Hi! I decided to post on Valentine's Day this week. Why? Because our February composer of the month is my favorite composer of all time and I'm in love with his music :) Everyone, let me introduce you to Alexandre Desplat!
Alexandre (we're on a first name basis in my imagination) was born on August 23, 1961 in the beautiful Paris, France. He began his musical journey by playing the piano at age 5. As he grew older, he was classically trained as a flautist, and then expanded his range of talents to include knowledge of Jazz, Brazilian, and African music. These diverse styles definitely show through in his scores, especially in the rhythms he uses. He had a passion for both movies and music writing, and combined those passions by writing music for film. In his adolescence, he studied the work of the great film composers who came before him, including John Williams.
Alexandre began writing for movies in the 1990s, mostly for European films. He burst on the Hollywood scene when his score for Girl with a Pearl Earring was nominated for a Golden Globe, and since then, many his scores have been received with acclaim and nominations galore-five Academy Award nominations, six BAFTA nominations (One win for The King's Speech), six Golden Globe nominations (one win for The Painted Veil), and two Grammy nominations. In fact, he's basically been nominated every year for the past 5 years, but much to my chagrin and angst, he's not as decorated with awards as he should be. If he doesn't win the Oscar for Argo this year...well, I guess we'll get 'em next year, Alexandre.
His music is glorious. The biography on his website says that he composes with two major ideas in mind: "function and fiction." "Function" means his music fits well with the overall design and mood of the film and accompanies it appropriately. "Fiction" means that his music should go deeper than just accompanying the film and make clear the characters' deeper psychology and emotions, something which cannot always come across with clarity on film. Before reading his website earlier this week, I had no idea that those were his goals, yet I could have told you that his music always does exactly that. It always fits the film and it always gives the characters more emotional depth (even if they don't actually have it-See Twilight: New Moon)
-His wife is a violinist in the Traffic Quartet. She collaborates with him on his work, and he collaborates with her on her work by arranging music for her.
-His father is French and his mother is Greek, but they actually met in the US while studying at univerisity together. When they got married, they moved back to France where Desplat was born.
-He has written music not only for film, but for the theatre as well.
-He composed for the last two Harry Potter films! If you loved those movies, you will probably love his music!
This week, my challenge to you all is to go out and listen to Alexandre Desplat's work. Here's a Youtube video to get you started. Every score is different, but he definitely has a distinct sound that is unmistakably his own. Let me know what you think of his work! I love it so much that it's probably unhealthy. Or maybe it is healthy, because whenever I need to unwind or get myself in the zone, I listen to his music! Anyway, have a good Valentine Day, everyone! I hope you feel loved today :)