The Magnificent Music Man of Downtown Abbey



Articles: The Magnificent Music Man of Downton Abbey - John Lunn

As much as the riveting storylines, glorious wardrobe and quips from the Dowager Countess give “Downton Abbey” its immeasurable charm, the music created by composer John Lunn adds a whole new level of depth to one of television’s most revered series.

“The music [of ‘Downton Abbey’] is not really like the period,” explained Lunn during an interview with Classical 96.3 FM. “English music from [that era], I did listen to it as research. Very occasionally on the series I am required to conjure up something quintessentially English countryside. But really, with the music, it’s all about the storytelling. It’s not really my job to conjure up England in 1912.”

As a child, music filled Lunn’s household. His father was a saxophonist in a jazz band and his mother would often play Bach around the home. Although Lunn’s parents would encourage him to pick up an instrument as a young child, he didn’t immediately get involved. However, after a brief love affair with revolutionary rock acts like Jimi Hendrix and Cream during his pre-teens, Lunn began to gravitate toward classical music at the age of 14.

Downton Abbey - Behind the Scenes   Downton Abbey - Behind the Scenes

“I [eventually] went to school one day and asked if I could have lessons on the cello,” recalled Lunn, who also composed music for ‘Grantchester,’ a series that’ll premiere on VisionTV on May 18 at 9pm ET/6pm PT. “There was no vacancy [for that], but there was for double bass. So I took that and it turned out incredibly well, because that’s the type of instrument someone couldn’t start when they’re 8. Most people who take up the double bass do so at 12.

“Also, in the area of Scotland I was growing up – Stirling – there were very few bass players,” he continued. “Literally, within two weeks of starting [the double bass] I was asked to join virtually every orchestra in the area. That was incredibly good for me, because I really had to pull my socks up to avoid embarrassment. Within about six months, I just knew that this was how my life was going to be.”

Lunn’s immaculate musical work for “Downton Abbey” can currently be found on the recently released series soundtrack, “Downton Abbey: The Ultimate Collection.” This double-CD package features musical highlights from the British drama’s applauded six-season run.

Downton Abbey CDs

Although the CD set represents a great closing note for the “Downton Abbey” TV series, Lunn confirms that his work with ‘Downton’ may not yet be complete.

“We may not have gotten rid of Downton yet,” added Lunn during his chat with Classical 96.3 FM. “There’s talk of a movie, there’s talk of even touring the music.”

How exciting is that?!

Currently, VisionTV is airing an encore presentation of the fourth and fifth seasons of “Downton Abbey” on Wednesday nights at 10pm ET/7pm PT, following new episodes of The Crimson Field at 9pm ET/6pm PT. 

On Wednesday, June 29, the sixth and final season od “Downton Abbey” will kick off on VisionTV at 9pm ET/6pm PT.

Downton Abbey S1E3: Mary Crawley (MICHELLE DOCKERY), Kamal Pamuk (THEO JAMES)   Downton Abbey S5E3: John Bates (BRENDAN COYLE) Sergeant Willis (HOWARD WARD)

For your chance to win a copy of “Downton Abbey: The Ultimate Collection” as well as a High Tea experience at Toronto’s Spadina Museum, please visit our friends at Classical 96.3 FM online and enter this incredible contest!

Just in case you were wondering about the impact Lunn’s “Downton Abbey” compositions have had on viewers, please have a look at these super social media posts:

-Adam Grant


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