News Archive... AKA The Old Blog

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Thinking in Colors and Textures, Then Writing in Music

Published: January 7, 2007
(From The New York Times)

The trouble with Hollywood film scores these days is that so many sound as if you have heard them before. That’s less the fault of composers than of directors, who commonly prescore their films with temporary music during editing, then frequently expect the final score to emulate that “temp track.” So originality, when it occurs, can be startling, as when American audiences first heard the enchanting waltzes of Girl With a Pearl Earring in 2003, or the fairy-tale flutes and surging orchestral drama of Birth in 2004.

Both scores were the work of Alexandre Desplat, a 45-year-old Paris composer who also scored Syriana in 2005. His music for The Queen and The Painted Veil has raised his name as a potential Oscar nominee this season.

He wrote and recorded the score for The Queen in just three weeks, after Stephen Frears, the film’s director, decided another composer’s score wouldn’t work. “The first thing I said to Stephen was, ‘It’s very tricky,’ ” Mr. Desplat said on a recent visit to Los Angeles. “You can’t go too dark, too suspenseful, too funny or too sweet. What I felt was necessary was music with some grandeur and elegance, but still wit. It’s a witty movie.” Read more (subscription req'd)...