The delicate artistry of composer Alexandre Desplat has always intrigued me, his scores always it seems contain so many beautiful themes and are crafted with what seems to be lovingly, each cue and every nuance containing something that will tantalise and infiltrate the emotions of any listener. One of his latest assignments LITTLE WOMEN is no exception and I would go as far as to say it is probably one of his best scores for at least three years. It contains wonderfully fragile and intimate sounding pieces in which the composer utilises strings and the light touch of a solo piano performance. In fact I would say that the score itself is built around the piano, Desplat laying the intricate but at the same time strong foundations of his work down via the instrument, and then adding strings and woods to create harmonious and melancholy sounding passages that are attractively entertaining, and contain subdued melodies that linger in ones mind long after they have departed. I have always remarked that Desplat is not a new Delerue as there could never be another, but he is in many ways an extension of the music that Delerue had created, or at least the style that we all associate with him. Desplat has as we all know worked on some of the most popular movies that have hit the cinema screens in recent years, and with each assignment and each project, his music seems to become more mature and even more attractive, if that is at all possible. LITTLE WOMEN is a story that has been committed to film on a number of occasions, and each time the score has always been a memorable one. Desplat I think goes even further with his soundtrack for the story as the music kind of becomes intertwined with the story line in a more personal way, in fact his music could even be described as an additional character, as it is so supportive but at the same never swamps the story being acted out and is inconspicuous but supportive. The composers light and airy sound is a joy and like a breath of fresh air, the lilting melodies and alluring compositions adding much to the production. A delight to listen to on its own, as well as hearing or not hearing it within the movie. Most certainly one for your collection.
Composer Alexandre Desplat has made a name for himself within the film music community in a relatively short space of time, his music for me is highly emotive and sensitive. The composer can create touching and fragile sounding themes that enhance support and underline any scenario that is taking place on screen. He is also a composer that is at home within any genre or, so it seems. Likened to Georges Delerue and compared with the likes of Morricone and John Barry, he is certainly one of the leading lights when it comes to movie music. His latest assignment is THE SHAPE OF WATER, which is currently doing the rounds and his work on the movie has already garnered him a Golden Globe Award. THE SHAPE OF WATER contains a score that is somewhat varied, but not in a bad or negative way. Desplat, treats us to a feast of delicate and light nuances that trip in and out of the listeners sub conscious long after they have finished listening to the work. These fragile nuances and emotive musical passages tantalise and enthral one as the score progresses and grows.
There is a definite Barry-esque sound present throughout the work, but also there is the style and musical identity of Desplat, which combined with the gentle nod to John Barry creates a soundtrack that is highly listenable in every way possible. The composer employs soft woods alongside plaintiff sounding strings and subdued piano and harp at certain points, there are also faraway sounding horns that combine with strings and accordion to create a dramatic but at the same time jaunty sounding motif, which is affecting as well as effecting within the context of the movie. This is a score that not only enhances and supports the images upon the screen, but it is a work that is an important and integral part of the movie itself as if the music is another character that is involved with the scenes and scenarios. Or is like an artist that is painting the emotions and into the scenes, elevating them and giving them greater depth and impact. I am not going to highlight any one cue from the score as I enjoyed every one of them. It is a soundtrack that you will love, with its delicate tone poems that exude fragility and purvey an emotive aura that is crushingly beautiful. We have with THE SHAPE OF WATER, poignancy, drama and a somewhat sinister and chilling undertone, so something for everyone, please go and buy this. The album also includes a handful of vocals, but even these are pleasing and appealing.
