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Anyone else think Alexandre Desplat is the best composer currently working?

Anyone else think Alexandre Desplat is the best composer currently working?  

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  1. 1. Anyone else think Alexandre Desplat is the best composer currently working?



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I do. I’d go so far as to say he could very well be the next John Williams. He can do big, grand, lighthearted stuff like The Secret Life of Pets, and quirky, simpler but no less effective scores like Fantastic Mr. Fox and Isle of Dogs. He can also turn on a dime and do moodier, more subtle work, like The Imitation Game and his Deathly Hallows scores.  He’s such a versatile composer. 

 

He’s won two Oscars in the past four years, a great feat for any composer. One for his magnum opus The Grand Budapest Hotel, and one for his gorgeous and well-earned The Shape of Water. 

 

He’s already established himself as one of the most consistent and prolific composers working today, and I firmly believe he will be remembered as one of the greats. 

 

Anyone else feel the same?

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2 minutes ago, John said:

I do. I’d go so far as to say he could very well be the next John Williams.

 

How many "next John Williams" have there been?

There have been next John Williams almost since there was a John Williams.  Who was the first next John Williams?

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18 minutes ago, John said:

and I firmly believe he will be remembered as one of the greats. 

 

I would like to give him another decade or so, personally. He's definitely a real composer, and I respect his dedication to his craft and his willingness to take on different projects, but the musical offerings he provides isn't quite there for me, it doesn't feel like he "owns" the diversity of the projects he does, the way Williams and Goldsmith did. Did you ever watch Tropic Thunder? I remember when it came out, everyone was freaking out about Tom Cruise's performance, how he was unrecognizable, and how unique his performance was. Well, when I watched the movie, I heard and saw...Tom Cruise in a fat suit. That's it; he gave basically the same kind of performance he always has, same voice, same mannerisms, same everything, just...he was in a fat suit. Obviously not as extreme or denigrating as it might sound, but that's how I feel about Desplat, from what I've heard.

 

 

 

This is by no means a novel criticism, but a lot of the work he does sounds very small and stiff, to me, without a natural and spontaneous sense of flow. 

 

He definitely is a name, though, where if friends ask me to see a movie and I look up the credits beforehand, and find him, I'm more inclined to watch the movie.

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At his best, Desplat probably gets closer to JW in my book than anyone else working today.

 

I mean, just listen to these:

 

 

But the key phrase is "at his best," and other composers working today are perhaps more consistent in their enjoyability to me (perhaps Giacchino and Powell, say). 

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4 minutes ago, Koray Savas said:

Always found Desplat’s more traditional approach to be mundane and bombastic. I only took notice of him with Benjamin Button, and he excels with dramas and more quirky fare like Wes Anderson. His action music is mediocre. 

 

Powell, Zimmer, Giacchino, Howard are all better in that department. 

Giacchino? :blink:

 

Karol

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21 minutes ago, crocodile said:

Yeah, I like him too. But his action music is dreadful a lot of the time.

 

Karol

"Dreadful" is a bit harsh for me, but definitely agreed it's the thing he's weakest at.

Except Fallen Kingdom. I love every note of that score, I'm sorry. I'm an idiot.

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1 hour ago, Will said:

At his best, Desplat probably gets closer to JW in my book than anyone else working today.

 

I mean, just listen to these:

 

 

But the key phrase is "at his best," and other composers working today are perhaps more consistent in their enjoyability to me (perhaps Giacchino and Powell, say). 

Was that the best he can do?

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3 minutes ago, Alexcremers said:

Thanks for this selection. He certainly the only composer that speaks to me these days. 

 

Interesting. Anything in particular about him that contributes to this?

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2 minutes ago, Nick Parker said:

 

Interesting. Anything in particular about him that contributes to this?

Elegance, versatility, clarity, razor-sharp dramatic skills, willingness to experiment.

 

Karol

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Yep @publicist, "Circles" is gorgeous. 

 

I do indeed enjoy Rise of the Guardians more than anything else he's done, but that's because I tend to gravitate more towards fantasy scores than dramatic ones. Desplat's  fluttering winds really can't be beat by anyone other than JW. 

 

Desplat's smooth, European sound is quite unique in modern scoring, I think, and I really love that. 

 

Also this bit, while it's gotten a little old by now, absolutely captivated me the first time I heard it, for whatever reason: 

 

 

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13 minutes ago, crocodile said:

Elegance, versatility, clarity, razor-sharp dramatic skills, willingness to experiment.

 

Karol

 

But for me, all those things, while leading to deep respect for the man, don't add up to much as a listener 'cause frankly I don't hear a certain vivaciousness, a certain spark, an "edge" that transcends the project he's working on, most of the time. 

Goldenthal exhibits all of those you mention (beyond perhaps the versatility and dramatic skills, and maybe even experimentation), but his work grabs me on a far deeper level than Desplat's does...with Desplat--and I hate to use such a trite cliche--it sounds very "academic".

