Alexandre Desplat is responsible for the soundtrack to “The Painted Veil”. To get an idea of what the compositions are framed by, The Painted Veil’s action takes place in the 1920s. The story behind The Painted Veil is that a doctor and a younger woman marry, move to China, break up and then have to get back together through turmoil. To help Desplat during this score, Lang Lang lies down piano lines as only ey can. The opening and title track to “The Painted Veil” has a very energetic, almost pushy introduction.
The lines may be smoothed over, but one gets the sense that there will be rocky roads ahead. The opposite of that sound is present during the disc’s next track, “Gnoissienne No 1”, where the piano plays in a vein that fits the time period of the movie. While tk jhere is little else on this track, the range of Lang Lang during this track is enough to keep individuals listening in. The sound of affluence that opens up “Colony Club” is counter-weighted by the present of a very chaotic set of scales puts down by the piano.
There is a lot of foreshadowing that is going on during this score, and intelligent listeners should be able to pick up on this well before the action kicks off. “River Waltz” is the next song on the score, and it has a slower tempo that does not try to further any agenda. It is like an island on the sea, where nothing can influence it in the same way as many of the other tracks on the disc do. There is little cohesion between all of the tracks on this disc. One can flip through the tracks and hear tremendously different styles and approaches from track to track. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but reminds individuals that this is music that highlights the movie, not music that is supposed to be a stand-alone album. Desplat and Lang Lang do well in creating compelling music, but one has to wonder whether they could have tried harder to go forth and link together the rest of the tracks on this score. For Desplat / Lang Lang completists and individuals that watched the movie and liked what they heard, the score is solid but does not bring anything new to the table. Give it a go if you are in one of the two aforementioned groups.
Top Tracks: Promenade, The Lovers
OST: The Painted Veil / 2007 Deutsche Grammophon / 19 Tracks / http://wip.warnerbros.com/paintedveil / http://www. DeutscheGrammophon.com / Reviewed 15 April 2007