Alexandre Desplat

The Shape of Water [Original Motion Picture Soundtrack]

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Composer Alexandre Desplat's ninth Oscar-nominated film score, The Shape of Water is part suspense, romance, and whimsy befitting a fantasy-romance about a mute cleaning woman (Sally Hawkins) and a misunderstood captive of the secretive government facility where she works. Set during Cold War 1962, the original music has a sentimental mood that coexists seamlessly with licensed tracks by the likes of Glenn Miller ("I Know Why [And So Do You])" and Andy Williams ("A Summer Place"). The soundtrack also features Desplat at the piano with opera star Renée Fleming on the tear-stained ballad "You'll Never Know," the 1943 Academy Award winner for Best Original Song. Instrumentation that includes accordion, harp, and whistling color The Shape of Water's score, which also makes use of an orchestra, if with a restrained approach. With water featuring prominently in the film's plot and design, Desplat's woodwind section, for instance, consisted only of flutes, to better embody his idea of the sound of water. Lead character Elisa's theme is introduced with an accordion over delicate harp, flutes, and celesta that are eventually joined by strings and piano. More suspenseful passages include drums and lower-pitched instruments, with versions of arpeggiation and glissando also evoking water. Other preexisting songs incorporated into the film include Madeleine Peyroux's "La Javanaise," Carmen Miranda's "Chica Chica Boom Chic," and a 1956 version of "Babalu" by Caterina Valente and Silvio Francesco. Whether intentional or by unconscious influence, one may hear references to film composers from the era of the story's setting as well, including Mancini and Herrmann.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
The Shape of Water
1 03:44 Amazon
2 04:39 Amazon
The Shape of Water
3 01:48 Amazon
4 02:37 Amazon
5 02:10 Amazon
6 01:44 Amazon
7 01:11 Amazon
8 01:33 Amazon
9 01:36 Amazon
02:14 Amazon
11 01:45 Amazon
12 02:13 Amazon
13 10:59 Amazon
14 02:19 Amazon
15 02:24 Amazon
16 01:40 Amazon
17 02:57 Amazon
18 02:32 Amazon
19 03:14 Amazon
20 01:52 Amazon
21 04:11 Amazon
22 02:59 Amazon
23 02:21 Amazon
24 02:53 Amazon
A Summer Place
25 02:37 Amazon
26 06:49 Amazon
blue highlight denotes track pick