A masterpiece of a score... If you want a more classically oriented score compared to the original Twilight, one filled to the brim with some of the best gothic/romance themes in recent years.
Not so much... If you are hoping for some kind of thematic consistency between the scores in the saga. This score doesn't use any themes from Carter Burwell's original score, and Howard Shore's score for Eclipse rarely uses any themes from this score in return.
I shall start by explaining the background of my review for this score. I can not stand Twilight. I have many reasons as to why this is, but these are far too large in number to list here. The CliffsNotes version is that everything within my very being wants me to hate this score.
But I can't.
Alexandre Desplat has created a work so astoundingly brilliant that I can't hate it.
I can't even dislike it.
I can't even be indifferent to it.
I can't even just plain like it.
I love this score. Ever since I first heard the Primary Love Theme, I haven't been able to harbour any kind of significant bad feeling towards the Twilight Saga simply because it gave this score to the world. It just gets better and better from the beginning to the very end, with each new rendition of the Love Theme building upon it's depth. The theme is stated in full on the very first track, but is shattered during "Edward Leaves". The theme is then gradually rebuilt each time that Bella has a vision of Edward until the very end of the film, where the theme returns with a vengeance in the last minute or so of "Marry Me, Bella", and on into it's full arrangement again in "Full Moon".
This theme is the main backbone of this score, but there are other themes of note. Another, smaller, Love Theme is introduced for the relationship between Jacob and Bella. Whilst only fully explored on two tracks ("Almost a Kiss" & "Dreamcatcher"), it's subleties when compared with the Primary Love Theme are extremely commendable and a welcome break from Edward and Bella's overt romanticism.
These romance themes are undoubtedly the highlight, not just for New Moon, but possibly even for Alexandre Desplat's career in general. However, Desplat's suitably chilling theme for the Volturi would be a stand-out for any other score and perfectly captures the true nature of traditional Hollywood vampires, even if most of the vampires within the film itself can be likened more to a My Little Pony.
Desplat also provides the necessary 'thrilling action music' required for a film of this kind, although none of it is really worthy of any note against any of the already-mentioned themes.
Overall, compared to the 'modern', guitar-heavy score for the original Twilight, this score is just dripping with pure classical beauty like the sweat from a sparkly vampire's chest. It is definitely worth a purchase, not just for TwiHards or even for film score buffs, but for people that just happen to own a pair of ears.