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Button's Mysterious Score

11 DEC 08 VIVIEN SCHWEITZER

Film score buffs have a chance to hear the soundtrack to The Curious Case of Benjamin Button before it opens later this month. The score is written by the award-winning composer Alexandre Desplat, whose recent films include "The Queen," "The Painted Veil" and "The Golden Compass."

The movie, starring Brad Pitt, is loosely based on F. Scott Fitzgerald's 1922 short story of the same name about a man who is born old and ages backwards. The film narrates the story of Benjamin's life from his birth just after World War I to his death at the beginning of the 21st century, focusing on his love affair with the beautiful Daisy, played by Cate Blanchett.

Desplat conducts the Hollywood Studio Symphony in the evocative, mysterious soundtrack -- which mirrors the surreal world of Benjamin Button and has a main theme that can be played backwards to echo the hero's strangely retrograde life.

The music is mostly mystical and gentle, with melancholy melodies that convey the sadness of Button, who exists in a bizarre reality and for whom lasting love is impossible. Further on in the soundtrack there is music of deeper intensity, such the steady percussion and eerie brass that give track 12 a greater sense of urgency. The soundtrack also includes a disc of traditional jazz music featured in the film.