New Moon

Saturday Soundtrack # 10

New Moon

music composed, conducted and produced by Alexandre Desplat, on CD: E1 Music (E1E-cd-2075)

This film, directed by Chris Weitz, is based on the second book in the string of unfathomably popular novels by Stephanie Meyer. It continues the ongoing story of the relationship between moody, introverted Bella and brooding, sensitive vampire Edward. However, in a twist, native American teen Jacob has stepped to the forefront, revealing that he has fallen for Bella himself, and moreover that he holds a dark secret of his own: he and his family are werewolves, and have been at war with the vampires for generations.

Whether the (probably inevitable) success of the film will translate to an appreciation of the film’s music remains to be seen. Carter Burwell (composer of the disappointing score of the first film, Twilight) was replaced for this film by Desplat. I like much of Desplat’s music, including Girl with a Pearl Earring, CasanovaThe Painted Veil,(for which he won the Golden Globe Award for Best Original Score), The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (see Saturday Soundtrack # 5) and his score for director Weitz on The Golden Compass in 2007. So I had high hopes for this score.

Desplat’s music is better than the previous film’s in every way; orchestrally, technically and thematically, and in likeability. There is very beautiful string writing and some vividly dark moments, almost dissonant, which capture the romance and danger depicted in the film.

The main theme, as heard in the opening “New Moon”, is a simple melody. Using piano and a string wash Desplat deftly expands it to the full orchestra giving us a memorable, sweeping theme. Later, in the cue “Edward Leaves” another use of piano theme is employed to convey the bittersweet nature of the relationships. This is a lush, romantic score. I’ve listened to it many times, and the themes and interactions of them are revealing themselves to be nicely woven together into a most pleasing whole.

About Richard Robinson

Enjoying life in Portland, OR
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6 Responses to New Moon

  1. Rick, you continue to surprise me with these soundtracks. I would never have considered NEW MOON for purchase, but now I’m tempted. I’ll look around for some sale and pick it up. I liked the soundtrack of THE GIRL WITH THE PEARL EARRING by the same composer.

  2. Patti Abbott says:

    I had a long discussion with two friends last night about how none of us notice the music in a movie unless it is already familiar. We are completely focused on the narrative, I guess. Different brains.

  3. Richard says:

    George – when I like a film composer, I give almost any of the music a chance. After liking Pearl Earring and Striped Pajamas so much, I felt I needed to go with this one, and I’m glad I did. I’ll bet this will be on sale, since it’s recent (November) and a good gift choice. Go for it.

  4. Richard says:

    Patti – I think you and your friends are typical in that regard. Perhaps reading these Saturday Soundtrack posts, you’ll hear it a little more. Or not. If you see this, try to listen to the music, see the role it plays in the film.

  5. Jeff Meyerson says:

    You also notice the music when it’s intrusive, much like acting (can you say Giovanni Ribisi or Nicolas Cage?) that constantly calls attention to itself…and not in a good way.

  6. Richard says:

    Jeff, for me that’s mostly the soundtracks comprised of rock songs and/or really booming stuff (Batman, Spiderman). I tend to notice the music because I listen for it.

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