Sony Music have released the original motion picture soundtrack of The Imitation Game, a biographical drama about the English code-breaker Alan Turing starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Keira Knightley. The score was written by Alexandre Desplat.
The Imitation Game is a nail-biting race against time following Alan Turing (credited with cracking the German Enigma code and pioneer of modern-day computing) and his brilliant team at Britain’s top-secret code-breaking centre, Bletchley Park, during the darkest days of World War II. Turing, whose contributions and genius significantly shortened the war, saving thousands of lives, was the eventual victim of an unenlightened British establishment, but his work and legacy live on.
When the French composer Alexandre Desplat made his breakthrough on the Hollywood scene in 2003 by composing a highly regarded score for The Girl With the Pearl Earring, he was in fact already an experienced writer of movie music. He has contributed to over 100 films, both commercial and independent, in France and Hollywood, received six Oscar nominations, and won prestigious awards: a Golden Globe in 2006 for The Painted Veil, and a Grammy for The King’s Speech in 2011, both in the category Best Original Score.
Desplat has also composed for the theatre, including the Comédie Française. He has conducted performances of his own music by the London Symphony Orchestra and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, as well as giving master classes at the Sorbonne in Paris and the Royal College of Music in London. His movie music was written for a very wide range of films, including Twilight Saga: New Moon and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (parts 1 and 2). His Oscar-nominated soundtracks were for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, The Queen, The King’s Speech, Fantastic Mr. Fox, Argo and Philomena.
The opening track of The Imitation Game introduces a descending, rippling keyboard theme that reappears in variations in later tracks – first of all with a strings accompaniment that sets the mood for a tragic, dramatic story. The second track skilfully interprets its title, “Enigma” (a reference to both the man Alan Turing and to the code-breaking project that made him famous), with fascinating sounds that evoke the ping of sonar location and the underwater world, thus playing on the main theme of the story. While “U-Boats” features military sounds, other tracks such as “Carrots and Peas” provide contrasting quietness and emotion, and the musical complexity of “Crossword” relates to the workings of Turing’s brilliant mind. In this way full range of Desplat’s big orchestral sounds comes into play, and the composer once again displays his ability to enhance dramatic film scenes with fine music that is worthy to be heard in its own right.
Desplat’s Harry Potter soundtracks, released on Sony Classical in 2009, have been hugely successful for five years now. The quality of the score of The Imitation Game, and the excellence of the movie with its star actors Cumberbatch and Knightley, will ensure that this new music, scheduled for release on 10 November 2014, makes a similarly big impact.
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