Harry Potter composer Alexandre Desplat and the shadow of John Williams
16 January 2015, 12:54
Double Oscar nominee Alexandre Desplat still remembers being blown away by John Williams's 'Star Wars' score. So what was it like having to take over soundtrack duties from the great man on Harry Potter?
"The music was so elaborate, so inventive and wide open to 20th century classical music," the composer tells Classic FM's Tommy Pearson on this week's Saturday Night at the Movies (Saturday 17 January, 5pm).
Star Wars was not just an echo of the music of Richard Strauss and Mahler so beloved of Golden Age Hollywood film composers, Desplat says.
"Suddenly you heard in John Williams's scores the influence of the early- and mid-20th century and it was so refreshing and so exciting. Friends of mine who would never listen to contemporary music would listen to these scores without any issue," he says.
Alexandre Desplat on 'Star Wars'
How John Williams score inspired the teenage Desplat.
"John Williams had given such a tone with his wonderful melodies to the whole series… so there was this shadow on me," he says.
"I think the last one was one of the most seen movies ever in the history of cinema. It was a huge challenge."
Alexandre Desplat on Harry Potter
Writing music for the final two Potter films was daunting for the composer.
"I think they understand that and share that with me," he tells Pearson.
Alexandre Desplat on his love of film
The composer is first and foremost a real movie buff.
"They were film makers - and it has somehow vanished or faded. I'm always trying to bring back this vision of composers seen as an important part of the filmmaking."
Alexandre Desplat on film composers
The composer is one of the three 'authors' of a film, says Desplat.