Monday, November 19, 2012

The Rise Of Alexandre Desplat

My journey with Alexandre Desplat and his lovely music has been an enthralling one. The French maestro had scored several theatrical and cinematic features in his country before rising to prominence in Hollywood with his Golden Globe-winning score to The Queen in 2006. However, I was acquainted to him after he was nominated for the 2009 Academy Awards for his sublime score to The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button. This particular score did not leave much of an initial impression upon me, but there were moments of genuine beauty in the tracks like Sunrise On Lake Ponchartrain. After repeated visits, my appreciation for this score has greatly increased now. It made me check out more of his numerous works, many of which quickly became my favourites.

His theme music for the second entry in the Twilight saga, New Moon, is simply otherworldly in its charm. His scores for The Ghost Writer and The King’s Speech received enthusiastic acclaim from critics. He provided two dynamite scores for the Wizarding World’s final stand against Lord Voldemort and his Death Eaters in the two-part finale of Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows. He continues to write a surprising number of calculated and impeccable scores for films every year, and is already being considered a strong competitor in the upcoming awards season for his edgy, impactful score for Ben Affleck’s Argo. However, for me and many other fans, the standout highlight from coming from Alexandre this year has been the one for the recently released DreamWorks animated film, Rise Of The Guardians. This delightful announcement had been made back in February, and highly anticipated by all his fans since. Apart from the official soundtrack release, the complete score has been made available for preview on a promotional DreamWorks website.

The score is a grand orchestral adventure brimming with lively orchestrations, bold themes and an omnipresent aura of adventure and fantasy. Fanfare Of The Elves is one of the most addictive pieces I’ve heard of late, which is already earning my “repeat” button numerous pushes. Lively winter/festival-favoured tracks like Snowballs, Easter and Sleigh Launch are complemented by burly action material in Chasing The Nightmares, Sandy Fights and Pitch At The North Pole (which features a frantic string ostinato similar to the one in Broomsticks And Fire in the final Potter film) among others. Jack’s bond with the Guardians and kids is portrayed by gentle symphonic score at apt places between the bombastic material. There are many more themes that’ll likely be better understood after watching the film. For my money, this is one of the absolute best scores of 2012 and a real treat. Here’s hoping that maestro Desplat finally receives his long-awaited Oscar for his delightful works this year.

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