The Artist Soundtrack Review

Much to my dismay, I’ve not seen this lauded beauty of a film yet but since The Artist is silent, listening to its soundtrack seems to be the next best thing. If the music is anything to go by, The Artist looks set to be one of the most memorable films of our generation. Ludovic Bource’s magnificently evocative score smacks of an artist born in the wrong era, much to our own advantage! The emotions this score so gracefully sweeps over are all but unheard in today’s scores; humility and fun abound but there is always a great sense of self and restraint, harking back to the truly austere, tension fuelled times of the early 1930s.

Overall, the score is wonderfully descriptive. I listen to “George Valentin” and whilst I’m not exactly sure who he is, I’m damned sure I’d love him to take me to dinner. His piece is dapper, light on its feet and exceptionally charming, perhaps with a pencil-line moustache. Similarly, “Pretty Peppy” is just that: pretty, lively and with distinct ‘The Boyfriend’ moments to it which date it firmly in the 1920s with its carefree flow and whimsical tune. And then there are the ceremonious, historical, tense, bittersweet and all-manner-of-other-adjectives pieces, marking what I stand out to me as being key events in the film and the lives of its characters. “At the Kinograph Studios”, “Silent Rumble” (with its exciting, edgy Gershwin undertones), “1929”, “1931”, “My Suicide”, all pieces which tell a real story in their own right and track the peaks and troughs of the film with their raw and very discernable emotions.

I think the most beautiful thing about this score is that Bource has completely embraced the 50/50 split between visual and audio which makes up a silent film. With no clever screenplay to fall back on, a lot of the subtleties in the action are only highlighted through the music which supports it and Bource is fully on board and never fails to impress. In fact, this score is a stand-alone delight in its own right and does great credence to those long lost composers and accompanists of the 1920s and beyond who made us laugh, weep and think with a single note.
Dani Singer

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