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The Painted Veil (Alexandre Desplat) Soundtrack

4.6 out of 5 stars 47 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Music Composed and Conducted by ALEXANDRE DESPLAT Featuring World-Renowned Piano Virtuoso LANG LANG "Prodigiously gifted" (Gramophone) pianist Lang Lang is featured in Golden Globe nominee (Girl With A Pearl Earring) Alexandre Desplat's evocative score for the new film version of W. Somerset Maugham's celebrated novel, The Painted Veil. A turbulent romantic drama set in the 1920s, THE PAINTED VEIL, directed by John Curran and Caroline Link, follows a young English couple, a conservative doctor (Edward Norton) and a restless society girl (Naomi Watts), who marry hastily, relocate to Shanghai where they betray each other, and find an unexpected chance at redemption and happiness while on a deadly journey into the heart of ancient China.

The Deutsche Grammophon soundtrack will be released on January 9 and features music composed and conducted by Alexandre Desplat, the Prague Symphony Orchestra as well as solos by world-renowned pianist, Lang Lang. Lang Lang's solo album, DRAGON SONGS (CD+DVD) will also be released on January 9; the DRAGON SONGS full length DVD will be released on February 13.

Amazon.com

While this soundtrack is very solid overall, it's also rather subdued and perhaps not as immediately likable as composer Alexandre Desplat's previous offerings (most notably The Queen and Syriana), so it could disappoint fans of the immensely gifted Frenchman. But a certain old-fashioned charm does operate after a while, which, after all, is exactly what you'd expect of the music for a movie based on a Somerset Maugham novel. Desplat set out to evoke 1920s romanticism with a series of brief vignettes, usually greatly enhanced by the sensitive playing of pianist Lang Lang. And considering that most of the movie takes place in China, Desplat has refrained from easy orientalism: "Walter's Mission" is one of the few tracks to allude to Asian sounds. The only non-original tracks on the CD is Erik Satie's well-known "Gnossienne No. 1," a slow piece that evidently served as inspiration for Desplat's own "River Waltz." But who's complaining? There are worse people to emulate than Satie. --Elisabeth Vincentelli
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Product Details

  • Performer: Lang Lang
  • Composer: Alexandre Desplat
  • Audio CD (January 9, 2007)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Soundtrack
  • Label: Deutsche Grammophon
  • ASIN: B000K7UGMA
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (47 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #22,823 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Scott Johnson on February 16, 2007
Format: Audio CD
The music makes the movie linger and the movie is even better than the book. Too bad the CD does not include the children's A La Claire Fontaine sung near the end of the movie. It has been in my head for days. How could they leave that off? I would have bought the CD just for that little haunting song.
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A Kid's Review on February 24, 2007
Format: Audio CD
Yes, it was certainly a disappointment that 'A la claire fontaine' was not included on this soundtrack. Still, the CD showcases Alexandre Desplat's beautiful and creative score. It is so subtle, surreal, and lush. I listen to it anytime I am writing or going to sleep. Lang Lang is a brilliant pianist and his rendition of Erik Satie's first Gnossienne is marvelous. Funny thing is, I also thought that the movie was better than the book. It's a shame that it wasn't made very public. It seems like a select group of little theatres played it and then it was gone. I thought that it would certainly have scored several nominations (although it did win the Golden Globe for best score). I highly recommend this exquisite, elaborate collection of music.
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Format: Audio CD
I think this is a beautiful score. The music is full, complex and evocative. It may not be loud and boastful, but that was not the character of the movie. There are some asian instruments used, which provide a nice accent. I'd recommend this to someone looking for instrumental music which doesn't sound like the same classics over and over.
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Format: Audio CD
With all due to respect to Ms. Vincentelli, true film score fans will absolutely adore this gorgeous Desplat offering, which I consider his best yet. Romantic, lush, suspenseful--this score has it all. While it contains some of the subdued quality, and in certain parts, reminds one of Desplat's The Birth, this is yet another original piece from one of the most exciting newer composers out there.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
What's included is enjoyable to listen to, but I was really captivated by the song sung during the credits, "Je n'ai t'aimes longtemps, mais jamais je tu n'oublierais" which was NOT on the CD. It took me a long time researching to find out the title is "A la claire fontaine" and I had to purchase a whole other CD to get it. SHOULD HAVE BEEN ON THE SOUNDTRACK.
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Format: Audio CD
Alexandre Desplat is a gifted composer as he has demonstrated in the many fine film scores that lengthen his resume yearly. In electing to set a mood for the film THE PAINTED VEIL he relies heavily on solo instrument moments. One of these recurring moments is the Erik Satie Gnossienne No. 1 played by Lang Lang. While Satie is not one of Lang Lang's specialties he does play the work with the simplicity it requires.

Elsewhere in the score Desplat conducts the Prague Symphony Orchestra in his evocative yet still simple orchestral music that enhances not only the party flavor of the Shanghai scenes but captures as well the majestic beauty of the landscapes of China. Probably because Lang Lang was contracted to work with this film, Desplat composed some lovely solo piano works that provide the atmosphere in the many intimate moments of the story.

As a CD of music without the film this one works surprisingly well. It is not a dramatic score but an understated one and as always Desplat's sense of orchestral color is amazingly clean and subdued. One misses the excerpts from the Chinese opera.... Grady Harp, May 07
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I bought this cd 4 years ago, after seeing the film and enjoying it and the music greatly. Fine acting! Didn't listen to the cd and kind of forgot I had it. Recently HBO has been showing the film again and that reminded me how haunting and beautiful the music is. When I replayed the soundtrack I forgot that it really is missing some of the best musical pieces. Throughout the film there was the mesmerizing music of Satie. Then at the end of the film, there was another beautiful piece, a French song sung by a children's choir, I think the song was A la Claire Fontaine. The Satie piece was played only once on the cd, a very short version. Why these terrific pieces were omitted is beyond me. It makes the whole soundtrack seem lacking. It is a disappointment without ALL the music.
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Format: Audio CD
Once again, movie soundtracks demonstrate that they are fast becoming the leaders in modern musical developments.
Against a dramatic background, movie soundtracks build on all sorts of different moods and colours. The composer Desplat here paints a picture in sound that resembles a water colour painting of Chinese people and landscapes in this story of Somerset Maughan.
The pieces are full of subdued lyricism with an exotic ethereality. The water imagery predominates - The River Waltz, The Water Wheel, and even the journey and mission of Kitty and Walter. The music is simply entrancing, especially The Water Wheel, a piece that draws the listener to the endless encircled movement of the music like magic.
Adding to the water imagery is the sound of Kitty's piano, played in the soundtrack by Lang Lang, who obviously does not make any 'bang' in this recording but played with absolutely haunting lyricism and alluring delicacy throughout the many piano pieces in this soundtrack.
The sound engineering is superb (too bad that the engineer passed away shortly after this project).
The soundtrack is purely instrumental. The well-loved song "a la claire fontane" isn't included, so is the Chinese operatic aria.
Despite these misses, the soundtrack represents one of the foremost accomplishments of film music.
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