The directorial debut of former fashion designer Tom Ford, ‘A Single Man’ (2009) contrasts the cultural awakening of the 1960s with the personal struggle of George (Colin Firth), a college professor struggling to find meaning in his life following the loss of his lover. Picking up a Golden Globe nomination for the score, Polish composer Abel Korzeniowski masterfully channels this internal battle for meaning into his brooding compositions, delivering a distinctive work of art.
Met with rave reviews on its release, Colin Firth masterfully portrays the character of George, left struggling for reasons to live in what he views as a cruel world. Following him through the course of a day, George begins to see beauty in everyday life again, as he views it for the last time – having decided to kill himself that evening. Korzeniowski stunningly conveys George’s tentative reawakening in the world: string-led, minimalist pieces such as the lush ‘Drowning’ and ‘Daydreams’ lead the viewer through this sensual experience, imbuing a sense of warmth and colour to the previously cold surroundings.
This engrossing and inspiring sound follows throughout the score, with the piano-led ‘Mescaline’ moving George beyond his haunting memories into a stage of wistful nostalgia, no longer trapped in his own thoughts. Guest compositions from Shigeru Umebayashi, such as the intense and almost-menacing ‘Carlos’ follow the same motif, as does the grand ‘George’s Waltz’, a piece led by mournful violins. There are many recurring moments throughout the score, representing the inner challenge of a man at war with his thoughts, and learning to love his surroundings again.
Much like the film, the soundtrack is rooted in the burgeoning culture of the 1960s – moments such as Etta James’ ‘Stormy Weather’ and Booker T. & The MG’s ‘Green Onions’ don’t detract from the main score, instead offering an alternative to the more introspective mood. ‘A Single Man’ is certainly a stylish film – the production design is by the same team which worked on ‘Mad Men’ – but it’s not without substance. Just like the film, the soundtrack is grand, lush and intense, all whilst retaining a warm and inviting look into the mind of one man struggling to find his place in the world. The score for “A Single Man” was already available on CD, but has never before been issued on vinyl. As part of our Secret Soundtrack subscription, we have released 500 copies, each of which is individually numbered and stickered. Issued by Silva Screen Records, this double record is a first pressing on 180g marbled gold vinyl, and can’t be missed by those music and film fans looking for style and substance.
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