Craig Armstrong, whose previous affiliation is, notably, with Hipsway, has scored many films that include Moulin Rouge, Romeo+Juliet, Ray, and Love Actually. Additionally, his collaboration on the independent film, Elizabeth: The Golden Age, is with A.R. Rahman, who has worked in Indian music, and has done numerous film scores in India. To fully appreciate A.R. Rahman, just note the opening and end credits song, “Chaiyya Chaiyya” from the Spike Lee-directed Inside Man, and the Hindi film, Dil Se. With the combined talents of these two composers, it is a reasonable expectation that the score-work for Elizabeth: The Golden Age would be a superior piece of work.
The story of 16th Century politics with the lone Queen and her nemesis, King Philip II of Spain, who seeks to restore England to Catholicism that much of Europe is already in the grip of. England is singular in its Protestant affiliation and Elizabeth plans to keep it that way. The film surveys the threats to Elizabeth not only from without but also from within. Her reign is a lonely one as she falls deeply in love with Sir Walter Raleigh, only to have her lady-in-waiting usurp the affection of Raleigh even as she is pushed into that direction by Queen Elizabeth herself to keep Raleigh near.
The film’s direction zero in on Elizabeth primarily as she walks in doubt, rages in anger, mourns in her deprivation, and rules with certainty and fear. Armstrong and Rahman’s score delineate not only those emotions with strength but also with precision. With a beautiful sound-work framing the film, both composers have provided a score that fits the film quite well. With its choir work, and hauntingly majestic score, this work complements the film quite well.