Casual Cadenza: An ardent exposition of music and motivation

Esther Ju explores her passion for piano music in soundtracks of the movie “Pride and Prejudice” that recently arrived on Netflix. Photo by Pixabay from Pexels.

My last column made me realize that I have a slight preoccupation with piano music, which ultimately offered some inspiration for this week. 

As someone who’s not an English major nor usually inclined to read classic literature, my fixation with “Pride and Prejudice” could be considered peculiar. The first time I watched it was Aug. 19 and since then I’ve seen the film five times. It feels blasphemous to call it an obsession considering I haven’t even read the book. Either way, I guess you could still say I’m a little obsessed. 

When “Pride and Prejudice” came back to Netflix on July 16, I told myself I was going to watch it. Despite coming across numerous Mr. Darcy thirst traps on TikTok and seeing the rainy balcony scene pop up on my YouTube recommendations multiple times, I still managed to forget my oath weeks later. It wasn’t until all my friends left for their dorms that I realized my decision to do online classes at home had left me stranded that I felt ultimately alone and quite frankly sad. What better time to use Netflix as a coping mechanism? 

There are a number of different factors that attest to this film encapsulating the dream of its primarily young adult female fanbase, including the costumes, characters, rowdy balls and elegant dancing. As for me, it was the music. 

I’ve listened to the “Pride and Prejudice” OST by Jean-Yves Thibaudet numerous times and I still don’t know how to pronounce his name. Either way, it doesn’t lessen my love for the film’s soundtrack, especially its opening track. “Dawn” is a gentle piece that features light piano playing with notes that seem to bounce back from one triplet of a chord to another. For someone who is not a classical piano aficionado, that’s the best I can explain it. 

Other honorable mentions include “Stars and Butterflies” and “A Postcard to Henry Purcell,” songs that give me the ability to rewatch certain scenes in my head. With an orchestral string opening followed by a lone clarinet transition into a “Dawn” reprise, “Stars and Butterflies” attests to its euphoric name and (spoiler) is the music that plays during the reunion between Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy near the end, making it all the more enjoyable. 

Appearing as a diegetic sound in the film, I was pleasantly surprised to see “A Postcard to Henry Purcell” as part of the soundtrack. Carried by melodic violins harmonized by a deep-sounding cello, the song has a beautiful, yet catchy tune that tends to get stuck in my head every time I rewatch the film. Being the song that plays during Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy’s iconic dance sequence, I can’t help but consider it one of my favorite tracks. 

I’m happy to say that watching “Pride and Prejudice” during a time when I was saddened by my friends leaving and the seemingly inevitable loom of a global pandemic, has actually brought me out of the pit of unproductiveness. In fact, witnessing the musical talents of Elizabeth and Georgiana in the film actually persuaded me to rekindle my below-average piano skills that I developed during the fourth grade piano lessons my mom vicariously signed me up for. 

So yes, my enthusiasm for the 2005 film adaptation of Jane Austen’s classic novel can seem a bit superficial. After all, the aesthetic of frolicking in a green field while wearing a long dress never failed to indulge me. But there are more aspects of the movie that I enjoy other than its romanticized scenarios, aspects that have most ardently made me a more productive person. 

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