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Sunday, May 02, 2010


A Single Man
Music by Abel Korzeniowski
Silva Screen Records SILCD1323 (UK)
19 Tracks 51:52 mins

Tom Ford's film featured strongly in this year's award season, being nominated for and winning awards all over the place, most notably for Colin Firth's excellent performance as a gay man, grieving over the death of his partner. The film follows him through what he intends to be his last day before committing suicide that evening.
The score for A Single Man was largely composed by Polish born Abel Korzeniowski, a new name to me, although I have since discovered a number of his past compositions through visiting his excellent website at, where you can find generous samplings of his work. Additional music was provided by experienced Japanese composer Shigeru Umebayashi, who provides the elegant "George's Waltz," that features twice on the album, as well as adapting and performing a couple of tracks from Hitchcock's Vertigo, written of course by the late great Bernard Herrmann. Umebayashi is of course no stranger to waltz tunes, and was presumably chosen on the strength of his score for In The Mood For Love.
The album also features four vocal tracks by Miriam Gauci, Etta James, Booker T. & The MG's and Jo Stafford; as well as an extract from Catalani's opera "La Wally."
As for Korzeniowski's tracks, they total just under 30 minutes, including two bonus tracks at the end of the album. Keeping to the elegant tone, his opening track, "Stillness of the Mind" is certainly cut from the same cloth as Umebayashi's waltz; a passionate affair for strings, with expressive cello solos, these being a feature of the score. Strings continue to dominate with "Drowning," a quite sumptuous and mildly turbulent affair. Already one can hear the influence of the Vertigo tracks, which I'm guessing featured in the temp score. "Snow" has a suitable flurried feel to it; whilst the optimistic "Becoming George" breaks the mould somewhat, with piano leading the strings onward.
"Daydreams" is a buoyant affair, with its weaving strings; and is followed by "Mescaline," with its lonely, initially meandering, but then more propulsive piano, which continues into "Going Somewhere." The propulsiveness continues, but with more purpose and optimism in "Swimming," which becomes quite exhilarating; whilst the lengthy and satisfying final score track from Korzeniowski "And Just Like That," blossoms from a slightly anxious start into a full-blown rendition of the main theme, first heard in the opening track.
The first of the two bonus tracks from the composer, "Sunset" trots along nicely, with cello, as usual leading the way. The second, "Clock Tick," starts alarmingly with special effects, the sound of a ticking clock continuing throughout, whilst sawing strings tensely propel it.
I wouldn't call this a minimalist score, in the style of Glass for instance, as some reviewers may have likened it; rather more the kind of thing Herrmann used to write, hence the Vertigo inclusions I suppose, for whatever reason . No, this has enough variation and melody to it so that it never quite gets as "samey" as many minimalist scores do. It's a very fine effort, very European, and I look forward to hearing more in the future from the composer.
Released on the 31st of this month, go to for samples and to pre-order your copy on CD or as a digital download.


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