A Single Man

A Single Man

Synopsis

Set in Los Angeles in 1962, A Single Man is the story of George Falconer, a British college professor (Colin Firth) who is struggling to find meaning in his life after the death of his long-time partner, Jim (Matthew Goode). We follow George through a single day, where a series of encounters, ultimately leads him to decide if there is a meaning to life after Jim. George is consoled by his closest friend, Charley (Julianne Moore), a 48-year-old beauty, and is stalked by one of his students, Kenny (Nicholas Hoult).
 

Abel Korzeniowski about the score

 

A Single Man, A Single Theme

The score for “A Single Man” revolves around a single melodic theme. It slowly grows with the story, and eventually, in the last sequence of the movie, we are presented with its complete, final form. I named the theme “Stillness of the Mind”, after George’s moment of the final transformation. From the cocoon of despair and self-destruction, emerges a butterfly, living and understanding his life to the fullest, if only surviving for one day.
 

Strings and Scotch

I wanted something simple and pure, relying on melody rather than excessive orchestration, so I did it the old-fashioned way — with solo violin and strings. Their warmth and intimacy always moves me. Later on, I added a couple more colors to support the dramatic narration. There is a scene with George emptying a 20 year old bottle of North Port Scotch. For some reason this image stuck in my head and I ended up using a bottle of Scotch as a percussion instrument in the score.
 

Earthquake

Sir Alfred Hitchcock once said that “a good film should start with an earthquake and be followed by rising tension”. Tom wanted exactly that, only with a thrill of passion and beauty instead of fear. So the movie starts with this incredible underwater image of a naked man, who, we can’t be sure, is either drowning or dancing or locked up in a dream. For this scene, Tom asked for music to be of exceptional beauty and strength, something that would overload our senses with the complexity of its emotion reach. The piece I wrote has a lush, extremely romantic melodic line, stylistically suspended between the past and the present. After that, we only proceed to get deeper and deeper into the mind of Professor Falconer.
 

Critics about the score

 

simply genius

Minimum Advice
 

[The] score from composer Abel Korzeniowski is a highly worthy piece of art in its own right.

No Ordinary Fool
 

Korzeniowski’s new score for Tom Ford’s A Single Man is destined to become a film music classic. The Polish composer combines pulsing post-minimalism and elegant neo- romanticism with bright melodies, lush orchestration and warm colours (notably harp, piano and solo violin) to create a dazzling and dramatic score of extraordinary power and beauty.

The Irish Times
 

But by far, the BEST score of the year is Abel Korzeniowski’s for A Single Man. It is a brilliant score that reminds you of classic cinema yet has that modern twist to it at the same time. The score is a part of the story and it speaks the mind of Firth’s character in the film. It is one of the most beautiful scores in film history and truthfully deserves to win. I believe it is a lock for a nomination and it even has a Golden Globe nod to support it too. If you haven’t listened to this score yet then you must really soon!

Movies And Other Things
 

This is the type of score that can make you fall in love with film music.

Soundtrack Geek
 

The score was a character of its own. A mix between opera and classical, Abel Korzeniowski made a score that climaxes right when the movie does and seems to have a running commentary throughout the film.

Booker Critics
 

A breathtaking piece of music, one that sticks in your head throughout the film, and stays in it long after. It feels like a piece of yearning, as if it’s the emotions in George’s head playing out in music rather than bodily expression.

The King Bulletin
 

Abel Korzeniowski’s unbelievable gorgeous, string-laden score, so beautifully complimenting Ford’s images and emotions it seems to flow off of the screen and slide across you like a sheet of velvet.

Not all Texans ride horses to school
 

The biggest highlight of the film is the score by Abel Korzeniowski. The way the music swells and interweaves in and out of the scenes were so good.

Foolish Blatherings
 

Abel Korzeniowski designed a magnificent orchestral accompaniment to this emotionally gripping film. The final minutes of the movie nearly brought me to tears. In fact, I actually had a physical knot in my stomach for a while outside the theater. And I owe a lot of that to the music.

Eisentower30
 

Abel Korzeniowski’s hypnotic score soars around us like a turbulant sea in a dream occasionally drowned out by a pounding heart.

Dave Waters, Critical Mass
 

The film’s brilliant use of sound and magical string score (by the Oscar-worthy Abel Korzeniowski) help propel the film’s stirring images.

And So It Begins…
 

Music = stunning.
(…) I also absolutely loved the score by Abel Korzeniowski – flawless and haunting.

The Glass House
 

Stunning!!! Amazing!! *****
This score brings back the golden age of music for cinema (…)
I haven’t found a film score in the last 10 years that echos the feelings that this does!

iTunes review by filmmuzikcritic
 

The music, woven seamlessly throughout the film by Polish composer Abel Korzeniowski, was a character all its own. The classical sounds were classy, yet not stuffy.

