Some will say, surely, that the success of the film Amelie (2001) is due to the superhuman cuteness of actress Audrey Tautou. But the film’s twee, accordion and glockenspiel-laden score played a huge role in casting that cinematic spell. Audiences took notice, and composer Yann Tiersen was launched into a level of stardom enjoyed by few in the often thankless and anonymous world of film scoring. In addition to his film work, Tiersen has put out six albums as a solo artist, which meld French folk sounds with orchestral textures. His work has an unwavering sense of hopefulness that generally stays on the safe side of the line that separates epic from cheesy. This song, “Ashes,” comes from his most recent album Dust Lane. Written shortly after the deaths of his mother and a close friend, the album is deeply concerned with mortality, but Tiersen manages to express a sense of life’s beauty even when challenged by tragedy.