his way down the aisle of Westminster Abbey on Nov. 20, 1947. Now it's the bride's turn.