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Film Soundtracks - Released February 12, 2018 | Decca (UMO) (Classics)

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How can music translate the idea of a natural element such as water? One Claude Debussy already tackled the subject, but Alexandre Desplat chose a different esthetics from the one of his elder—even if, just like with Debussy, the timbers are at the heart of Desplat’s idea. For this fantastic tale from Guillermo Del Toro, which tells the love story between a young mute girl, Elisa (Sally Hawkins), and an amphibian creature (Doug Jones), Desplat incorporated no less than twelve flutes to the legendary London Symphony Orchestra—alto flutes, bass flutes, transverse flutes. The partition integrates very few brass instruments, and it is the string and wood instruments that suggest the undulation and water’s fluidity. To this is added the delicacy of instruments such as the piano, the harp and the vibraphone, which reinforce this idea. From this uncommon orchestral canvas, Alexandre Desplat joins different themes and moods. Therefore, the title sequence is a solo whistling (performed by the composer himself), which represents the young heroine’s “voice”. As for the bandoneon (which symbolizes the creature), it accentuates the oneiric aspect of the pictures thanks to its sensuality and softness. Those two instruments graciously evolve together, just like the two movie protagonists, atypical heroes who dream of being the stars of a Hollywood musical. Because beyond this incongruous script premise, The Shape of Water most of all pays homage to cinema—mostly to classic American movies. Throughout the soundtrack, you will continuously find this feeling of nostalgia, especially in the choice to highlight the South-American percussion (bongos, congas…), evoking so many movies from the 1950s and 1960s (remember Touch of Evil, directed by Orson Welles and composed by Henry Mancini). For the end credits, and just like the movie’s subject, Alexandre Desplat plays the crossover card by calling upon soprano Renée Fleming to perform a brand new arrangement of the jazz classic from the 1940s You’ll Never Know. Finally, let’s note that with The Shape of Water, Alexandre Desplat won his second Academy Award, three years after his first one for Wes Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel. ©Nicolas Magenham/Qobuz
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Film Soundtracks - Released December 23, 2020 | Abkco Music & Records, Inc.

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Film Soundtracks - Released November 7, 2014 | Sony Classical

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Classical - Released August 28, 2020 | Warner Classics

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Alexandre Desplat is the composer of numerous film scores both in his native France and in Hollywood, where his score for Wes Anderson's Isle of Dogs is arguably the most charming. Yet he's not a household name like other film composers of his caliber. Airlines is perhaps an attempt to raise his profile with an album devoted to his music, and it may well succeed in this respect. The album includes extracts from Desplat's film scores, arranged to offer a prominent solo flute part; these include the well-known music for The Shape of Water as well as one selection from The Grand Budapest Hotel (the whimsical quality of Desplat's orchestration seems to fit Anderson's aesthetic perfectly). There are also lesser-known Desplat film items in a variety of moods and original concert works, including a three-movement Pelléas et Mélisande, in much the same vein as his film music. The title track, Airlines, is not the soaring orchestral work that might be imagined but an engaging and virtuosic solo flute work for Emmanuel Pahud. Desplat himself conducts the Orchestre National de France and achieves an impressively homogeneous sound. Those who have enjoyed Desplat's film scores will likely already be customers for this release. The thing is that it may attract those who are less aware of his talents. © James Manheim /TiVo
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Film Soundtracks - Released December 13, 2019 | Sony Classical

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Film Soundtracks - Released November 1, 2019 | Warner Classics

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Film Soundtracks - Released March 29, 2005 | New Line Records

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Film Soundtracks - Released December 20, 2011 | WaterTower Music

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Film Soundtracks - Released December 4, 2007 | New Line Records

French film composer Alexandre Desplat already had several exotic and evocative scores to his credit -- one thinks immediately of 2006's The Painted Vail and 2005's Syriana -- when he got the contract to compose the music for the film version of Philip Pullman's The Golden Compass, the first of the author's His Dark Materials trilogy. Like his previous scores, Desplat's music for The Golden Compass is made up of driving ostinatos à la Philip Glass, ominous harmonies à la Bernard Herrmann, colorful orchestrations à la Jerry Goldsmith, and emotionally charged motives à la Alexander North, plus a slew of spooky sound effects à la John Williams. The tone of the score, however, is entirely Desplat's own: located somewhere between ethereal and demonic and innocence and decadence, his music for The Golden Compass is as atmospheric as his music for The Painted Vail, but much weirder and otherworldly. Produced by Desplat in EMI's Abbey Road Studios and AIR Studio in brightly lit but deeply textured sound, this disc is a lovely aural souvenir from the film. Kate Bush's typically idiosyncratic but strangely haunting performance of her song "Lyra," named for the film's central character, is an apt way to end both the film and the soundtrack. © TiVo
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Film Soundtracks - Released May 20, 2006 | Playtime

