Soundtracks are a lot more than movie music...

...or so I'm ready to argue as a 30 year devotee of this sorely under appreciated genre.  So, in an effort to do my part, each week
I'll be making recommendations of soundtracks current and vintage, make a fuss over long awaited soundtrack scores finally getting
a well deserved release, and in general, make some noise about this often overlooked category.  Beyond my long experience as a
listener and as a pianist and songwriter, both of which I've put to use in writing a quarterly soundtrack column for the
Tribune, I can only offer my recommendations.  You'll discern my taste soon enough and upfront I'd like to make it clear that I'll
focus most heavily on SCORE soundtracks.  In the end, all criticism is subjective but if I can point a listener toward a little heard
soundtrack or strongly advise you to either ORDER IMMEDIATELY or SKIP ALTOGETHER, all the better.
The Oscar nominations are out and though I'm REALLY irritated that Jonny Greenwood's
amazing score for
There Will Be Blood didn't make the cut (because it wasn't totally written for
the film - insert RASPBERRY HERE) and I also think Alexandre Desplat got dissed.  Both his
scores for
The Golden Compass and Lust, Caution were certainly worthy of consideration.

Fans of Desplat's collaboration last year with classical pianist Lang Lang on
The Painted Veil
will be reminded of that gentle score when they give a listen to the soundtrack from
Caution.  The piano-based score that Desplat composed for Ang Lee's terrifically
entertaining story of romantic intrigue and espionage is sure to also find a devoted
following.  His main melody for the score, "Wong Chia Che's Theme," is repeated many
times throughout the disc.  Delicate and wistful (like the best of Desplat's melodies), this
theme is entrancing on the piano and equally enthralling given the full orchestral treatment.

I have yet to encounter one of Desplat's scores (from
Girl with a Pearl Earring to The Queen)
that I haven't fallen for big time and here is another winner.  Desplat's musical signatures
are instantly recognizable and, as I've written before, his fragile music just
Sometimes in the car, particularly on a long trip, I put all his score soundtracks on, one after
the other, and listen to them end to end.  Desplat's music is the essence of tranquility and
Lust, Caution is a scintillating addition to his canon.


Don't forget to check out previous soundtrack recommendations by visiting the

Next Recommendation:  TBA
Alexandre Desplat scores again with
his score for
The Queen