There are numerous new scores being released of late in fact it seems that no sooner have you purchased the latest soundtrack by a composer that another is being advertised or promoted. Alexandre Desplat is a composer who I followed for a number of years watching his gradual but inevitable rise to the top of his profession. One of the composer’s recent assignments is THE LIGHT BETWEEN OCEANS, this is a charming and most eloquent soundtrack, the composer making effective use of the string section as always and including some of the most haunting and mesmerising piano solos that I have had the good fortune to hear for a long while. This is a score that literally oozes emotion and is overflowing with poignant and affecting nuances and themes which seem to build from a mere hint of a theme into a gloriously subtle but at the same time substantial and melodious work. Desplat alongside Georges Delerue and John Barry I think is a Master at creating intricate and delicate themes which enhance perfectly the movie they are intended to support but also stand alone as just music that can be enjoyed and savoured away from any images. The sound achieved within THE LIGHT BETWEEN OCEANS is beguiling and beautiful, wonderfully luxurious with a lilting but powerful sound that the composer seems to be able to conjure up with ease. This is an intimate and touching work and one that I am sure will be returned to many times after the initial listen. Desplat’s musical fingerprint is unmistakable it is the light and emotive sound we here behind a love scene or the brooding and malevolent darkness that we can pick out accompanying a sequence that is harrowing or apprehensive. It is also the glimpse of a theme that builds and rises to become something that is special and stunning infusing hope into a situation that one at first thought was hopeless or fearful. PATH OF LIGHT track number 12 on the CD is minimal with piano solo taking the lead but the simplicity of this performance makes the composition just superbly affecting, as the track progress’s the piano is underlined by subtle strings which although are feint still bring greater depth and give the piece more substance adding a warmth and also giving the cue a higher level of impact. The same can be said for THE RETURN track number 13, piano again takes centre stage and also strings are brought into the equation but this time the strings are slightly darker and have to them a hint of the sinister. With a foreboding sound being created as the track reaches its conclusion. I recommend this soundtrack with no reservations, a must have item.
GODZILLA is back! Bigger and maybe even better and meaner than before if that is at all possible; one thing is certain the musical score by Alexandre Desplat is without a doubt bigger, louder, and certainly more inventive and savage sounding than before. Which is something of a surprise considering the recent scoring assignments that have been undertaken by the French Maestro. Desplat has of course written for adventure/epic movies in the past, GOLDEN COMPASS and HARRY POTTER for example, but we normally associate this gifted composer with more subtle and fragile sounding works or scores that contain elaborate and lush thematic properties, which go hand in hand with the images from more refined and art infused motion pictures that he has worked on. There are themes within GODZILLA but for the most part the music is action led and I suppose one could say atonal as there are no real melodies within these action pieces, there are however lulls in between the high octane material that make for a pleasant respite and are quite haunting and romantic. Desplat’s music contains a moody and somewhat dark and apprehensive aura, with darker and richly fearsome sounding undertones that are created superbly by macabre sounding piano, rasping brass flourishes and driving strings which are embellished further by the use of percussion and urgent sounding brass stabs which at times are bolstered by effective use of choir.
The compact disc opens with GODZILLA, this is a vibrant and slightly disconcerting mix of brass and strings with percussive elements creating a fearful and ominous atmosphere that is further enhanced and given life by imaginative and compelling use of violin and shrill brass sounds which punctuate the proceedings giving it an almost malevolent tone laying down the foundation for the remainder of Desplat’s aggressive and unrelenting soundtrack. The percussion plays a big part within the score, in fact it is present in 99 percent of sequences, driving and carrying the other instruments along on a tidal wave of thundering awesomeness adding a fraught tension to the proceedings and also creating a feeling of anxiety and strength, add to this the composers imaginative use of angry sounding brass, with French horns, tuba, trumpet’s and trombones combining in an explosive and anxious cacophony of sound that is in many ways reminiscent of composer Elliot Goldenthal utilization of the brass section within his score for movie INTERVIEW WITH THE VAMPIRE, add to this mix strident and striking strings that sweep along parting the way for the remainder of the orchestral colours and textures that Desplat employs, with the added support of electric violin and Shakuhachi this is a volatile and strangely attractive. I was reminded at certain points of Clifton Parkers classic score for NIGHT OF THE DEMON, Desplat,s music creating the same kind of atmosphere and mood as the Parker compositions. It oozes malevolence in places, the composer creating music that is frantic, fearsome and foreboding. There have been a number of reviews that makes comparisons between this latest GODZILLA score and also the music that was penned by David Arnold a few years back and although Arnold did produce a score that worked well within the movie and had the added bonus of being entertaining for us soundtrack collectors away from the movie, I have to say that Desplat has created a soundtrack that is shall we say more convincing in the terror department. This is a score that you will enjoy more within the context of being film music, by this I mean by seeing the movie and seeing how the music works marvellously with the images, as a stand alone collection themes, well its excellent stuff but not really something that you would put on to sit and listen to with a nice glass of wine etc, having said that I still would say to you go out and get it, recommended.
An evening of film music written by one of the LSO’s closest collaborators in recent years: Alexandre Desplat. on December 11TH 2014.
The LSO has recorded many of Desplat’s scores for films such as Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Parts I & II, Zero Dark Thirty, Philomena, Rise of the Guardians, The Queen, The Ides of March and new release The Monuments Men.
Programme to be confirmed.
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