As briefly mentioned in our Trailer Music Placements recap for June, the first official trailer for American Pastoral clearly stands out these days through his brilliant usage of Jasmine Thompson’s Mad World cover.

American Pastoral Official Trailer #1 (2016) – Ewan McGregor, Jennifer Connelly Movie HD

With the theatrical US release of Ewan McGregor’s directorial debut, Lakeshore Records will release the AMERICAN PASTORAL – Original Motion Picture Soundtrack both digitally and on CD October 21, 2016.  The album features an original score from Academy Award-winning composer Alexandre Desplat (THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL, ARGO, THE KING’S SPEECH) who will be conducting the Concert World Premiere of his score for ‘The Secret Life of Pets’  at next week’s concert gala ‘Hollywood in Vienna’.

About Alexandre Desplat’s official soundtrack for ‘American Pastoral’


Alexandre Desplat’s Oirignal Soundtrack for ‘American Pastoral’

“I always like to work on the opening of a film to find my way through it. As if I was sitting in the audience in a theater,” Alexandre Desplat explained.  “Two themes evolve through the film as the characters do. The emotional path Swede, our hero is going through was the lighthouse guiding us. Merry drifting away from her family was the other one.”

Ewan McGregor himself got into the action as Alexandre Desplat described, “Ewan is a brilliant French horn player and we felt the sound of the French horn could give both the sense of the epic and of the solitude of Swede’s journey through life.”

Having listened to the soundtrack already, the 16 tracks promise a deeply emotional storytelling comparable as Alexandre Desplat’s appraoch to AMERICAN PASTORAL reminds of his subtle scoring approaches to ‘Philomena’ or The ‘King’s Speech’ for example. Action sequences as foreshadowed in Chasing the Van seem to be rare exceptions in the movie. Thus related to the overall feel of the score, the official trailer’s music choice appears to be very fitting – also because the soundtrack release concludes with Priscilla Ahn‘s very soft vocals-only cover of the classic Moon River, as you can see in the tracklist below:

1 Swede’s Story
2 Riots
3 Rita Cohen
4 Meeting Rita
5 Hotel Albaugh
6 Chasing the Van
7 Dawn
8 FBI search
9 The Vow
10 Merry’s Story
11 Swede & Merry
12 Merry’s Things
13 Fix Your Dress
14 Swede Grabs Sheila
15 Reunited
16 Kaddish for Seymour
17 Moon River – Priscilla Ahn

About Ewan McGregor’s ‘American Pastoral’

Based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning Philip Roth novel, AMERICAN PASTORAL follows an all American family across several decades, as their idyllic existence is shattered by social and political turmoil that will change the fabric of American culture forever. Ewan McGregor (Salmon Fishing in the Yemen, Beginners) makes his directorial debut and stars as Seymour “Swede” Levov, a once legendary high school athlete who is now a successful businessman married to Dawn, a former beauty queen. But turmoil brews beneath the polished veneer of Swede’s life. When his beloved daughter, Merry, disappears after being accused of committing a violent act, Swede dedicates himself to finding her and reuniting his family. What he discovers shakes him to the core, forcing him to look beneath the surface and confront the chaos that is shaping the modern world around him: no American family will ever be the same. AMERICAN PASTORAL also stars Academy Award winner Jennifer Connelly (A Beautiful Mind) as Dawn, Dakota Fanning (The Runaways, The Twilight Saga) as Merry, Emmy winner Uzo Aduba (Orange Is the New Black), and Academy Award nominee David Strathairn (Lincoln, Good Night, and Good Luck).

About ‘American Pastoral’ composer Alexandre Desplat

Oscar-winning composer Alexandre Desplat is one of the most coveted film composers in the world today. Alexandre Desplat is noted for his collaborations with some of the world’s top filmmakers: Wes Anderson, George Clooney, Stephen Daldry, David Fincher, Stephen Frears, Tom Hooper, Ang Lee, Terrence Malick, Roman Polanski and Angelina Jolie garnering eight Academy Award nominations. Desplat first captivated American ears with THE GIRL WITH THE PEARL EARRING and BIRTH. The Golden Globe and Oscar winner has since scored a range of incredible films, eight of which have been Oscar-nominated: THE QUEEN, THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON, FANTASTIC MR. FOX, THE KING’S SPEECH, ARGO, PHILOMENA, THE IMITATION GAME and THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL which won the 2015 Oscar for Best Score.

Alexandre Desplat’s most recent work includes Angelina Jolie’s Unbroken, Wes Anderson’s THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL, THE IMITATION GAME, SUFFRAGETTE directed by Sarah Gavron and starring Helena Bonham Carter and Meryl Streep, his second collaboration with Tom Hooper (THE KING’S SPEECH) THE DANISH GIRL starring Eddie Redmayne and Illumination Entertainment’s recent box office hit, THE SECRET LIFE OF PETS starring Lake Bell and Kevin Hart. Coming up next for Alexandre Desplat is the period drama THE LIGHT BETWEEN OCEANS directed by Derek Cianfrance starring Michael Fassbender, FLORENCE FOSTER JENKINS starring Rebecca Ferguson and Meryl Streep, and Disney’s ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY starring Felicity Jones and Mads Mikkelsen.

Born to a Greek mother and French father, Alexandre Desplat grew up in France with a budding love for Hollywood film music, and broke into the French film industry in the 1980s. With a penchant for lyricism, elegant orchestrations, and precise dramatization, Alexandre Desplat has quickly joined the pantheon of all-time greats. “I was in a car with a friend who had offered me a double vinyl of Star Wars,” Alexandre Desplat remembers. “It might have been ’78. He gave me this record, and I remember having said to him, ‘Hmm. Music composed and conducted by John Williams. That’s what I want to do.’  And that’s what I’m doing.”

Lionsgate and Lakeshore Entertainment present AMERICAN PASTORAL in theaters starting October 21, 2016. Lakeshore Records will release the AMERICAN PASTORALOriginal Motion Picture Soundtrack both digitally and on CD October 21, 2016.

If you are interested in the scoring process of another recent Philip Roth adaption, you might want to have a look at our extensive article about the creation of Jay Wadley’s score for ‘Indignation’.

Posted by Peter F. Ebbinghaus

Based in Berlin, Germany. Co-Founder & Editor-in-Chief. Music Producer at Eon Sounds Productions. Founder of Composers for Relief. Keeps Moving.

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