Warren & Derrick
 

it [the movie] has two secret weapons: original music by Abel Korzeniowski, and British actor Colin Firth.

Star Tribune
 

Abel Korzeniowski’s score celebrates strings to a dreamily nostalgic degree as the film tracks a day in George Falconer’s (Colin Firth) life eight months after the sudden death of his partner Jim (Matthew Goode). It’s classical, but tie-loosened and unstuffy, filled full with moments of sweeping sorrow and triumph.

Matthew Allard
 

Ford’s appeal to the senses includes a stunning soundtrack by Polish composer Abel Korzeniowski, and the way the visuals and the music work together to prime you for the emotional core of the film reminds me of Wong Kar Wai’s In the Mood for Love. (…)
In fact, the film is a paean to lost love, with Korzeniowski’s music tugging at the heartstrings.

The Independent
 

… a suspenseful, dramatic power worthy of Bernard Herrmann for this achingly gorgeous score by Polish composer Abel Korzeniowski.
… emotionally raw, string-heavy sound with a score whose infinite beauty seems tailor-made for the impeccable sensibility of MAN’s fashionista writer-director Tom Ford. For even if his hero has a love that dare not speak its name, Korzeniowski’s strikingly poetic work isn’t afraid to shout that passion to the heavens.

Film Music Magazine
 

Gorgeous music score, the year’s best.

Windy City Times
 

There is such a polished sound and flow to it that I think you will find yourself fully absorbed with the music. You’ll also find that it’s the type of score that is difficult to stop listening to; I was intent on listening to it uninterrupted from start to finish both times I cued up the disc. Truly engaging and quite refreshing fare!
As award season nears, Abel Korzeniowski should be in serious contention for a Best Score bid for A Single Man. This score functions at too high a level to ignore and I think the voters should pick up on that.

Final Score 9.5 out of 10: A Single Man is an accomplished piece of work that should appeal to even the most casual of soundtrack listeners. It’s a captivating score that has a beauty about it that is difficult to dismiss once you start listening to it. Don’t be surprised by the nominations that it may earn.

Score Notes
 

Accompanying these moments of slowed-down contemplation is the magnificent score by composer Abel Korzeniowski, which makes even the most seemingly mundane sequence of shots essential and heightens the dramatic meaning of every moment. It is certainly one of the best scores of the year, and without a doubt the most unique and original composition.

Movies with Abe
 

Every now and then I hear a score so beautiful or memorable that I can’t contain myself. The score I’m talking about this time is to Tom Ford’s lyrical feature film debut, “A Single Man,” which I caught last night at MoMA. Resonant strings by Polish composer Abel Korzeniowski added layers of depth to this intensely graceful character study–an adaptation of a Christopher Isherwood novel.

Boombox Serenade
 

Abel Korzeniowski’s score brilliantly adds to the film with a simplicity and heaviness that matches with a Philip Glass-like minimalism, keeping the film in constant motion and still interesting even for the music geeks.

North by Northwestern
 

Mention must be made of the sensuous, evocative music of Abel Korzeniowski that keeps the audience afloat but drowning in emotion…

Twitch Film
 

The music was magnificent and powerful, you feel every heartbeat, every crackle in the fire place and even in the silence you are tuned in with suspense.

STARWORKS
 

The beauty Ford finds is endless, and it’s perfectly coupled with a flawless score by Abel Korzeniowski.

Boy Culture
 

Whoever wins the rights to “A Single Man” picks up Oscar noms for at least Best Actor, Supporting Actress, Adapted Screenplay, Score, Set Design, Costumes, and Make Up. Best Director is not outside the realm of possibilities.

The Hollywood Reporter
 

With “A Single Man,” TWC (The Weinstein Co.) also gets a very strong musical score, a fantastic adapted screenplay. and several tech nominations.

The Hollywood Reporter
 

Polish composer Abel Korzeniowski’s score must also be given high plaudits. It’s gorgeous, heartrending and hopefully already has easily given him a surefire Oscar nomination for Best Score.

The Playlist
 

Abel Korzeniowski’s (score) is the best of the year so far.

In Contention
 

Nobody in their right mind, meanwhile, should have a problem with Abel Korzeniowski’s exquisite score.

In Contention
 

Everything about this film — the look, colors, pacing, shots, composition, cinematography, costumes, soundtrack — says that an extraordinary amount of love and care went into it. (…) Abel Korzeniowski’s score is haunting and moving.

PROnetworks
 

September 2009

Comments

33 Responses to A Single Man


  1. Where can I get the piano sheet music for Becoming George? It is so beautiful.


  2. je viens de voir le film, magnifique, mais la musique me hante encore et me bouleverse profondément. Absolument sublime. Si elle produit un peu le même effet que celle de In the mood for Love, je pense aussi au Kronos Quartet et à Steeve Reich. En attendant de foncer acheter le CD , je l’écoute encore en boucle sur les sites internet. Merci Abel et encore bravo pour ce pur moment d’émotion.


