Cato Hoeben

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‘Prince William: A Planet for Us All’ is an intimate and eye-opening documentary that takes us on an exclusive journey alongside His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales (previously Duke of Cambridge at the time of filming), Prince William, as he endeavours to redefine his global status in service of environmental reform. In this two-year project, viewers are given unparalleled access to Prince William’s personal quest to understand how local action can serve as a catalyst for global change.

 

As a devoted father, Prince William’s love for nature has evolved into a fervent commitment to address the pressing issues of climate change and extinction. The urgency of protecting our planet has never been more palpable, and the documentary captures a pivotal moment not only in the Prince’s life but in the collective timeline of Earth’s well-being.

The film paints an intimate and charming portrait of Prince William, offering a unique glimpse into his life and concerns. With unprecedented on-the-shoulder access, the documentary delves into the Prince’s childhood haunts at Sandringham, where he shares his deep-seated worries about the environment. Through candid conversations and personal reflections, Prince William articulates the inspiration he draws from the legacies of his father and grandfather.

The heart of the documentary lies in Prince William’s determination to bridge the gap between impassioned youth advocating for change and the policymakers capable of implementing it, following a trend much like his father has. The Duke, firm in his belief that positive change is attainable, embarks on a journey to meet inspiring local heroes across Britain and the world which becomes a beacon of hope, demonstrating that impactful change is within our grasp, especially in the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic, which showcased the capabilities of governments in times of crisis.

Working closely with the directors, Prince William emerges not merely as a royal figure but as a passionate advocate for change. The film captures the essence of his journey, providing viewers with a compelling narrative that encourages a collective sense of responsibility.

About the score

I was asked to write the music by director Martin Williams of Talesmith who was working with Oxford Films at the time. The aim was to make the score more modern than traditional Royal documentaries to avoid the slightly pompous purely classical approach often used, a style that would not fit Prince William’s character. As such, you’ll hear a variety of soundscapes and synth work interweaved with live violins, cellos and acoustic instruments like guitar in a score that blends sound design with classical and modern into one.

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Prince Philip, commonly referred to as the Duke of Edinburgh, served as Queen Elizabeth’s consort from her ascension in 1952 until his passing in 2021, establishing him as the longest-serving royal consort in history. The film delves into Prince Philip’s early years, chronicling stories from his childhood to adulthood. Born into the Greek and Danish royal families in Greece, he and his family faced exile from the country when he was just eighteen months old.

In an unprecedented television event, over a dozen members of the royal family share their personal reflections, paying a historic tribute to the remarkable life of HRH Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh. This unique portrait of the longest-serving royal consort in history is a collaborative effort, featuring contributions from all the children of the Queen and Prince Philip, their adult grandchildren, and other royal family members.

Originally conceived to celebrate Prince Philip’s centenary, this groundbreaking documentary includes interviews conducted both before and after the duke’s passing in April. The documentary crew gained exclusive access to Buckingham Palace, exploring the duke’s study, private office, and library, meticulously preserved as they were throughout his seven decades at the heart of royal life.

The film offers poignant recollections, ample humor, and numerous fresh insights into the character and legacy of this trailblazing royal figure. With special permission to access the Queen’s private cine film collection, this documentary provides an unparalleled portrait of a man who holds a distinctive place in royal history, as remembered by those who were closest to him.

About the score

When I was asked by Oxford Films to score this fascinating documentary about Prince Philip for the BBC, I had to look beyond just laying down the generic classical mood music as is so common in these films. We needed to capture the personality of the Duke in his early years all the way up to his more serious demeanour in his later life without being too earnest.

No stranger to controversy, Prince Philip often had a very ‘direct’ way of communicating that many found offensive. It was a trait that needed to be seen more from the perspective of his upbringing rather than just purely off-handed comments that were arguably racist and misogynistic at times.

Bringing out this complexity in his character musically was something I played with at various points in the film, ranging from the more frivolous moments bringing up Charles to his frustration at dedicating his life as a consort at the price of his career.

“Queen of Hearts” stands as a gripping documentary skillfully crafted by director Chema Ramos and producer Marta Alamillo from The Flow Studio. The focus is on Larissa Swirsky, a Ukrainian Nazi spy who, in a fascinating turn of events, defected to British intelligence, assuming the intriguing alias ‘Queen of Hearts.’

Larissa Swirski, a name obscure like many women in history, emerges as a pivotal figure. Hailing from the Romanov family and settled in the province of Cadiz, this young aristocrat played a crucial role in the espionage network woven in Gibraltar during the Second World War, famously labeled Spy Row by MI5.

Initially aligned with the Nazis, Larissa, driven by the atrocities unfolding, transformed into a double agent, working for the Allies. Fluent in six languages, this glamorous woman served as the muse for Ian Fleming, inspiring the creation of the first Bond-girl in the iconic film Casino Royale.

Married to a military officer and connected to General Francisco Franco’s younger brother through friendship, Larissa secured a pass, courtesy of Lieutenant Colonel Eleuterio S├ínchez Rubio from the Spanish government’s ‘Straits of Gibraltar Information Service,’ allowing her to infiltrate Gibraltar. During numerous reconnaissance missions, she was often accompanied by her daughter Liana.

While the presence of a mother and daughter typically raised little suspicion, Larissa faced close calls on more than one occasion. Now, at the age of 88, Liana provides valuable insights into Larissa’s life, helping us understand and rightfully acknowledge her significant place in history.

 

About the score

To accompany his beautifully made film, Chema asked me to create a score that had a different tone to the many films already out there about the second World War. Specifically, he wanted me to approach the music not as a stereotypical WWII drama with purely melancholic undertones and dark sinister music, but rather to create a score that fit how Larissa’s daughter, Liana, described how the Nazi’s were ‘liberating’ people.

As such, while you’ll hear strong emotional themes with tension and some sinister cues throughout the score, you’ll also come across tracks with a magical and nostalgic feel to represent the almost celebratory language Liana uses to describe what the Nazis were doing.