Debbie Wiseman's Wolf Hall soundtrack shoots to number 1 in Classic FM chart

22 March 2015, 18:57 | Updated: 17 December 2018, 12:08

'What a shock,' says composer Debbie Wiseman after her score for the Tudor TV drama shoots straight to the top spot in the Classic FM Chart.

The Classic FM Chart has been dominated by André Rieu's album Love in Venice for the whole of 2015, so it's a huge achievement for Debbie Wiseman's score to Wolf Hall to be both the highest new entry in this week's chart and the nation's best-selling classical album. 

Listen again to the Classic FM Chart > 

"What a shock," the acclaimed film and TV composer said when Classic FM's John Brunning broke the news to her on this week's Classic FM Chart show. "To know that we've come up with something that people have enjoyed enough to actually want to go and buy the soundtrack on its own is just thrilling."

Listen here to Debbie Wiseman talking to John Brunning about being No.1 and working on Wolf Hall


The composer took an unusual approach to the soundtrack for Wolf Hall, avoiding anything that sounded like a pastiche of Tudor music. 

"Although there are Tudor instruments in the score, actually a lot of the music sounds quite modern," Wiseman said. "That was a very conscious decision to reflect the way Hilary [Mantel] has written the book which is very fresh, very relevant, and you feel like you're right there with the characters."

Wiseman started work on the music for Wolf Hall early in the production, writing some of the main themes before director Peter Kosminsky had even started filming. 

"He took those with him on set and found it very helpful," she told Brunning, "because he said having the music helped him to set the pace of the scene. And he was listening to it a lot, just getting involved with the music very early on."

There was a lot of pressure on the Wolf Hall team to live up to the success of the original book and acclaimed theatre production, Wiseman said. But "it just seemed to capture everyone's imagination. It was just a fantastic experience... a privilege to be part of such a great production."