Wes Anderson invented a country for his new movie, “The Grand Budapest Hotel,”so it seems fitting that the writer and director wanted the soundtrack to rely heavily on original music. The 32-piece soundtrack album includes the composition “Canto at Gabelmeister’s Peak,” which premieres today on Speakeasy.
While previous Anderson films have featured original music, they have also included songs by the Rolling Stones, John Lennon, the Kinks and, memorably in “The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou,” Portuguese-language covers of David Bowie tunes. This time, Anderson was intent on creating a sort of cultural backstory for the Republic of Zubrowka, the fictional setting for the film, music supervisor Randall Poster said. The two researched early 20th-century classical composers and regional folk variations before choosing a three-stringed Russian instrument called the balalaika to establish the musical voice of the film.
“I think it speaks to evolving culture, it speaks to folklore, it speaks to this sort of mythical foreign identity that we were trying to channel,” said Poster, who co-produced the soundtrack album. “And there’s just sort of the magic of it. It’s a great sound and underused and works really nicely as a counterpart to some of the more sophisticated classical pieces.”
French film composer Alexandre Desplat wrote the original music for the soundtrack, which includes performances by the Osipov State Russian Folk Orchestra, along with Russian folk songs and a Vivaldi piece. Desplat also worked on Anderson’s movies “Moonrise Kingdom” and “The Fantastic Mr. Fox.” The latter movie, Poster said, is a point of reference for the scenes that accompany “Canto at Gabelmeister’s Peak.”
“It’s a moment where you will be rewarded with all of our work on ‘Fantastic Mr. Fox,’” Poster said. “There’s a real special treat that comes in the latter part of the movie and really is one of the most exciting action sequences that comes together at the end of the film.”
The soundtrack is due March 4 on ABKCO Records, and the film opens March 7. What do you think of “Canto at Gabelmeister’s Peak?” Leave your thoughts in the comments.