Muswell Hill violinist who played Jane Eyre score

Michael White talks to Jack Liebeck

�If you’ve seen the new Jane Eyre film, you’ll have heard the sumptuous, impassioned soundtrack score – written by Dario Marianelli who won an Oscar for Atonement.

And, if you’ve heard that score, you’ll know it’s virtually a violin concerto with the soloist embodying the soul of Charlotte Bront�’s heroine as she progresses through the cumulative anguish of her life.

The violinist is Jack Liebeck, winner of the 2010 Classical Brit Award for young performer of the year and one of the most dazzlingly accomplished soloists to have emerged from this country in a long while.

More specifically, he emerged from Muswell Hill where he was born, raised and travelled daily to the specialist Purcell Music School. His life then took a sharp turn into the fast lane when he made his concerto debut with the Hall� Orchestra, aged just 15.

Talking to him over lunch, I asked about the film and he confessed he hadn’t seen it all the way through. When it opened in America, he was on tour in Europe and, when screenings began here, he was performing in Australia. International musicians are, by definition, never in one place for long.

Pressed, he also admits that he hasn’t read the book.

Most Read

Although he says: “I knew the basic plot from my mother because it’s one of her favourites and she talked me through the story. One day I’ll get round to it. It’s just a matter of finding time.”

Finding time to record Marianelli’s score was an issue in itself. There was a gap in Liebeck’s schedule but only because he was due to go on honeymoon last December when the sessions took place.

“It involved some hasty re-arrangements,” he recalls, not saying what his new wife thought about them.

“Film work happens fast. The minute it’s been edited, they want the music more or less immediately.


“I didn’t know Dario but we were put together by my record company, Sony. I met him on a Friday. We started recording the following Thursday and, three days later, it was all done. Much of it was with me effectively sight-reading because there hadn’t been an opportunity to learn the notes beforehand.”

Listening to it on CD – just out from Sony – you wouldn’t know how how quickly it was put together. Rich in texture, sweepingly expansive, it’s a film score in the grand manner and constructed with the technical accomplishment of a composer who, before he took to Hollywood, was writing quirkily contemporary music for the BBC Symphony Orchestra to play at mid-week concerts in Maida Vale.

An interesting outcome of the project, though, is that composer and performer struck an instant friendship and there are plans for continuing collaboration on a concert piece: something unrelated to film music that would take Marianelli back to the concert world in which he trained.

Liebeck, meanwhile, is luxuriating in the triumph of his big screen debut – though it’s not exactly his first contact with the industry.

The musician, now in his early 30s, had a sort of blooding when he was 11, playing the young Mozart in a BBC TV film. “It was my debut and retirement in one go,” he says – so don’t expect ever to see him on general release.

But you may well hear him and you should seize the opportunity. He’s on the road so much that he doesn’t actually play a lot in London and won’t be around this side of Christmas except for a charity recital at Highgate Golf Club in December. Make a note of it – more details later on.

n The CD of the Jane Eyre soundtrack is available in all good record stores and on- oline at Amazon.