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The Twilight Saga: New Moon
  • Composed by Alexandre Desplat
  • Warner 5051865715122 / 2009 / 72:11

I have some news that will, I fear, dash the hopes of many of my loyal readers – I am not a teenage girl.  (It was time to come clean.)  As a result, I have no real idea what all this Twilight business is all about, with frighteningly large amounts of money being made from books and films which seem to have almost universally scathing reviews from critics.  But this is the second film of the series – Carter Burwell scored the first, with his music slipping under the radar of many film music fans (like me) and Alexandre Desplat has stepped into his shoes for the first sequel, New Moon, teaming up again with The Golden Compass director Chris Weitz.  And if you head over to the customer comments on this album at Amazon, you’ll note an element of dissatisfaction (putting it mildly) from the teenage girls surrounding the decision to change composers.

I have some news that will, I fear, dash the hopes of many of my loyal readers – I am not a teenage girl.  (It was time to come clean.)  As a result, I have no real idea what all this Twilight business is all about, with frighteningly large amounts of money being made from books and films which seem to have almost universally scathing reviews from critics.  But this is the second film of the series – Carter Burwell scored the first, with his music slipping under the radar of many film music fans (like me) and Alexandre Desplat has stepped into his shoes for the first sequel, New Moon, teaming up again with The Golden Compass director Chris Weitz.  And if you head over to the customer comments on this album at Amazon, you’ll note an element of dissatisfaction (putting it mildly) from the teenage girls surrounding the decision to change composers.

Alexandre Desplat

Elsewhere the music mostly stays in that romantic mood with another couple of romantic themes and the gorgeous standalone “Dreamcatcher”, where Desplat keeps his music elegant and restrained in a way not often heard in a film of this type.  But there’s nothing restrained about the action music – there isn’t a great deal of it, but when “Wolves v Vampire” comes along, you certainly know about it, with a piece of furious intensity pretty reminiscent of The Golden Compass.  Desplat writes that type of music rarely (especially for his American films) – but so well.

New Moon doesn’t have the thematic diversity or richness of The Golden Compass and struggles to sustain a 72-minute album as a result – 20 minutes could have been chopped off to give a far more satisfying listening experience – but it’s still an impressive piece of work.  I love the fact that Alexandre Desplat is able to bring his attitude to film composition to such a large blockbuster film - going off in completely the opposite direction to the brainless Zimmerised approach which has so dominated Hollywood film music for so long.  Who knows – maybe it isn’t a sign that the tide is turning (more likely just a sign that there is someone somewhere who works at a film studio who still understands what film music can do for a film) but that these tasty morsels can still get tossed to us starving film music fans is very sweet.  ****

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