That string-laden sweetness that sets the stage for some 19th century romancing in the first episode of “Bridgerton” — Netflix’s hot new period drama — isn’t Vivaldi.
Author: Chuck Arnold
Published: 2021-01-07 06:30 pm
How ‘Bridgerton’ puts a classical spin on Billie Eilish & Ariana Grande

That string-laden sweetness that sets the stage for some 19th century romancing in the first episode of “Bridgerton” — Netflix’s hot new period drama — isn’t Vivaldi. (That comes later in the season.)

Instead, that familiar-sounding instrumental is a classical spin on “Thank U, Next,” Ariana Grande’s 2018 smash. It plays as courting season begins for heroine Daphne Bridgerton (Phoebe Dynevor) and other high-society debutantes, all trying to lock down a suitable suitor in Regency era London. 

“It just seemed like a fun, cheeky way to score that scene,” said music supervisor Alexandra Patsavas, who has curated soundtracks for other Shonda Rhimes hit shows such as “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Scandal.”  “Of course, you hear the lyrics in your head. The lyrics are being whispered subliminally.”

“Thank U, Next” isn’t the only modern pop song that gets DeLorean’d on “Bridgerton.” Maroon 5’s “Girls Like You,” Shawn Mendes’ “In My Blood” and Billie Eilish’s “Bad Guy” also get corseted up for your sonic pleasure. The versions you hear on-screen — which are also featured on the new EP “Bridgerton: Covers From the Netflix Original Series” — had all been previously recorded by Vitamin String Quartet.

“They have covered so many current pop songs so ingeniously, so they have a wealth of options,” Patsavas told The Post.

But another contemporary tune — “Strange” by UK soul singer Celeste — got a tailor-made take for “Bridgerton,” courtesy of pianist Kris Bowers, who also composed the score for the series, and cellist Hillary Smith.

Meanwhile, Duomo takes Taylor Swift’s “Wildest Dreams” — originally released in 2018 — for a string fling that plays during a steamy sex montage.

“We tried many, many covers in this spot, and this was the winner, the very best piece of music to accompany this quite intense scene,” said Patsavas. “Once we saw it cut to picture, it was just all about hoping that Taylor would say yes.”

In order to clear the rights to these songs, Patsavas shows the music stars a rough cut of the scene planned for usage or at least gives them “a robust description” of the action. “I take it very seriously that artists are excited about what they are lending their music to,” she said.

By putting a current twist on classical music in “Bridgerton,” Patsavas — who also worked on the “Twilight” film series — is hoping “to invite a young viewer in,” she said. “But honestly, these are pop songs, and so it’s not just for young viewers — it’s really for everybody.”

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