Alexandre Desplat

The Painted Veil [Original Motion Picture Soundtrack]

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Imagine Debussy's pentatonic melodies and Satie's ironic harmonies coupled with Legrand's grandly sweeping strings and Glass' minimalist ostinatos and you've more or less imagined Alexandre Desplat's score for the film The Painted Veil (2006). The composer of the scores for Girl with a Pearl Earring (2003) and The Queen (2006), the French Desplat sets Somerset Maugham's story of moral redemption in a Chinese cholera epidemic as a sequence of strongly evocative cues with haunting themes, striking orchestrations, and infectious rhythms. Ably conducted by the composer and superbly played by the Prague Symphony Orchestra, the score features Chinese super virtuoso pianist Lang Lang as a soloist on several tracks, and the disc also includes his deeply nostalgic performance of Satie's aptly chosen Gnossienne No. 1 that follows the film's opening title music. Recorded in widescreen technical sound by Deutsche Grammophon, Desplat's score for The Painted Veil catches the film's mood of morbid romanticism, and anyone who saw the movie and wants to hear the music independent of the images will be more than satisfied with this 54-minute soundtrack.

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