Film Music Review
The Sammy awards






Music for the films of Jacques Audiard (2006)

Music composed by Alexandre Desplat

21 Tracks (Playing Time = 74:12)



1-3 READ MY LIPS (2002)
4-9 SEE HOW THEY FALL (1994)
10-19 A SELF-MADE HERO (1996)
21 SEE HOW THEY FALL (Bonus Track - Traffic Quintet)

Album conceived by Stephane Lerouge and Alexandre Desplat. Produced by Thierry Wolf. Album montage: Xavier Forcioli. Sequencing: Solrey. Mastering: Jean-Sebastien Dupuis. Artwork: Fabrice Trovato.

Silva Screen SILCD1220

Rating: ***1/2


Film composer Alexandre Desplat (HOSTAGE, SYRIANA, BIRTH , GIRL WITH A PEARL EARRING, THE QUEEN, THE PAINTED VEIL) has had a long working relationship with French director Jacques Audiard. On this Silva compilation are four of his best known scores from these films.

In the CD booklet notes by Desplat (translated by Martin Davies), he writes the following:

"each new score is organically related to the previous one, although it stands apart from it...find an orchestral colour that's specific to each film, according to its subject, the way it's treated, the actors and the lighting, and still stay faithful to my own universe of melody and harmony."

His comments are illustrated in the four film score suites included on the CD compilation. SUR MES LEVRES (READ MY LIPS) is a very somber score feature mostly strings, with a violin solo by Gordon Nicolic. REGARDE LES HOMMES TOMBER (SEE HOW THEY FALL) is much lighter with a light-hearted main theme for piano and strings (track 4, 2:09).

UN HEROS TRES DISCRET is chamber music featuring the Traffic Quintet (2 violins, viola, cello, contrabass) plus percussion, harp and piano. It is a highly agitated, rhytmic score with little of the legato string sounds of the previous two scores on the CD. For example, "L'enfance a Lambersart" (track 11, 4:13) has pizzicato strings playing in an exotic dance tempo. There are also minimalist touches, such as in the next track: "Les annees de guerre" (1:27). This is a very unusual and intriguing score.

The fourth film score features a 15 minute suite from DE BATTRE MON COEUR S'EST ARRETE (THE BEAT THAT MY HEART SKIPPED) is played on higher register strings and piano. In his notes, Desplat says it is his most abrstract score to date. It does a very repettitive theme but one that might be said to represent the steady beating of the heart. It does grow in intensity and then retreats to a quiet ending. This is another highly intriguing score to hear. It features a violin solo by Dominique Lemonier and percussion by PhillipeMace.

This CD ends with a bonus track (3:16) of the delightful main theme from SEE HOW THEY FALL performed by the Traffic Quintet. This is probably the most memorable theme heard on the entire CD. So to have it several times is not a bad thing, though I prefer the fuller instrumental version on track 4.

The sound levels on this disc are on the low side yet it remains clear and distinct throughout, with good separation of channels.

One defect is not identifying all the instrumentalists separately and who the conductor might be. The fuzzy cover art design is also a turnoff and doesn't do justice to Desplat's four film score suites on this CD.

Alexandre Desplat writes these statements at the end of his CD notes:

"Jacques Audiard's cinema is made of emotional elements that are often masked by his virtuosity with form...It's my job to inject lyricism into his films with elegance and decency."

That is surely illustrated on this compilation of four highly original scores by Desplat, composed for the films of Jacques Audiard.

This compilation provides an excellent sampling of Desplat considerable film music talents.


--Roger L. Hall, 23 January 2007

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