The British composer Nigel Hess (b. 1953) has written hundreds of scores for stage and film, but it was his score for Charles Dance’s 2004 film, Ladies in Lavender that he truly struck gold with classical music fans. The film, starring Judi Dench and Maggie Smith, is a period drama set in 1930s Cornwall. Hess’s lyrical score harks back to the Romantic era, with its indulgent, wistful sound and tug-on-your-heart-strings tunes that perfectly matches the stunning scenery in the film. The score also includes a stand-alone Fantasy for Violin and Orchestra in which Hess turns the major melody on its head, reworking it in a minor key.
For the main theme, Hess employs a full orchestra along with a solo violin, performed on the original soundtrack by the celebrated American violinist, Joshua Bell.