On 14th June 2012 at 16:59 Chris Grey wrote...
I love film soundtracks and scores. Think I need to take a listen to this.
By Various Artists
Wes Anderson is a director who places music around his inventive plots to create just the right amount of intensity, reflection and curiosity. In The Royal Tennenbaums we are introduced to the performing players with the wonderful 2nd Movement of Maurice Ravel's impressionist masterpiece of a String Quartet in F.
In The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou not only are we treated to Brazilian covers of Bowie songs by Seu Jorge but also a quirky score from Mark Mothersbaugh of Devo. In The Darjeeling Limited not only do we see contemplation round a fire to Debussy's 'Claire de lune' but a soundtrack driven by film music used and composed by visionary Indian Bengali director Satyajit Ray. With Moonrise Kingdom's release we see a return to live action films after a detour to make a humorous interpretation of Roald Dahl's 'Fantastic Mr Fox'. As I write this review I am in the unfortunate position to be able to place the music within the film context, something that is crucial to Anderson's work so I can only give half the story.
Staring at the track listing there is a whole array of works from classical composers including Bernstein and Britten held alongside 60s French icon Francoise Hardy. There are even a couple of songs by troubadour Hank Williams sitting neatly alongside some original compositions by serial Anderson offender Mothersbaugh. The album curiously opens with Britten's 'Young Person's Guide to The Orchestra' as performed by the New York Philharmonic. This instructional guide, narrated by a young boy, is full of the retro quirk Anderson is associated with, plus it is educational! We then dive into the American summer camp with the call of the bugle for Peter Jarvis' 'Camp Ivanhoe Camp Medley' which provides what you would expect from such a title. We are then taken back to the pastoral and jovial 'Playful Pizzicato' by Britten, a composition that seems to build scenery. We are then taken to playing a game of 'Cowboys and Indians' with Hank Williams 'Kaw-Liga' with a darn good country fiddle solo and those stereotypical talking drums one would expect from a western.
It is hard to review classical well known works on a soundtrack, past critics and those in the know hold these works as greats. That being said I personally dislike Britten's 'Noye's Fludde' and find it quite monotonous after hearing the words 'Kyrie Elision' too many times!
The original soundtrack centers around a suite composed by Alexandre Desplat entitled 'The Heroic Weather-Condition of the Universe' is a wonder to the ears with such invigorating and interesting sounds. The second part of the suite 'Smoke/Fire' combines a plethora of mysterious sounds from a Banjo, a glockenspiel, a harp and woodblocks with strings and even the odd tubular bell. This work for me is the best thing about this diverse soundtrack. The other highlight for me on this soundtrack is the contribution from Francoise Hardy 'Le Temps de l'Amour' a sleek sophisticated and sexy tune over a sleek backing from a twanging guitar. This track is the height of cool.
You would be pushed to find such a diverse soundtrack to a film at the moment. Anderson appears to see music as something elemental to pushing a story irrespective of the concerns of genre. I thoroughly enjoyed this trip down a twisty river with gems along the way.