Latest reviews of new albums:
The Ides of March
  • Composed by Alexandre Desplat
  • Varèse Sarabande / 2011 / 38:39

George Clooney returned to the director’s chair for The Ides of March, a film about a presidential campaign.  It’s got an incredible cast and garnered good (if not great) reviews – and was yet another high-profile drama for composer Alexandre Desplat, who has become a little like Thomas Newman was in the 1990s, scoring one Oscar contender after another.  Another thing he has in common with that period for Newman is the almost unbelievably consistent quality of his work.  The Ides of March is an extremely strong score, with good themes and several set pieces of note.  That main theme, with its slightly off-kilter martial style, is a strong one.  The album moves quickly onto a good piece of thriller music, “Undercurrents” (yes, the ubiquitous electronic pulse plays a prominent role) before a fairly straightforward – and very impressive – bit of American patriotism in “Behind the Flag”.

That moving between styles – all of which happened during the album’s opening eight minutes – is fairly characteristic of the score as a whole, but what’s impressive is that it never sounds at all disjointed, Desplat cleverly weaving everything together through his thematic material.  In “The Candidate”, we find the main theme suddenly appearing for electric guitar and drum kit, Desplat showing another side; later, “Doubt” seems it emerge for solo piano.  The best is saved for last, with “The Campaign” offering a rousing, dynamic conclusion to the album with another terrific arrangement of the main theme.  The Ides of March is another fine achievement by the composer, a dramatic and memorable work which can be added to the ever-increasing list of impressive music to come from his pen.  **** |

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  1. Jorja Burtis (Reply) on Wednesday 1 February, 2012 at 16:46

    Alexandre Desplat’s ‘Ides of March’ score propels the movie, in much the same way the excellent screenplay does. The music helps to fully flesh-out the characters, but not drown the film in over-the-top drama. It is a masterpiece of composing.