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9 minutes ago, Nick Parker said:

 

But for me, all those things, while leading to deep respect for the man, don't add up to much as a listener 'cause frankly I don't hear a certain vivaciousness, a certain spark, an "edge" that transcends the project he's working on, most of the time. 

Goldenthal exhibits all of those you mention (beyond perhaps the versatility and dramatic skills, and maybe even experimentation), but his work grabs me on a far deeper level than Desplat's does...with Desplat--and I hate to use such a trite cliche--it sounds very "academic".

Whatever "grabs" you isn't really relevant because that's different for every individual. Enjoying art and objectively analysing its merits are two different things for me. I can enjoy things that are not good as well as dislike great works. "Enjoyment" factor is crucial for an individual but quite meaningless in the larger discussion.

 

During my Films on Wax days I used to sometimes write good reviews for stuff I didn't enjoy at all. And vice versa.

 

Karol

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3 minutes ago, Nick Parker said:

 

But for me, all those things, while leading to deep respect for the man, don't add up to much as a listener 'cause frankly I don't hear a certain vivaciousness, a certain spark, an "edge" that transcends the project he's working on. 

Goldenthal exhibits all of those you mention (beyond perhaps the versatility and dramatic skills, and maybe even experimentation), but his work grabs me on a far deeper level than Desplat's does...with Desplat--and I hate to use such a trite cliche--it all sounds very "academic".

Could you provide some samples of Goldenthal's that exemplify such transcendance?

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I don't hear a lot of colour or diversity from him, generally. He's very good, but great? No.

 

His two Potter scores were a good test and for me they were nothing special musically.

 

And oscar wins have nothing to do with the quality of a score....

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1 minute ago, Richard Penna said:

I don't hear a lot of colour or diversity from him, generally. He's very good, but great? No.

 

His two Potter scores were a good test and for me they were nothing special musically.

 

And oscar wins have nothing to do with the quality of a score....

Why would Potter scores would be barometer for anything?

 

Karol

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1 minute ago, crocodile said:

Whatever "grabs" you isn't really relevant because that's different for every individual. Enjoying art and objectively analysing its merits are two different things for me. I can enjoy things that are not good as well as dislike great works. "Enjoyment" factor is crucial for an individual but quite meaningless in the larger discussion.

 

Karol

 

He said Desplat speaks to him, so in this discussion, it does indeed matter. And for a composer, if you'd like to steer back to your point, this sense of vitality is something that can be created in a way that goes beyond subjective enjoyment, as much as art can be discussed in such a way.

1 minute ago, Fabulin said:

Could you provide some samples of Goldenthal's that exemplify such transcendance?

 

Well, when you use it like that, the word does sound grandiose. What I mean is Goldenthal's work grips me in a visceral, musical way that Desplat, for all of his admirable qualities, does not.

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Just now, Stefancos said:

Because its the kinda film music we *should* like. Big budget franchises stuff.

Why?

2 minutes ago, Nick Parker said:

And for a composer, if you'd like to steer back to your point, this sense of vitality is something that can be created in a way that goes beyond subjective enjoyment, as much as art can be discussed in such a way.

I'm not sure that's possible. That has a lot to do with trends, contemporary tastes etc. Impossible to plan.

 

Karol

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1 minute ago, Nick Parker said:

 

He said Desplat speaks to him, so in this discussion, it does indeed matter. And for a composer, if you'd like to steer back to your point, this sense of vitality is something that can be created in a way that goes beyond subjective enjoyment, as much as art can be discussed in such a way.

 

Well, when you use it like that, the word does sound grandiose. What I mean is Goldenthal's work grips me in a visceral, musical way that Desplat, for all of his admirable qualities, does not.

To me this missing quality is sweeping melodic catchiness. I merely wondered whether Goldenthal can do that.

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16 minutes ago, Richard Penna said:

They're a perfect opportunity for thematically rich, diverse music and therefore I think a good indication of a composer's chops.

 

It has been well-established that Desplat was bound to atmospheric temp tracks that allowed not much wiggle room. 'Twilight' is a better example of the heated Williams style people here tend to expect (though it sounds less like Potter and more like 'Seven Years in Tibet')

 

 

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38 minutes ago, crocodile said:

I'm not sure that's possible. That has a lot to do with trends, contemporary tastes etc. Impossible to plan.

 

Karol

 

Not quite. You can listen to examples from all over the world, spanning centuries, and hear this. Though I do not like Mozart's work, I must concede he knew how to "cook", just to use a popular example. As Miles Davis would tell his younger musicians, "Never stray too far from the fine point."

 

Of course, there _is_ going to be a point where inevitably this will lap into personal tastes. 

 

37 minutes ago, Fabulin said:

To me this missing quality is sweeping melodic catchiness. I merely wondered whether Goldenthal can do that.

 

Well, Goldenthal can be sweeping in his own way, I suppose. 

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