Alexandre Desplat: The Grand Budapest Hotel soundtrack

Alexandre Desplat: The Grand Budapest Hotel soundtrack

(ABKCO, 3/4/14)

"The New Lobby Boy"

Since coming to prominence in the late 1990s, idiosyncratic filmmaker Wes Anderson has been known as much for utilizing retro rock songs on his soundtracks as for commissioning original themes. With his latest, The Grand Budapest Hotel, Anderson turned to Academy Award-winning French composer and third-time collaborator Alexandre Desplat (The Fantastic Mr. Fox, Moonrise Kingdom) to craft Anderson’s first almost-entirely original film score.

Set 100 years ago in a fictional town Anderson deemed “part Czech, part Hungarian, part Polish, part Russian, part German,” the film taps Desplat to add French flair to Eastern European flavor. Many of Desplat’s compositions are “theme-and-variations,” presenting a main melody in a variety of timbres, whether folksy or baroque.

Spanning 32 songs and also featuring the work of the Osipov State Russian Folk Orchestra, the album recalls the quirky, colorful filmmaker’s previous soundtracks (see “Concerto for Lute and Plucked Strings I. Moderato,” a non-Desplat number, to feel like you’re touring the Tenenbaum house) while offering something wholly fresh (to start, the whimsical strings of “The Mystical Union” and plucky energy of “Traditional Arrangement: ‘Moonshine’”).

Produced by Anderson and longtime musical supervisor Randal Poster, The Grand Budapest Hotel soundtrack proves that music remains as important as the A-list stars when it comes to Andersonland.