  3. Hello. Congratulations Mr. Korzenowski for your wonderful Jobs and let we can live the cinema on a different and highest sense.


  4. I think this film is brilliant, love the end, things often happen to be like this, really really love it, and the music!!! : P


  5. I love your compositions! Daydream is so beautiful. I wish you would compose something for horn. I would love to play your composition. That will be an honor! I was born in Krakow as well. Currently I am finishing masters degree in Music Performance Horn in Oklahoma City University.


  6. I´ts an absolute masterpiece, scores and soundtracks are what make or break a film, every piece hits the mark and transmits exactly what George (Colin Firth´s character) is feeling as slowly he rediscovers the small joys of life… I simply love the soundtrack as well as the movie brilliantly executed by Tom Ford.


  7. Thankyou for writing such beautiful music! It is lovely and atmospheric and haunting! Like a few others on this page, I have been trying to hunt down sheet music for your score for violin. The violin solos are beautiful and I think many people would enjoy playing them. A piano version of the score would also be lovely…. I think many people would be very grateful if you decide to release these. Look forward to hearing more of your music! :)


  8. Where can I get the sheet music for violin solo from this wonderful film?


  9. Your music for A Single Man conquered my soul. It’s so… I have no words for describing my admiration. Thank you very much!


  10. Grazie tanto. E’ la musica per quale valga la pena di vivere…


  11. Thank you Abel, for writing such beautiful and moving soundtracks I’ve ever heard. I’ve bought this record on iTunes and I will support you forever.


  12. Absolutely beautiful score! And perfect all the way through the movie. I have been listening to it non-stop ever since I discovered this film. How you did not win the Academy Award for best score, I will never know. Lots of thank yous from Australia!


  13. Hipnótica música que encaja perfectamente con cada momento emocionante de la película.
    Refuerza el sentido de cada escena y anima incluso a escucharla independientemente.
    Evocadora, introspectiva, fácil de escuchar. Sin pretensiones.

    Mi más sentida enhorabuena.


  14. Find it hard to think of a better film score! Every bar fits so perfectly with every frame. In its own right, it’s also at least as beautiful and powerful as the great film it’s part of. Some of the most deeply affecting music I’ve heard in long time.


  15. Where can I find the sheet music to this movie?


  16. Excellent OST! Great composition. Where can we find the scores of the songs? are they available for the Violin? Thank you.


  17. violin and piano both of them are divine resonance. scene and visor when they intersect music I think start new modern romance so “a single man” did it.


  18. fenomenalna sciezka, swietna robota! dzieki :)


  19. szanowny Panie, jest to przykład doskonałej ilustracji muzycznej obrazu filmowego. o tym filmie nie da się myśleć, nie wspominając tych cudownych dźwięków. gratulacje!


  20. Merci ! Merci ! Merci pour la superbe musique du film, absolument sublime de Tom Ford ! Un très grand moment d’intenses émotions !


  21. Congratulations and thanks for this beautiful music.
    The movie is beautiful and your music is perfect for it.
    After I saw the movie, yesterday 10-12pm, I listened to “Stillness of the Mind” during more than 1 hour and a half. That remembers me the CD “In the Heart of the Moon”, that I listened during 5 hours, not with a Whisky bottle, but with a very good red French wine, since I’m French.
    I had no tears during the film, but I deeply appreciated it, since it shows the illusion of love in a very powerful way.
    Bonjour de Grenoble, France.
    Tony


  22. What a tearjerker! I had to fight my tears during the closing scene. Just heavenly! Greets from Germany


  23. Graceful music! Magnificent score! «And Just Like That» and «George’s Waltz(2)» are deeply beautiful…


  24. These tracks are truly awesome.

    Thank you for bringing us so much dreams !


  25. sublime!!!!!!!!!!!


  26. have not seen the movie yet, but you can really imagine the unroll, hearing this fabulous music performed by Korzeniowski…. Thanks for bring to us this sublime music…..


  27. Gorgeous score–I keep listening to it over and over.

    So beautiful, and more than that–deeply moving.

    My favorite score since John Williams’ haunting “Accidental Tourist”


  28. I could state many things, but:

    BRAVO!

    will do.

    Thank you for this.


  29. Please, please release the full movie soundtrack… Absolutely beautiful, haunting, – just outstanding… Cannot get the trailer soundtrack off my mind…


  30. yes, PLEASE release the FULL OST on a CD!!!
    “Stillness of the mind” and “Carlos” sound SUBLIME.


  31. If “Stillness of the mind” and “Carlos” are any sign of what the entire score is like, I cannot wait to see this film.


  32. I second this request. I dearly hope a score soundtrack CD will be released.


  33. I can’t get the composition from the trailer out of my head. Will there be a full soundtrack (including the trailer track) for the film that one will be able to purchase?

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