WHEN Craig Armstrong sat down in his Glasgow studio to compose the cues for a romantic comedy 20 years ago, he had no idea the film would become one of the world’s most beloved cult classics – and that his score would be a central part of the film’s enduring appeal.

Starring an ensemble cast, including Alan Rickman, Bill Nighy, Emma Thompson, Hugh Grant and Colin Firth, the intertwining romances of Love Actually were beautifully punctuated and accented by Armstrong’s original score when it was released in 2003.

The National: DANCING: Love Actually

Now, the award-winning musician has returned to his original compositions for an exciting new project, released by independent Glasgow-based record label CMA Records.

The Scottish composer’s new album, Love Actually – The Love Themes For Orchestra, comprises 15 songs from the film’s original score, all adapted, extended and reworked to celebrate not only the film’s 20th anniversary, but fulfil Armstrong’s long-held ambition to create fuller versions of his now classic compositions.

Due to the nature of film editing, Armstrong’s cues were often cut down to shorter versions but revisiting the score has allowed the Grammy winner to write fuller ones, which have been performed by the Budapest Art Orchestra, conducted by Peter Pejtsik, for the album.

“Getting the chance to work on this film 20 years ago was an exciting and sometimes complex process,” said Armstrong, who has scored many other popular films over his illustrious career, including The Great Gatsby, Moulin Rouge!, Elizabeth: The Golden Age, Far From The Madding Crowd, Snowden and Ray, for which he has achieved many awards including a Golden Globe, Ivor Novellos and Baftas including being awarded a Grammy for Best Original Score.

“Of course, I had no idea that this film would go on to be so loved, and it’s a testament to all the crafts involved in filmmaking that lead to it being the success it is today.”

The tracks on the new album are updated versions of the most poignant, moving parts of the Richard Curtis film, including Croissants In France, which fans will know and love for its use during the lost in translation love story of Jamie (Colin Firth) and Aurelia (Lucia Moniz), and Glasgow Love Theme, a piano-led piece, which soundtracks the unrequited love between Mark (Andrew Lincoln) and Juliet (Keira Knightley).

As Love Actually was Armstrong’s first score for a romantic comedy, director Richard Curtis gave him one piece of advice – not to worry about writing the comedy but concentrate more on the emotion of the film. Glasgow Love Theme is perhaps the most heartfelt example of this advice made real.

“Of the original compositions for Love Actually, Glasgow Love Theme is one of my favourites,” Armstrong said.

“It was written here, in Glasgow, 20 years ago, and I’m so pleased to have had the chance to go full circle and write the extended full versionas I had always imagined it. My thanks go out to all the musicians involved in making the Love Actually score so loved.”