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10 Musical Selections That Inspired ‘The Duke of Burgundy,’ Curated by Director Peter Strickland

10 Musical Selections That Inspired 'The Duke of Burgundy,' Curated by Director Peter Strickland

It may be early to call it yet, but “The Duke of Burgundy” may possess the most intriguing end credits found in any film this year. Alongside your usual cast and crew, you’ll find much longer ones: the Pine Hawk Moth (Sphinx Pinastri), True Lover’s Knot (Lycophotia Porphyrea), and Chalkhill Blue (Lysandra Cordio) to name only a few. These credits indicate the countless insects that populate director Peter Strickland’s hypnotic, gorgeous new film, providing hints as to the themes and microscopic detail contained within.

We’ve already spoken to the “Berberian Sound Studio” director about the cinematic influences behind ‘Burgundy’ and also his behind-the-scenes experience. However, he also curated a playlist for us, comprised of music that swirled in his head while writing the screenplay and to which he would direct Cat’s Eyes, the duo of Horrors frontman Faris Badawan and operatically trained Rachel Zeffira that scored the film.

“It’s a domestic drama with a bit of humor,” Strickland explained of the film and its score when we spoke to him. “I wanted humor, but I also wanted it to have this very mournful, elegiac tone —sort of like a Joy Division album but maybe not as depressing. A bit like William Lawes, a very autumnal feel, like things are coming to an end and going into hibernation.

To achieve this tone, Strickland pulled from dozens of influences, as you’ll see below with his playlist of giallo tunes, Mozart, and even a James Bond theme for good measure. But first comes a beautiful live version of “I Knew It Was Over” from Cat’s Eyes’ self-titled debut album.

Cat’s Eyes – “I Knew It Was Over” (Live At The Vatican)

“I think Rachel had some contacts [at the Vatican], because she’s half-Italian, and also through her opera work —she’s a soprano. I think she found a way to wing it for the performance. I asked Faris not to sing on the soundtrack because I wanted “The Duke of Burgundy” to be a female world. He was fine with it, and he still plays on it and wrote the music. Their self-titled album is really fantastic. I think they work really well together.”

Basil Kirchin – “I Start Counting” from the 1969 Jenny Agutter drama “I Start Counting”

Harry Nilsson – Everybody’s Talking

Luboš Fišer – “Morgana” OST

Ennio Morricone – “Black Belly of the Tarantula” OST

Paul Giovanni – “Willow’s Song” from “The Wicker Man” OST

“It’s very rare to see a character singing about what’s going on in a film —just breaking into song outside of a musical context. It’s been done, but usually in a very ironic way. I wanted to do it in a very heartfelt way for this, for Evelyn just to break into song in the middle of the film.”

Louis de Pablo – “Spirit of the Beehive” OST

John Barry – “That’s my little Octopussy (Orchestral Version)” from “Octopussy”

Rita Coolidge – “All Time High – Theme from “Octopussy”

“The worst title ever, but it’s an orchestral version of Rita Coolidge’s ‘All Time High,’ which I love as well. John Barry was amazing at picking out the best parts of these songs. He did a great version of Duran Duran‘s ‘A View To Kill,’ where he just isolated the best chord sequences from that song.”

Mozart’s “Requiem”

“Such a painfully obvious one. We were actually going to have it in the film, but I thought ‘we can’t do this.’ It’s such an obvious marker. Instead Rachel said, ‘alright, I’ll do my Requiem,’ and she did it her way.”

“The Duke of Burgundy” is now playing in limited release and is also available on VOD. 

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