2/20/11

An Exploration of the 'Water for Elephants' Trailer Music


Finally, the mystery of the second song in the 'Water for Elephants' trailer is solved.  Below is more information on composer Francois Paul-Aiche and where to find more of his music and benefit schools at the same time.  Also, I include my other discoveries of beautiful trailer and commercial music I encountered in my own search, and a bit about "Song for Jesse." 
First, let me thank Alan Bell (@AlanEBell), Water for Elephants film editor for the music source info that came via Water for Elephants Film(@H2OforElephants) and the Water for Elephants - Film blog (@WFEFilm).  These fan sites have been working tirelessly to bring us information on this film.  I had too much to say and embed that it just would not fit in the comments on those blogs.
Here is the Water for Elephants trailer in question: 
The first piece of music is "Song for Jesse" by Nick Cave and Warren Ellis from The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford.  
Bleddyn Butcher describes the soundtrack and "Song for Jesse" on Nick Cave and Warren Ellis's official site:
Although wide landscapes and brutal violence once again play a part in the drama, the main action is interior and almost entirely unspoken.
That is a very good description of Water for Elephants as well.  A traveling circus is full of action but ultimately the story is the interior journey of a young man.  The Benzini Brothers is a cruel and perilous place to work for both the people and the animals.
On 'Song for Jesse', a jingle bell rings like a fire alarm, a celeste plods wearily and a raindrop piano nags.
In the Water for Elephants trailer, the celeste (or celesta) is a dreamy reminder of youth as Jacob remembers first seeing Marlena's magic with the Liberty Horses and falling in love with Rosie.  For even a young viewer, the celesta takes us back to Tchaikovsky's "Sugar Plum Fairy" in The Nutcracker and the opening to the theme of Mister Roger's Neighborhood
This seven minute clip from NPR's December 2003 "Morning Edition"  is a fun exploration of the "celestial" instrument and its range with National Symphony and Grammy-winning keyboardist Lambert Orkis.  Tchaikovsky tried to keep the celesta a secret from other composers because he adored its unique sound.  In 2011, the celesta is heard constantly, especially in commercial and film music.  It is, after all, the theme of our favorite snowy white magical owl.

Read the rest of the article HERE

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