One of my favourite scores from recent years is the soundtrack to A Single Man.
I have seen the film and can recommend it. But the music blew me away before I even saw the film.
I was in a music store, killing time. And I had to ask what was playing – hearing this evocative score in this chain store seemed out of place; incongruous. The music was beautiful. It lured me, made me want to know more…
Rather than buy it on a whim – I decided it would be worth watching the film. It had been receiving strong notices at any rate and – as I’ve said – it is a good watch; a sad and lovely film.
From there I imported a copy of the score – two in fact. I knew it would make a good Christmas gift also…
The score was composed by Abel Korzeniowski. I did’t know who that was – only since buying the score I have looked him up. So a new world of music to explore there…
The music to A Single Man is so very close to perfect. It fills the room when I play it – it fills my heart with joy. It is uplifting, poignant. It reminds me – at times – of the film; another thing that good scores should (I guess) be capable of. But it’s taken on a life of its own for me outside and away from the film. That’s really the test of whether a score can stand up on CD or vinyl or via the files – away from the images of the film.
We might buy scores because we like the composer. We might buy them because we loved the film. We hopefully buy them because we (also) loved the music – but the reality is so few scores really do stand up (and thrive) away from the cinema curtain.
It also features some standards of jazz and R’n’B that fit in with the film’s theme/s and period. They also break up the score – in the context of the CD – providing a counterpoint midway through. There’s Jo Stafford’s version of Blue Moon and Booker T & The MGs’ classic Green Onions. There’s also the terrific Stormy Weather sung by Etta James.
Listening to A Single Man has reminded me – over and over – of the power of film music. In fact it’s reminded me of the power of music. It takes me back to when I first heard Gorecki’s Symphony Of Sorrowful Songs. It even reminds me, in terms of the impact, of when, as a youngster I heard Mark Knopfler’s score for Last Exit To Brooklyn.
This might not be very exciting and if that’s the case I’m sorry but I wrote this to tell you about a soundtrack – a cinematic score – that is one of the best I’ve heard in the last few years. A set of musical pieces that I feel all the better for discovering; for spending time with…I guess I’d like to know if any of you were blown away by the score to A Single Man too? Or perhaps, given the links here to some of the music, you might take a chance and try it out. That’s all.