Effi Briest

Johan Söderqvist

" Unlike most of his other scores, this one is very clearly defined and can be seen as his very first classical score. "

Written by Joep de Bruijn - Review of the regular release

Effi Briest is a costume drama based on the book by German author Theodor Fontane. It's a tale about a woman who's unhappily married to a baron and therefore starts a relationship with someone else, ending in an inevitable tragedy. The film's directed by Hermine Gunthgeburth (Die Weisse Massai, Bibi Blocksberg) and stars Julia Jentsch, Sebastian Koch en Juliane Köhler. Johan Söderqvist composed the score, which was released on February 19th, 2009 by Königskinder.

Niki Reiser scored three of Gunthgeburth's films (Das Trio, Väter and Die Weisse Massai) and he would have been a fine choice for Effi Briest. But the director was looking for someone else, someone who could manage writing some kind of score balancing in between a modern and a classical sound. That someone turned out to be Söderqvist. The head of Constatin Music had heard his music from Efter Brylluppet, liked the mixture of modern and ethnic music and suggested him for filling in the position.

The score can be described as a classical and modern score using portions of minimalism and the composer's trademarks. Söderqvist wrote it for a traditional large orchestra, piano quartet and solo instruments, while also using clocks, pitched violins and electronic sounds. Apart from two sparse moments, the music never attempts to be historically accurate (late 19th century), but rather tries to support Effi's emotional state of mind. The music wonderfully fits the theme of repressed desire, timidly, love and makes you very aware of the state of mind of a woman who's on the verge of a nervous breakdown. Söderqvist defines his themes very straightforward, clearly and never seems to slow down, even for a minute. Whether it is the driving, epic force of the orchestra or smaller, intimate moments for the piano quartet, you're convincingly carried away with it.

For those who love Söderqvist, should take notice of this score. Unlike most of his other scores, this one is very clearly defined and can be seen as his very first classical score. You can say this is quite a different direction for a composer who usually works much more with mood building atmosphere by utilizing unusual sounds. But let us not steer away too much from the thing that matters most, namely that this is yet another very gripping score by an incredible film composer. The cherishable release by Königskinder contains a nice booklet with a German interview with the director and composer on the music. Some German web shops sell copies that have been personally signed by the composer.

Listen to cues on the composer’s official website


1. The Proposal (2.49)
2. Birds in a Cage (1.16)
3. Effi Is Alone (1.42)
4. Walk in Despair (0.54)
5. Effi Meets Crampas (1.42)
6. Trying to Kiss Her (1.51)
7. The Chinese and the Bride (0.36)
8. Crampas (1.04)
9. Effi Goes to the Theatre (0:53)
10. The Cabin (1.12)
11. Effi Runs to Crampas (2.21)
12. Roswitha (1.03)
13. Lovemeeting (1.35)
14. The Ride (1.17)
15. In the Dunes (1.22)
16. The Farewell (2.42)
17. Flowers from Gieshuebler (1.06)
18. In the Carriage (1.52)
19. Effi Goes Home (2.07)
20. The Duel (1.24)
21. To Berlin (1.14)
22. Effi is Banished (1.36)
23. The Letters (1.38)
24. Effi and the Chinese (1.22)
25. Annie (1.46)
26. Effi Briest (6.00)

Total Length: 44:24
(click to rate this score)  
(total of 24 votes - average 4.02/5)

Released by

Königsk B001PSEVEC (regular release 2009)

Music conducted & orchestrated by

Hans Ek

Additional orchestrations by

Ingvar Karkoff

Performed by

The Slovak National Symphony Orchestra