As far as most American filmgoers are concerned, Alexandre Desplat came out of the blue with his Golden Globe-nominated score to Girl with a Pearl Earring in 2003 and right onto the Hollywood A-list of composers who do the music for as many as three or four big-budget movies a year (in 2005, The Upside of Anger, Hostage, Casanova, and Syriana; in 2006, Firewall, The Queen, and The Painted Veil). But Desplat had a résumé of more than 50 European features before he started turning up regularly in U.S. multiplexes, and fans of film music can begin to catch up with this album, containing music for four films directed by Jacques Audiard that use Desplat's cues. That's Desplat's entire output: Regarde les Hommes Tomber (See How They Fall; 1994), Un Héros Très Discret (A Self-Made Hero, 1996), Sur Mes Lèvres (Read My Lips, 2002), and De Battre Mon Coeur S'est Arrêté (The Beat That My Heart Skipped, 2005). The music shows a development from the inventive and playful See How They Fall, in which Desplat (who says this "is the movie in which I started to show myself and take some risks") must make do with a relatively small orchestra and does some interesting things with accordion, to A Self-Made Hero, in which the pizzicato strings mix with acoustic guitar, and on to the more formal later films, particularly the lengthy suite from The Beat That My Heart Skipped, a remake of James Toback's Fingers about a young man trying to decide between a career as a concert pianist and a life of crime. The last score, composed the same year as some of Desplat's Hollywood features, is closer to a typical mainstream effort, though still with its striking passages. © William Ruhlmann /TiVo
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Film Soundtracks - Released September 2, 2016 | Sony Classical

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Classical - Released May 9, 2014 | Sony Classical

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Film Soundtracks - Released October 11, 2004 | Gaumont

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Film Soundtracks - Released January 1, 2012 | Varese Sarabande

Composed, conducted, and produced by Alexandre Desplat (Girl with the Pearl Earring, The King's Speech), the soundtrack for Dreamworks Animation's Rise of the Guardians is as spirited and surprising as it is refreshingly old-fashioned. Desplat must have tucked away some extra magic after completing the scores for the final two Harry Potter films, because his work here is steeped in Hogwarts-inspired whimsy. Opening track "Still Dream," a sweet and sentimental ballad performed by soprano Renée Fleming, sets the tone, suggesting a classic old-world Disney approach to the fable, but Desplat never lets things dissolve into treacle, providing a muscular main theme that, along with the main melody from "Still Dream," weaves itself throughout the film with a quaint yet confident majesty. © James Christopher Monger /TiVo
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Film Soundtracks - Released September 25, 2007 | WMI Affiliate

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Film Soundtracks - Released February 14, 2006 | Varese Sarabande

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Film Soundtracks - Released September 14, 2021 | Abkco Music & Records, Inc.

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Film Soundtracks - Released December 12, 2014 | Parlophone UK

French film composer Alexandre Desplat caps off a prolific 2014 season with his deeply resonant and uplifting score to Angelina Jolie's WWII drama Unbroken. The film chronicles the true story of Olympian runner Louis Zamperini, who survived a dramatic plane crash at sea and internment in several Japanese prison camps during his military service. The increasingly in-demand Desplat also scored the WWII caper The Monuments Men earlier in the year, but the tone he adopts for Unbroken is far different, relying heavily on warm, sentimental themes to accompany Zamperini's inspirational story. Playing back and forth between airy, atmospheric pieces and massive, theatrical swells, he uses far more light than darkness here and the result is a very melodic and motivational score. Heavy percussive sections accent the militaristic feeling and nimble wooden flutes accent many of the Japanese scenes. The overall feel-good tone is enhanced by the inclusion of Coldplay's slightly bland but pleasant original track "Miracles." © Timothy Monger /TiVo
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Film Soundtracks - Released January 1, 2013 | Decca (UMO)

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Film Soundtracks - Released January 1, 2010 | Varese

French composer Alexandre Desplat has scored over 100 films during his prodigious career thus far, including standard Hollywood fare such as Sweet Revenge, Home Sweet Home, Firewall, and Twilight Saga: New Moon; French cinema including Regarde les Hommes Tomber and Sur Mes Lèvresto; indies like Syriana, Girl with the Pearl Earring, and Coco Before Chanel; and children’s films including The Fantastic Mr. Fox. His score for Roman Polanski's 2010 motion picture The Ghost Writer, starring Pierce Brosnan and Ewan MacGregor, is a highly animated work that brings in elements of vanguard classical traditions, late 19th century classical music, and well-traveled paths in composition for films pioneered by Georges Delerue and Bernard Herrmann. The 16 cues for The Ghost Writer's score are virtually all suspenseful, whether quietly as in “Investigation” and “The Predecessor” or more animatedly in “Travel to the Island” and “In the Woods.” Some of the longer cues, such as “The Truth About Ruth” and “Pr Paul Emmett,” are wonderfully narrative pieces that develop from one stage to the next seamlessly. That said, as a single piece of music The Ghost Writer feels very much like what it is, a series of cues rather than a unified whole as a score. It sounds as if it moves around one central theme: suspense, but does so choppily, though this is a small complaint overall. As film music, this works wonderfully; as listening fare, it's a tad monotonous because of its predictable dynamics and pacing. © Thom Jurek /TiVo